Top Digital Amenities Renters Will Look for in 2023
A short list of items that will help keep your community competitive.
Technology was already in peoples’ homes prior to the pandemic, and these days, it’s considered a given. And in today’s highly competitive rental market, property owners and operators must know and use emerging technology solutions to satisfy the changing needs of residents. Especially in the face of a forecasted recession, these property upgrades can make a difference in occupancy rates, retention and lease renewals. Here is a list enumerating the top digital amenities that renters will look for in 2023:
1. Keyless entry
Smart access control is one of the fastest-growing digital amenities needed by renters, most likely fueled by pandemic-induced fears. But in addition to allowing access into the community and into the resident’s unit, the keyless entry feature also enhances security and comfort.
They help foster a sense of security because unlike keys, which can be easily misplaced, smartphones are less likely to be forgotten or lost. “I can’t find my keys” is a pretty familiar saying, isn’t it? And they help give peace of mind because this technology can grant access to the community/unit without having to go and open the door, and can be operated from a distance.
There are plenty of options to choose from: simpler ones that only open just the residents’ front doors, and more complex ones that include access to the community and to spaces on the property, such as co-working areas, fitness centers, bicycle storage/repair areas, package areas and pet parks.
2. Security cameras
It’s really a no-brainer why this feature is high on residents’ wish lists. The world is a scary place sometimes, and having the option to see and review traffic on the property at any given moment, is comforting (and might help with getting a better rate when acquiring renters insurance).
The benefits of surveillance systems aid not just the residents, but the property operators, too, as these watchful eyes help protect the asset.
Today’s tech is advanced enough that security cameras can be configured to record when there is motion—which is quite helpful as it saves the hassle of recording/reviewing when there’s nothing happening. Some systems can even create alerts whenever a person or vehicle enters a specific area. Many systems allow authorized users to access footage from smartphones and mobile devices and do so by offering high-resolution images.
Typically, cameras are installed in common areas, parking garages and building exteriors, but some renters might appreciate having their doorways also included in the monitored areas. Those with a keener need for privacy could ask to have their entryways excluded from the cameras’ angles. Make sure to ask each renter about their preference.
3. Smart thermostat
Smart thermostats are so popular that it’s almost unthinkable to not have it included in the typical digital amenity package. And rightly so. This technology has been on the market for quite some time, having ironed whatever wrinkles any new tech usually comes with.
It not only adds to the comfort of the residents living in apartments equipped with such devices, it also increases the efficiency of the units served. Arriving home at a perfectly adjusted temperature is really nice, and warming or cooling the apartment when the space is occupied rather than all the time helps save on energy bills. Moreover, these days, more and more renters look for an eco-conscientious lifestyle, and this is a great way to limit their carbon footprint.
A smart thermostat will also increase the value of the property, boosting the effect on the marketability of the rental property, and raising the rental value of the property. Moreover, it will help the property owner know exactly how and when the energy costs fluctuate and, having the data on hand, helps adjust the usage. Some of the thermostats will provide monthly reports, enabling the user to create heating and cooling schedules, which will ultimately help cut costs.
4. Reliable connectivity
This digital amenity is pretty much a necessity. The numbers are staggering: seven out of 10 renters want community-wide internet access, according to the 2020 National Multifamily Housing Council and Kingsley Associates Apartment Resident Preferences Report. While those who work remotely need it for professional purposes, almost everyone needs it for streaming services, smart appliances functionality and submitting payments and service requests to property owners.
5. Online rent payments and maintenance requests
Paying for anything online is comfortable and hassle-free. Checks, in-person meetings, cash money—are becoming things of the past. With online payments, residents can pay their rent easily, from anywhere, from any device, with any card. What’s not to like, really?
Maintenance requests are also much easier to submit online, as photos can be attached to better illustrate the problem. Also, the resident can select which days and hours maintenance workers should to come and perform the repairs. And having a history of all the maintenance work done on the unit is also a helpful tool for the property owner as this way they can check for repeated issues and determine if bigger repairs/updates are required.
6. Electric vehicle charging stations
“If you build it, they will come” is spot-on here. Offer EV charging stations and those who need it will find you and join your community.
While it’s not a cheap investment, it iswell worth it in the long run. Having EV charging stations installed in the community will help boost occupancy, increase overall property value, take advantage of federal and state incentives for EV charging infrastructure, help meet standards for LEED building certification and boost the property’s allure as it promotes smarter and greener technologies.
7. Upgrade existing tech
Keep up with renters’ habits, who in recent years have started using grocery delivery services, by placing a kiosk on your property where they can receive these packages. Or take it a step further and create a secured package room that also has cold storage units. Include a notification system to announce the residents of the arrival of their deliveries and you’re all set.
Bike sharing, e-scooter sharing, car sharing—all these are highly popular among renters these days. Set up pick-up spots for these services and partner with specialized companies to improve residents’ access to their services.