Over the last couple of years, what tenants look for in a rental property has changed. As many people are now spending more time at home, they’re looking for different things from the space. And these new priorities are having a big impact on the properties they’re applying for – or even inspecting.
If you’re a landlord looking to maximise your return, understanding what tenants look for in a rental property is important. To help you with this, we’ve put together the following guide on current trends within the rental market. We also share some standard rental property features that will never go out of style with prospective tenants.
Current trends within the rental market
As property management experts, we pride ourselves on keeping up with what tenants look for in a rental property. And what tenants want most right now is space.
How most tenants use their homes has changed quite significantly, with many now working, entertaining, and even exercising at home. This has made finding a property with a floorplan that comfortably fits their daily routine a top priority. It has also reduced their willingness to compromise on space to be “close to the action” – though location remains important.
The desire for more space can be best seen in the significantly increased demand for a dedicated home office area. Once seen as a “nice to have”, this is now a must for everyone from students to corporate professionals. Similarly, many renters now consider it crucial to have some form of private outdoor space – like a balcony or backyard.
Spending extra time at home has also made many renters more house proud. As a result, they’re now paying closer attention to both the condition of a home and its styling. This has made modern properties that are well-presented and reflect the latest design trends even more desirable.
Other features that tenants are now looking for include:
- High-speed internet: For those that are now regularly working from home, a good internet connection is an absolute necessity. While there are some suitable wireless options, most prospective tenants will want to see a high-speed wired connection (like NBN).
- Pet-friendly properties: Because they are spending more time at home, an increasing number of tenants are interested in having a pet. However, here in Sydney, a renter requires their landlord’s written permission before they can bring a pet into the property. As such, when looking for a rental, some prospective tenants will actively search for properties that allow pets.
- Internal laundry facilities: Most tenants now expect to be able to do their laundry in the comfort of their own homes. As such, properties with communal laundry facilities, or no laundry facilities at all, tend to attract less interest. This is a particular consideration for older style units, which traditionally do not have their own laundries.
- Additional bathroom and / or separate toilet: In larger properties, renters are now expecting more than one bathroom – or an additional toilet, at least. This provides an additional level of comfort and can make daily life much easier, particularly with kids. Most renters would also pay a premium to have a master bedroom ensuite and a separate family bathroom.
- Lifestyle location: In addition to spending more time at home, many renters are looking to live a more local life. This means they want easy access to most of the services (schools, shopping, restaurants, etc.) they need throughout the week. Many are also looking for areas with an active local community that they can get involved with.
Other features tenants look for in a rental property
In addition to the above, there are a few other things that will always be high on tenants’ wish list. This includes:
- Secure parking and / or good public transport links: While people may be leaving home less, they want it to be easy when they do. This means having somewhere safe they can keep their car or ready access to bus and train routes. And if a place has both of these features, even better!
- Heating and cooling: While there’s a lot to love about Australia’s – and particularly Sydney’s – climate, it can be quite extreme. Most experienced renters understand this and will appreciate being able to control the temperature in their new home. As such, even if it’s only in the main living area, having air conditioning and heating is a major selling point.
- Natural light: This goes hand in hand with the highly desirable modern design and has a major impact on the property’s feel. A place that gets plenty of natural light will seem cleaner, brighter, and more welcoming. It will often also appear to be larger than it is, giving prospective tenants that sought-after sense of space.
- Security features: Some renters are quite security conscious and will want to know that they will be safe in their new home. This is a particular concern in inner-city areas and for properties in high-density developments. In these situations, some potential tenants will be looking for features like deadlocks, security cameras, and window safety bars.
- Storage: Most renters will want to see a range of storage options throughout the property. From kitchen cabinets and bedroom wardrobes to walk in pantries and garden sheds, it will all increase the property’s appeal. This is particularly true for family homes, where potential tenants will pay close attention to the storage space on offer.
While these features may not be what every tenant looks for in a rental property, they will have broad appeal. As such, they’re worth looking for when choosing an investment property or installing before listing the place for rent. Also, as most renters expect to pay a premium for these features, they can help increase your return on investment
Common questions potential applicants ask
Inspections are a great way to get a better sense of what tenants look for in a rental property. The number of people who attend can give you a feel for the amount of interest in a property. And the questions tenants ask at an inspection can help highlight any major issues or concerns.
While the feedback we receive from tenants varies greatly from property to property, tenants usually ask about three main things:
- Are pets allowed?
As mentioned above, renters are increasingly looking to get a pet to keep them company. Before they do this, they need to get their landlord’s permission. On top of this, depending on the property, they may also need approval from Body Corporate.
- What’s the length of the lease?
While 12 months has long been the standard term for leases, we’re seeing more applicants request a 6-month lease. This is usually to allow them to keep their options open and often ends up being extended. As such, we generally recommend considering a 6-month lease, particularly if the rest of the application is strong.
- Can we arrange a private inspection?
Most prospective tenants now prefer to view a property on their own, without other potential applicants around. This gives them a chance to properly check the place out and make sure it’s actually what they’re after. And, as many people’s work schedule is now more flexible, they have time during the week to attend inspections.
Want more information?
If you’d like to learn more about what tenants look for in a rental property, contact Local Agency Co. We have over 20 years of experience in property management and are experts in what tenants want most. We also know how to use this knowledge to help landlords build their portfolios and offer great rental properties.