marshmallows over fire pit
Resources How to rethink shared amenities post-COVID

How to rethink shared amenities post-COVID

By the editorial team at Story by J.P. Morgan

Shared amenities are more than just a perk — they’re a valuable asset for attracting and retaining tenants in the post-pandemic marketplace.

Today, many renters are seeking amenities that provide a safe and convenient way to step outside and engage with others. Here’s how multifamily property owners can offer shared amenities that stand out from the competition.

Optimize outdoor spaces

Spending more time at home has caused many people to prioritize access to the outdoors. Offering functional spaces where residents can safely socialize can increase your property’s appeal and help build a sense of community among residents.

diagram of top multifamily outdoor amenities

Source: Multifamily amenities 2021, Multifamily Design+Construction

“People want to be in their own space, but also tiptoe out into the world again,” says Eric Van Gelder, licensed real estate salesperson at Corcoran Group, where he specializes in multifamily rentals and for-sale properties in Brooklyn, New York.

Van Gelder recommends dividing outdoor spaces like yards, patios and courtyards into pods or “outdoor rooms,” with seating clusters, grilling areas or fire pits. Creating smaller gathering spaces with flexible purposes helps encourage social distancing while still fostering socializing.

How to cater outdoor amenities to tenants' lifestyle
Most of my tenants are:
Outdoor amenities to consider:
Working professionals or students
  • Small seating pods for entertaining guests
  • Fire pits, grills and eating areas
  • Lighting for nighttime use
  • Wi-Fi and small work stations for working and studying
Families with children
  • Play structure, basketball hoop or sandbox
  • Multipurpose grass areas
  • Yard games like cornhole or ladder toss
Senior citizens or retirees
  • Zen garden with benches and a water feature
  • Scenic walking path
  • Putting green, art easels or craft workbenches
Pet owners
  • Enclosed pet play areas with seating
  • Outdoor shower or pet cleaning station
From all walks of life
  • Greenery, lighting, shade and seating clusters
  • Covered outdoor workout areas with padded floor mats, pull-up bar and dip stand
  • Community garden or individual garden boxes tenants can claim

Prioritize safety, security and cleanliness

The pandemic has made people more aware of how their environment affects their mental and physical health. Many renters have come to expect a higher level of safety, security and cleanliness in common spaces.

diagram of top security amenities

Source: Multifamily amenities 2021, Multifamily Design+Construction

“Technology has come a long way here,” says Roger Daniel, president of Daniel Management Group, who has 10 years of experience in multifamily property investment and management in Chicago.

“Electronic door access provides convenience but can also [show] a history of who enters and leaves the apartment,” Daniel says. “Landlords like it because you can control and track access, and don’t have to worry about keys.”

Along with keyless entry, five additional ways to improve safety and security include:

  1. Add security gates and cameras to all access points.
  2. Ensure parking lots and entrances are well-lit.
  3. Install locks and guards on windows.
  4. Set up a portal or email address where tenants can submit safety concerns or suggestions, and follow up on their submissions.
  5. Share the ways you are working to keep tenants safe in regular communications, such as email newsletters.

You can demonstrate your dedication to sanitation by increasing the cleaning frequency of all shared spaces, as well as:

  1. Supplying disposable face masks, hand sanitizer and cleaning wipes at entrances and in high-contact areas
  2. Reconfiguring communal spaces to encourage social distancing
  3. Planning for year-round use and increasing upkeep and maintenance to minimize weeds, leaves, snow and weather damage
  4. Looking into HVAC upgrades and air purification systems in shared indoor spaces
  5. Adding more recycling and trash bins across the property to prevent overflows

To learn more about how to establish COVID-19 protocols in communal spaces on your property, read this helpful guide from the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention.

Make daily life more convenient for tenants

Many renters are prioritizing function over flash when it comes to apartment amenities. While luxurious features like juice bars or catering kitchens might look good on paper, more practical amenities that add convenience to everyday life can create a better living environment.

diagram of top security convenience services

Source: Multifamily amenities 2021, Multifamily Design+Construction

“When I show apartments, everyone asks: Is there bike storage?” Van Gelder says. “So some sort of basement space where people can put their bikes is great. And then making it a little easier to access so there's not 10 sets of stairs to get there.”

“Storage is often an overlooked amenity,” Daniel says. “We add cages to parking spots when we can or in unused basements. Or we also use off-site storage if there is no room [onsite].”

And with online shopping exploding throughout the pandemic, package lockers and storage amenities can give renters peace of mind by keeping their online orders safe. “Package rooms with secure access are very popular,” Daniel says. “Amazon is also installing fob systems on stairwell doors at no cost. They can deliver packages right to the door. We install those at every building we take over.”

Offering shared amenities that up the quality of life for renters post-COVID — from outdoor spaces to security features to practical storage — can make your property a more attractive and enjoyable place to live.

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