Food trucks won't boost resident experience. Here’s what will

January 16, 2024
Hannah Michelle Lambert
Content Writer


As a property manager, keeping your residents happy is one of your top priorities. Many teams opt to host special events like food truck days, hot chocolate bars, or yoga events as a way to really wow their residents. And countless properties invest several million dollars into renovations for new amenities like a pool, outdoor spaces or a coworking space. 

And while those are all well and good, they won’t hold up as more than a temporary band-aid if your residents still feel like they’re missing some core components of a great resident experience.

So we dove into some research and discovered what these components are. Here are the deal breakers that can fundamentally impact the experience that your residents have with your property.

Online rent payments

Convenience is a non-negotiable in this day and age. No one wants to drop off a physical check every month to pay their rent. Dropping it in the mail, heading to the office to hand it over, or even stopping by the bank to get a cashier's check – all of these are too much to ask of a busy resident every month. 

An option to pay rent online is a necessity in 2024. 

In a survey where participants were asked what technologies were most important to them as a renter, over 55% said online payments, the second highest answer on the list. Residents prefer either an online portal or a mobile app that allows them to pay their rent with the click of a button. 

In some states, you must also still provide the option to pay via check or money order, but the option to choose online should always be there. 

Having an option to pay online also enables them to set up auto-pay, something that 75% of people take advantage of nowadays when paying for bills. This not only makes for a more positive resident experience, but also a benefit for you as a property manager. It’s more secure, more reliable, and gives you better visibility into your rental income. 

Automated maintenance request system

When something goes wrong, your residents are most likely already stressed, so you don’t want a complicated maintenance request process to add any more fuel to the fire. Make it as easy as possible for your resident to get access to the solutions they need. 

Some properties may rely on emails or phone calls to handle maintenance requests, but this doesn’t cut it anymore. 45% of renters said that they wanted an automated system for these situations. In these systems, residents should be able to instantly submit requests, assign priorities, and receive any subsequent updates on the issue.

Ideally, this request system would be integrated into a single platform where they can also pay their rent and utilities. 

Reliable security

Safety should be a given in your home. And it should be no different in apartments. However, residents often worry about security in multifamily complexes. 

And for good reason too. The National Crime Prevention Council found that apartments have an 85% higher chance of being burglarized than single-family homes. Because of this, it’s important to go the extra mile to ensure that your residents have peace of mind. 

There are many ways that you can actively prevent common apartment security issues like theft, trespassing, and vandalism. Camera, secure parking gates, after-hours patrolling, and thorough background checks are ways that property managers can show their residents that they’re invested in their safety. 

A fascinating study was conducted where researchers asked 422 incarcerated burglars what was most effective in deterring them from robbing a property, and some of their top answers were revealed to be:

  • Alarms, or signs indicating that there is an alarm
  • Tall fences or gates
  • Motion lights or other bright, always-on lights

Smart home features are another security-booster, which we’ll go into more detail about below. 

Smart home features

We’ve come a long way since the 1999 movie Smart House. Although our homes aren’t quite that “smart,” renters are now craving these tech-forward capabilities in their apartments. 

And they’re willing to pay for it.

More than 75% of residents indicated in a survey that they would pay more for a package of 3 smart home amenities, the most popular being security cameras, keyless entry, and smart thermostats. More than half of the residents surveyed said that they’d be willing to increase their rent by $20 or more per month. 

Another study dove deeper into this and found that 86% of millennials were willing to pay 20% more for a smart apartment, with 61% of them selecting an apartment specifically for its electronic access features like keyless door locks.

As technology evolves, what used to be a fun bonus is now becoming a necessity. People are increasingly tech savvy and looking for ways to optimize their life with technology, so why would their housing be any different? 

Secure package delivery systems

Online shopping is at peak popularity and doesn’t seem to be going anywhere anytime soon. With that comes a slew of new considerations around how your residents can reliably receive all the packages they’re ordering. 

Too often, residents describe the existing system as “chaotic,” negatively impacting their resident experience. 

Many of us have probably had our fair share of stolen packages, with 54% of renters reporting a stolen package in the last 12 months. Even if packages are not stolen, many renters have to deal with packages being returned to sender or because of an unreliable system for receiving packages at their apartment complex. 

To avoid this, residents view a secure package delivery system as a major priority when considering where to live. 

When asked, on a scale of 1-10, how important it is to have 24/7 access to a system like a package locker, residents rated it a 5.4. And many of those residents are even willing to pay a small fee for the convenience, with many noting their willingness to pay $5/month. 

Communication via email or text

There are few things that younger generations want to do less than pick up the phone to call a business. And they especially don’t want their only option to communicate with their landlords to be via phone calls. They just want to shoot them a text, email, or instant message if they have a question or concern. This all goes back to the pursuit of convenience we mentioned in the first section.

When asked about their priorities when it comes to technology they have access to as a renter, 61% of respondents in a study said that digital communication was most important. 

Not only does this help renters avoid the anxiety of having to talk directly on the phone, it also gives them more flexibility because it leaves room for asynchronous communication. They may be about to hop in the shower, go to work, or watch a movie, and being able to send a quick note eliminates the need to dedicate the 15-20 minutes it takes to solely focus on that conversation. 

Easy parking

If you’ve lived in an apartment complex, there’s a good chance that you’ve experienced a horror story or two around parking. Whether it’s because there aren’t enough parking spaces for everyone, someone’s guest is always parking in your space, or you have to trek way too far in poorly lit spaces to get from your car to your door, a negative parking experience likely soured your overall resident experience. 

Take a look at the reviews for any apartment complex, and you’re likely to find frustrating parking experiences on the list of complaints. 

68% of renters in a survey noted that they wanted controlled access parking to help eliminate some of these parking headaches. This not only boosts security, but makes it a lot less likely that they will struggle to find parking at their own home. 

Guest parking is another huge consideration with parking. Even if resident parking is without problems, the inability for guests to find a spot to park when they visit can be a major determinant of whether someone moves to – or stays at – an apartment complex. 

If you have a parking problem, don’t worry — you’re not alone. As important as parking is to your resident experience, it can be a tough problem to solve. Whether you’re having trouble with enforcement or just feel like you don’t have enough parking to go around, parking is often one of the top challenges a property faces.. 

Parkade can help you make the most of the spots that you already have with a system that automates tenant parking assignments, guest parking, and enforcement, shifting the burden away from your staff. 

Want to learn more? Check out this interactive page where you can solve all of your most annoying parking problems with the click of a button. 

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