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Renters Will Pay More For These Tech-Enabled Amenities

Tenants want more tech in their apartments and multifamily landlords and developers are putting in the technology to meet that demand. While building-wide WiFi, electric chargers and rooftop decks remain popular among tenants, smart building technology is becoming the new “it” amenity. 

Latch smart lock installed on a front door

From package delivery lockers to smart locks, landlords are turning to tech-enabled amenities to woo tenants who are willing to pay more for these features.

In a Schlage and Wakefield Research survey of 1,000 U.S. multifamily renters, 86% of millennials are willing to pay one-fifth more for a smart apartment. Gen Y renters are 61% more likely to rent a unit because of electronic access such as keyless entry, and 55% are willing to pay more in rent for a unit with a smart lock.

Smart lock systems, such as Latch, Kwikset, August Home, Schlage and Yale Locks & Hardware, are being installed in existing and new units throughout the country.

Bay Area-based Veritas and Prometheus are two developers installing Latch locks within their properties. 

“Simply put, people want it,” Veritas Vice President of Operations Andrew Silverman said. “Veritas is focusing on amenities that make our residents’ lives easier with more at their fingertips, which means mobile-first products and services of all kinds are on our radar.”

Veritas offers gigabit WiFi in its 100-year-old properties as well as access to a proprietary Veritas Resident App. It also partners with cleaning, dog walking, grocery delivery and transportation services. 

“And all this is just the beginning as we set up our properties to further engage in the new economy,” Silverman said. 

Latch Chief Operating Officer Ali Hussain

Smart locks provide easier access and better security for property owners, managers, guests and renters, according to Latch Chief Operating Officer Ali Hussain. Part of the pain of keys and fobs is property management personnel have to be on-site to show a rental and have to re-key tenants who get locked out or lose their keys, he said. Keys also do not allow for easy access to guests, various deliveries and service workers like dog walkers, he said.

“Everything you used to do with physical things has gone digital, and what we saw as the last physical infrastructure in your pocket … was the key,” Hussain said.

Latch provides access via a pass code on a touch screen, phone application or a backup keycard. The system also will monitor visitors so property managers know when guests are in the building.

By the end of February, Latch locks will be installed in over 500 properties across the country. The company can do buildings with as few as 25 units and projects with over 1,000 units.

Niido, an Airbnb-branded residential community, will use Latch locks to provide better access to guests and residents. Guests will receive digital credentials to gain access to Niido buildings. Niido will allow residents to share units up to 180 days each year. The first building will go live in Kissimmee, Florida, this year.

Solving The Package Delivery Crunch With Tech

A smart locker system from Package Concierge.

Along with smart locks, tenants are willing to pay more to have a package delivery system. More than 25% of new apartments offer this service and many built before 2012 have been adapting to this new trend, according to data from Class-A apartments with package service garner $237 more in rent each month for one-bedroom units. For two-bedroom units, landlords are collecting $317 more per month.

Communities receive about 20,000 packages each year or 50 packages a day, according to Package Concierge founder Georgianna Oliver. Leasing teams end up spending five minutes per package accepting, logging, storing and notifying residents of a package.

Package Concierge is among the companies to offer package lockers to multifamily and student housing developments. Package locker systems allow for tenants to pick up packages any time during the day and allow for shipping and returning packages.

The package locker system is serving over 503,000 residents, and 82 installations are in the Bay Area.

Tenants receive a text or email when they receive a package and use a key fob or enter a four-digit code to retrieve the item. Management also receives data-rich reports, package delivery history and security information.

“Properties want their residents to be happy,” Oliver said. “Happy residents normally renew their lease.”