MidwestMultifamily What brings the renters? High-speed Internet, smart-home tech and pet perks Dan Rafter November 18, 2019 Share on Facebook Share on Twitter Share on LinkedIn Share via email What do renters want in an apartment home? According to the latest research from the National Multifamily Housing Council, building owners should provide fast Internet access, smart thermostats and perks for pets if they want to attract the greatest number of renters to their properties. The 2020 NMHC/Kingsley Associates Apartment Resident Preferences Report suggests that Internet access is especially important to renters. According to the report, 91.2 percent of apartment residents say that reliable cell phone connection is important, and 44 percent say they won’t rent an apartment unit without it. The report also found that high-speed Internet is important to 91.7 percent of residents, while pre-installed WiFi is important to 74.8 percent. An additional 69.3 percent of residents said that community WiFi is an important feature. This isn’t surprising. The National Multifamily Housing Council report found that a growing number of residents own more than one Internet-connected device. In fact, 54 percent of survey respondents said that they had one to four connected devices, while 35.4 percent said they had five to nine. These residents, then, rely on fast Internet access. An increasing number of renters work remotely, with 41.5 percent of respondents saying that they telecommute. What’s interesting, though, is that a majority of renters don’t use their apartment building’s onsite business center. The Multifamily Housing Council found that only 33.3 percent of renters used this space. Smart home technology increasingly matters, too. The survey found that 70.5 percent of renters are interested in smart thermostats, and would expect to pay $30 a month extra for this perk. A total of 66.9 percent said they are interested in smart lighting and would expect to pay an extra $29 a a month, while 63 percent are interested in smart locks and would expect to pay an extra $33 each month for this premium. Renters are increasingly focused on their health, too, so it’s little surprise that so many modern apartment buildings feature well-stocked fitness centers. But what do renters expect from these centers? A total of 83.9 percent said that exercise machines were either important or very important, while 78.7 percent said the same about free weights. The council found that 70.9 percent said that weight machines were important or very important, while 50 percent wanted yoga classes and 38.8 percent fitness classes. More than one-third of the survey respondents were pet owners. The council found, then, that dog owners expected to pay from $28 to $34 more per feature per month for perks such as a community dog park, pet-washing station or onsite pet services.