Apartment tenants want more technology

Tenants are more technologically savvy than their landlords, according to a new rental preference survey co-sponsored by Avison YoungInforma Canada and Rentlogic to to try and better understand tenant profiles, desires and technological take-ups.

Canadian Rental Survey“If you have money available to invest in your unit next year and you don’t already provide high-speed Internet service to your tenants, put it in and then give them the chance to pay you online,” said Avison Young principal and managing director of investments Amy Erixon while presenting the survey results on Sept. 7 at the Canadian Apartment Investment Conference at the Metro Toronto Convention Centre.

“You’ll get a better bang for your buck by doing that.”

The survey was completed online by 1,860 people. Sixty per cent were from Toronto, 25 per cent were from Vancouver and the rest were spread out across Canada.

(Part one of this article, titled “Apartment rental survey reveals valuable information,” was published last week.)

Online rental payment is most desired feature

The top feature desired by tenants is high-speed Internet, and the tech service they most want is online rental payments, according to the survey. Just 25 per cent of respondents said they don’t like electronic payments or wouldn’t use them.

Online community portals — a dashboard system that allows tenants to pay rent, extend leases online, send a message to building management and other things — are becoming more common in American apartments. Only 20 per cent of Canadian survey respondents said their landlords offered them and more than half who don’t have them would like them.

Just 21 per cent of tenants would like to pay rent and advise landlords of needed repairs in person or over the phone, compared to 39 per cent online, 22 per cent by email and 16 per cent through an online application.

Forty-one per cent of tenants found their space through an online listing service, and this method was even more prevalent among those paying the lowest rents.

“The Internet is essential for people who are having price issues in terms of finding units that meet their requirements,” said Erixon.