Top 10 Features and Amenities Today’s Renters Want

Here are the top 10 features in apartments – as well as the top 10 community amenities – today’s renters say they want

Here are the top 10 features in apartments – as well as the top 10 community amenities – today’s renters say they want, based on the 2024 NMHC and Grace Hill Renter Preferences Survey Report.

By Sarah Yaussi

Understanding prospective renters’ preferences is a fundamental responsibility for property owners, developers, and managers.

However, it’s more than just about knowing what renters are looking for or would like to have; it’s about identifying the truly non-negotiable elements that are crucial for modern lifestyles and everyday enjoyment. Recognizing these dealmakers (and dealbreakers) ensures consistent and reliable occupancy — and happier communities.

Whether it’s high-speed internet, modern appliances, a pet-friendly policy or other in-demand features, emphasizing desirable differentiators can create a compelling marketing narrative that resonates with current and potential renters. In the 2024 NMHC and Grace Hill Renter Preferences Survey Report, renter respondents shared both the aspirational and practical elements that make the difference when they’re considering which home to rent. Based on 172,703 survey responses across 77 markets and 4,220 communities, the report provides a valuable snapshot into the needs and desires of a wide range of renters.

Renter respondents surveyed were focused on privacy, convenience, and lifestyle when communicating which features and amenities they simply were unwilling to do without. They’re looking for homes and communities that function as retreats for themselves, their friends, and their families.

Top 10 Features Renters Want or Would Not Rent Without

These are those deal-makers (or deal-breakers!):

  1. Air conditioning (93 percent)
  2. Washer/dryer In unit (93 percent)
  3. High-speed Internet access (90 percent)
  4. Soundproof walls (88 percent)
  5. Walk-in closet (87 percent)
  6. Garbage disposal (87 percent)
  7. Dishwasher (87 percent)
  8. Noise-reducing window panes (83 percent)
  9. Pre-installed window shades/blinds (83 percent)
  10. Refrigerator with water/ice dispenser (81 percent)

Amenities such as air conditioning and in-unit washers/dryers, which at one time were considered luxuries, are now essential components for comfort and convenience.

Survey respondents named these their top must-haves, each with 93 percent of renter respondents indicating they were interested in these features or wouldn’t rent without them.

Whether for remote work, streaming music or video, or gaming, high-speed internet access ranked high on the list of renter essentials as well (90 percent). Along with this, the privacy offered by soundproof walls (88 percent) and noise-reducing windowpanes (83 percent) allows renters a sense of refuge to get work done or enjoy an evening without interruptions.

Walk-in closets (87 percent) and pre-installed window shades and blinds (83 percent) were both important to renters, providing room for storage and the ability to settle into a new rental home quickly and easily. Similarly, upgraded kitchen appliances that were once considered desirable extras, such as garbage disposals and dishwashers (both 87 percent) along with refrigerators with water and ice dispensers (81 percent), are now considered essential for a well-equipped kitchen.

Top 10 Amenities Ranked

A look at the community amenities renter respondents said they were interested in or wouldn’t rent without.

  1. Reliable cell reception (86 percent)
  2. Secure self-service 24/7 package access (76 percent)
  3. Covered parking (76 percent)
  4. Swimming pool (76 percent)
  5. Controlled property/amenity access (75 percent)
  6. Dedicated visitor/guest parking (73 percent)
  7. Fitness center (73 percent)
  8. Controlled-access parking (72 percent)
  9. Non-smoking buildings (71 percent)
  10. On-site back-up power supply (68 percent)

Renters expect seamless use of their mobile devices at all times for everything from answering emails to resourcing GPS navigation to video conferencing. This level of connectivity isn’t just considered convenient; it’s considered essential for personal safety, work-from-home professionalism, and family communication. Because of this, reliable cell reception topped the survey’s list of amenities that renters won’t live without. Another popular amenity—on-site back-up power supply (68 percent)—ensures that power outages don’t interrupt that all-important online access.

Whether ordering essentials from Amazon or dinner from the local take-out restaurant, secure, consistent, and convenient access to packages and deliveries was a significant consideration for 76 percent of the renters surveyed.

In addition, on-the-go lifestyles require convenient and reliable transportation and parking options, reflected in the preference for covered (76 percent) and controlled access (75 percent) parking. In addition, when guests arrive, ensuring that they have a dedicated place to park is also a high priority for 73 percent of renters surveyed.

Many renters look to their community amenities to provide resources that support their active lifestyles. A swimming pool (76 percent), fitness center (73 percent), and non-smoking buildings (71 percent) were high on the wish lists of renters surveyed, allowing them to stay healthy and fit close to home.

For property investors, developers and management companies alike, insight into the lifestyles and needs of the modern renter offers the opportunity to plan ahead, differentiate services, and develop marketing strategies that are tailor-made for potential residents in their properties. By knowing the difference between nice-to-have bells and whistles and must-have features and amenities that renters simply won’t do without, it’s easier to keep homes filled and residents happy.

Building more thoughtful, purpose-driven, and responsive communities is good for everyone.

About the author:

Sarah Yaussi

Sarah Yaussi is vice president of business strategy at the National Multifamily Housing Council. Since its inception in 2013, the NMHC and Grace Hill Renter Preferences Survey Report has been the authoritative data source for apartment owners, managers, developers, industry suppliers, as well as architects, financial institutions and others seeking insights into the minds of renters. For more information, visit NMHC.org/residents.

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