With so many options in multifamily housing it is important to have some tips and tricks for property managers to use when working to retain current residents and stand out in a crowd. Tenant retention is crucial to any successful multifamily property, particularly when the market is down and inflation is on the rise. In essence, the number of turnovers for a residential building usually reflects on the property management team’s efforts to provide a pleasant experience for their tenants. At SR/A, based on our years of experience working in multifamily housing, we believe there are several factors to help property managers increase retention rates which we highlighted below:
Open Communication and Building Relationships: A key strategy to retain residents is to provide exceptional customer service. Property managers should be responsive to residents’ needs and concerns, and ensure that their living experience is positive.
As a part of our approach to designing spaces in multifamily properties, SR/A collaborated with numerous property management companies to determine the value of maintaining positive relationships with residents. Communication was cited as a key strategy by properties to enhance relationships with clients. Many agreed that using various forms of communication to accommodate a range of tenants is crucial. For example, a property management team can regularly schedule meetings with tenants (in-person or virtually), communicate through online portals, conduct online resident surveys to gather feedback, and use social media platforms such as Facebook or Twitter to promote community events and engage with the residents. Additionally, having an open-door policy where residents are encouraged to stop by the property management’s office with questions or concerns helps to create an atmosphere of open dialogue.
SR/A takes these ideas around effective communication into consideration and incorporates design ideas that facilitate these interactions. For example, we design open and inviting leasing offices that are welcoming to the residents, provide semi-private meeting spots in the lobby to encourage property managers to connect with residents in these designated areas. For a special touch, we like to extend a high-level service by adding a hospitality bar in the lobby which is not only inviting but also elevates the amenities in a multifamily housing unit beyond the standard run-of-the-mill lobby in an apartment complex. By promoting open communication, property managers can build stronger relationships with their residents and create a more positive living experience for everyone involved, in turn keeping existing satisfied renters and creating positive word of mouth on the building’s amenities to attract new residents.
Outdoor Amenities: Amenities like rooftop decks, gardens, playgrounds, dog parks, and BBQ pits provide people with additional space beyond their apartments to enjoy the outdoors. Residents want to be able to go outside for fresh air, amusement, or even work. For an apartment resident having thoughtfully designed outdoor places (something the SR/A works with many of our clients on) in their own building is a huge benefit both in terms of resident’s satisfaction and well-being.
SR/A designed outdoor living space at The George
Property management can also leverage these spaces to host events for residents, which is an opportunity to connect with members of the building’s community. Beyond social mixers, outdoor areas can serve as spaces to host holiday parties, game nights, and even fitness classes! Outdoor yoga at sunset, anyone? By investing in well-designed outdoor spaces, property managers can foster a positive living experience for their residents by providing desired outdoor facilities and create a sense of community among residents. Both of which are principal factors in resident retention.
SR/A designed outdoor living space at Avec on H Street
Updated Mail/Packaging Rooms: As online shopping continues to rise in popularity, the package delivery room has become an increasingly important amenity in multifamily residences. SR/A recognizes the value of having a fully equipped package room that also provides secure storage solutions for tenants’ peace of mind. Some ways to achieve this include lockers and a designated room with controlled access.
SR/A designed mailroom at Idylwood Towers
Property managers should also develop a system where residents are notified when they receive a package such as by email, text message, or a notification through the portal. In addition, the process for retrieving packages should be easy and convenient for residents. This could include 24/7 access to the storage area, a password/code they can use, or having an on-site concierge who can assist with package retrieval. By implementing a package delivery system, property managers can provide residents with a convenient amenity that can help set their property apart from others in the area. Additionally, offering this service can help reduce the workload for property managers who would otherwise have to manage package deliveries themselves.
SR/A designed mailroom at Avec on H Street
Coworking Spaces: The hybrid work model is still going strong and with often smaller apartment spaces, the option to work from one’s apartment building but perhaps not at one’s kitchen table remains an important opportunity for property managers to leverage when working with designers to create appealing amenities for residents. Offering coworking spaces can be a major draw for residents who work from home or have flexible schedules and having a workspace on-site can save residents time and money that they would otherwise spend commuting to a separate office.
SR/A designed co-working room at The Denizen
It is important to consider the design features to add to these spaces. SR/A recommends incorporating functional features which include a fast and reliable internet connection, comfortable seating such as ergonomic chairs and adjustable desks, private meeting rooms, printing and scanning services, a refreshment area, natural light, and soundproofing. SR/A works with properties to incorporate these elements in ways that connect back to the building’s overall design, making the property stand out and be appealing to residents.
SR/A designed meeting room at The Denizen
Retaining Clients and Ensuring a Strong Retention Rate: So what is the bottom line to retaining clients and ensuring a strong retention rate? The key to any property’s growth is to have a consistent retention rate. There are many factors that go into that equation for strong retention rates. SR/A has plenty of experience and knowledge in creating the design elements needed in amenity spaces that will ensure the resident’s love where they live and plan to stay where they live for a long time.
Amina Elshaer is a Junior Designer at SR/A.