Rent or Reject? 5 Must-Haves Millennials Demand from an Apartment Community

Millennial Must-Haves for Apartment Renting


Nothing annoys Millennials more than grouping us into a broad category—we pride ourselves on individuality. We’re all searching for something different, and many times where we choose to live is an outward reflection of who we are or who we want to be. Whether we’re trying to live a minimalistic life and ditch unnecessary baggage, or we’re working to become the youngest VP in our company’s history – we won’t compromise on what we believe in.

As a Millennial, I have a list of my top five “must haves” for renting an apartment. Whether it’s an urban high-rise or a quaint duplex, an apartment won’t even be considered if it doesn’t have the following:

#1: Online Everything (Resident Portals Rock!)

I’m in the older sect of Gen Y, so I know what a check is and how to write one. But, I haven’t written one in years. The only thing worse than writing and dropping off a check to your front office is calling you on the phone. Millennials will exhaust every form of communication possible before making a call, including maintenance requests. Give us the ability to make maintenance requests online (like with user friendly resident portals) or you’ll most likely never know that the shower is leaking (and it’ll be a costly repair later).

And if we come to your property for a tour, do not sell to us—we’ve already done all the research online.

#2: Unit Pricing and Availability Transparency

Real-time pricing and availability must be listed on your website. By the time you receive an email from us, we have probably already made up our minds as to which apartment unit is the one we want. If it’s not available, it’ll feel like a trick to win business and we’ll take it elsewhere. That transparency includes fees—don’t throw anything in at the last second. This is a non-negotiable in all steps of the leasing process.

#3: Pet-Friendly Apartment Communities

Like most Millennials, I have a dog that I love. Like, “I-only-buy-treats- made-in-the-US” and “Which-sweater-should-you-wear-today?” kind of love. We’re not looking for pet-friendly; we’re looking for treats-in-the-lobby friendly. If you don’t have your own dog park, make sure you advertise the closest one (and provide trash bins/doggie bags along the way).

#4: Walkability

We want to walk to restaurants, bars, and grocery stores. Even if we don’t actually always walk, we want the option to! It’s a good idea to feature what’s nearby on your website, because we will research it ahead of time. At the end of the day, what this score means to me is convenience.

#5: Green Living

Help us be green without having to think about it (or pay extra for it). It doesn’t start and stop with recycling – do you have an electric car charger? Compost? Rain Water collectors for landscape maintenance? We’re thinking of the future—we want that in our apartment, too.

So there you have it: my top five reasons why this particular Millennial would rent—or decide to reject—one of your apartments. Would you like to know my “must haves” to stay?

Top Renewal Factor: Friendly Staff

The staff needs to treat residents (and potential residents) as real people, not “resident in apartment 242.” I once had a property manager not only know my name, but my dog’s name. Feeling like I was part of the “family” was part of my decision to renew my lease, even with a $100/month price hike.

Runner-Up: Maintenance Staff

Speaking of staff, train your maintenance technicians to be as personable as possible. When they enter an apartment when a resident isn’t home (after they give permission, online of course) leave a note with the maintenance person’s photo, what he/she did and any next steps. Bonus points if they give my dog a treat while they’re there.

Those may be my personal Millennial must haves, but what have you seen? When renting to Millennials at your property, were their requests similar? Different? Tell me about your experience renting apartments to my generation.


(Image source: Shutterstock)



Marketing Communications Specialist, RealPage

author photo two

Hedish specializes in Marketing Communications and is a Contributing Editor for She focuses on marketing strategies for the LeaseStar Marketplace Suite, the most comprehensive online marketing solution in the multifamily industry, at RealPage, Inc. Before beginning her career at RealPage, she held a variety of communications, marketing and public relations positions at, Sabre Holdings and SuperMedia. Hedish graduated from Texas A&M University and received her Master of Journalism degree with high honors from The University of North Texas.

11 responses to “Rent or Reject? 5 Must-Haves Millennials Demand from an Apartment Community”

  1. 2M Street says:

    We could’t agree more! Our pet-friendly community encourages pet-parents to enjoy our private dog park. We’re even proud parents to Emmy, our amazing resident mini-Bulldog pup. She loves people and other dogs, and is available to pet-less residents for belly rubs and walks in the park! Check her out on Instagram: @2mpup.

    We’re also huge supporters of the green living approach; 2M Street ( in Northeast DC features rooftop solar panels, rainwater-collecting cisterns, electric car charging stations and environmentally friendly materials throughout the building.

    Great article, you really hit the nail on the head!

    • Hedish says:

      I bet Emmy Biscuit is everyone’s favorite neighbor! What a great way for busy residents to get a little puppy love. (Love the pic of her #dogtired.)

      I would love to live somewhere with rooftop solar panels. Not only is it green, it could help keep energy costs down. Very forward thinking, and definitely appealing to fellow Gen-Yers.

  2. I enjoyed reading this, it confirms what we are experiencing with ‘Gen C’ or Generation Connected! They are 100% digital and virtual, great posting!

  3. Melody Garcia, says:

    Great article! Worth the read. I couldn’t agree more.

  4. Barrie H says:

    Really interesting to see these top 5 ideas – and how technology is number 1 on the list !
    We built to make maintenance requests really really easy – we designed it for office buildings so we’d be keen to hear from any property managers to get their feedback on our iphone and android apps – and whether we should be customising more for the rental market…. Thanks !

  5. So very true. This is what our customers are telling us through their actions, likes and dislikes

  6. Those looking to enhance their communities with additional “green” amenities should take a look at the Multifamily Recycling Portal on

    It is an exciting offering that allows residents (or property staff themselves) to recycle and responsibly dispose of used IT equipment, such as smartphones, PCs, laptops, for cash! SyndicIT also works with properties to develop custom-recycling days where tenants can bring in equipment and donate the total proceeds to a charity of choice!

    It’s a green way to build a community and promote green initiatives! Best of all, our program ensures complete destruction of data and compliance with local ordinances!

    • Hedish says:

      That site is fantastic! And incorporating it into your community is a great way to engage residents. I’ve seen employers offer the same- it started as a week-long event, and it was so popular they kept it available full time for employees. It’s definitely a useful and creative amenity!

  7. Dan says:

    Good points. I especially agree with #4 & #5, both being very green. Green amenities that residents can engage in, keep utility bills low and inspire loyalty to the community and brand are all very important considerations when it comes to green renting. We hear frequently that Millennials will even pay a few bucks more for a green apartment unit/community. Would you? If so, how much more? 5%? 10%? 15? 20?

    • Hedish says:

      Dan- I definitely would. I already choose slightly higher-priced energy plans that use green methods to product energy. As for how much, personally I’m in the middle: 10-15%. If there were a community garden, too…then I might consider 20%!

  8. Barbara Hopper says:

    It could be because my property is a smaller unit building and appeals to right out of college first time career professional, but I find that unless my potential resident has landed a fabulous federal job with a great pay, their first and foremost concern is an affordable rent and that they will forego any and or all of the five points listed above. If utilities were included there would be no concern as to how green the method of heating and cooling is as long as they are not paying for it. On the dog (and cats are ALWAYS forgotten, why is that) or pet policy it would be nice to allow them but I have noticed that the Millennials do not even commit to keeping their IKEA furniture from move to move as they ladder up their career moving across oceans for opportunity. What I have heard a great deal of feedback on is that they live in a building that is roach, bed bug and rodent free and that they are not poisoned in the process of eliminating a problem.

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