Property managers in Los Angeles have the benefit of a variety of different rental property styles. If you’ve ever watched the 70s sitcom “Three’s Company” you’re familiar with the small rental building that the three roommates rented in Santa Monica. It’s this kind of building that renters still look for in the LA area. But they’re just finding them in much more modern ways that Chrissy, Jack and Janet did when they rented from Mr. and Mrs. Roper.

  • AppFolio Property Management recently surveyed renters to see what they liked about the rental experience.
  • Renters like to be able to conduct most of their rental business online, from searching for a unit to paying for it.
  • In LA, a wide variety of units is available.

Property managers in Los Angeles have the benefit of a variety of different rental property styles.

If you’ve ever watched the 70s sitcom “Three’s Company” you’re familiar with the small rental building that the three roommates rented in Santa Monica.

It’s this kind of building that renters still look for in the LA area. But they’re just finding them in much more modern ways that Chrissy, Jack and Janet did when they rented from Mr. and Mrs. Roper.

AppFolio Property Management recently conducted a survey to delve into important criteria that renters are looking for in the current multifamily space.

The survey results are meant to be used as advice for professional property managers who oversee anywhere between 10 and 5,000 units. They also point to national trends in the multifamily rental segment as a whole.

Since AppFolio has clients in all 50 states, they were willing and able to share their insights about local markets.

The company’s vice president of product, Nat Kunes, had quite a bit to say about what renters – especially millennials – look for in LA.

“LA is very spread out, with a mix of urban and suburban rental properties,” Kunes said.  “We find that, while LA renters complain about their commutes, they’re still willing to drive more to get where they need to go.

“There’s a movement among millennials especially around walking and biking everywhere, though. Building owners are responding to that. We’re seeing popularity in revitalized smaller buildings that are close to fun and close to work.”

Kunes gives the example of apartments surrounding Angels stadium. They are popular among those who want to take a short stroll to reach an amenity such as that one.

“Also, LA has recently invested a lot in its public transportation system, which many who don’t want to deal with a car – like millennials, like.”

AppFolio’s national survey wanted to gauge what is top of mind for today’s renters. The property management industry, they say, has one of the slowest adoption rates of technology. But renters are in the other camp: they eagerly await and adopt tech trends. Online convenience can make or break a signed lease.

With more consumers renting versus buying, the rental market has become crowded. So, with that in mind, AppFolio quizzed current renters on where they found their listing. Nearly one-third (29 percent) say they found the rental listing for their current residence online.

Today’s renters are not only finding rental listings online, but they’re also attracted to digital conveniences in deciding which rental to move into next. From paying rent to reporting a maintenance issue, renters want to be able to do apartment tasks from their phone, iPad or computer, whether on-the-go or sitting on the couch.

A hefty 46 percent of those surveyed prefer to pay their rent digitally—through an app, website or automatic withdrawal.

Nearly a quarter of renters eliminate a property from their search if photos or videos of the property are unavailable. Bad reviews (of the property itself or of the property manager) are also bad news, with 27 percent of respondents choosing this as the top reason for eliminating a property from their search.

Millennials are least sensitive to price. Of the total respondents that cite rent being more than they want to pay as the top reason for eliminating a property from the search, only 28 percent are age 18-34. Adults age 55-64 are most sensitive to price, with 45 percent selecting it as the top determining factor.

Many renters are finding that a nice place to live is costing more than was in the past thought to be prudent financially. The survey had 32 percent of its respondents say that half or more of their monthly income goes toward rent.

So finding and keeping good tenants, now easier and more convenient with new tech tools, looks very different than when three very funny roommates delivered cash to the Ropers at (roughly) the same time each month.

Email Kimberley Sirk.

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