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The Property Manager’s Guide to Renting to Millennials

How to Rent to Millennials in Howard County MD

Did you know that 60% of renters are under the age of 40?

Many of these renters are millennials, ranging in age from 18 to 34 as of 2015. Often, they prefer renting over home ownership because:

  • They are paying off huge amounts of student debt and cannot afford home ownership.
  • Their career requires them to be flexible, and they must be prepared to move when necessary.
  • There is no longer a stigma associated with renting, and it is often easier and more cost-effective than buying a home.

With so many renters in this group, you can see why it’s important for you to understand what they value when looking for a place to live.

This especially applies if your property is located in Howard County near a college campus (like Howard Community College in Columbia), as it is likely to attract millennial tenants due to its close proximity to the school.

But before you rent to a millennial, realize that they are a unique group of renters with specific preferences regarding the place they live. Here’s what you should know:


What Landlords Should Know Before Renting To Millennials

1. Millennials communicate differently.

If you frequently call or require your millennial tenants to meet with you in person, you may soon find them looking for a new place to live. That’s why, if you need to send rent due date reminders or contact your millennial renters for other reasons, you should opt for email instead.

If you must set up a phone call or an in-person meeting, at least schedule it with the tenant ahead of time so they know when to expect you.

Here’s something else you should know: millennials hate voicemails. Many of them avoid leaving voicemails when calling someone who doesn’t answer, opting to send that person a text message instead. They also often avoid listening to voicemails that have been left for them by others.

While this might be a bit frustrating for you, it’s important to accept it and adjust when possible.

Ask your millennial tenants if they’re okay communicating via text message or email, and use one of those methods instead of calling often. You can bet that they will appreciate the courtesy.

Millennial Tenants Using Their Phones to Communicate


2. Millennials prioritize location.

For a millennial, finding a place to live has a lot to do with the location, but they aren’t usually looking for great schools and kid-friendly activities in the area the way that families do.

Instead, they often prefer easy access to both their workplace and fun activities that allow them to socialize and enjoy their spare time. That can include:

  • Outdoor recreation areas, like parks and lakes
  • Nightlife (clubs, bars, music venues)
  • Trendy restaurants
  • Coffee houses

If you can purchase a property near these kinds of places, you’ll be much more likely to attract them. Make sure you list all of the nearby attractions when you advertise your property so millennials know right away that they’ll have easy access to fun activities if they move in.


3. Millennials care about the environment.

With green living on the rise, you’ll find it easier to attract and keep millennial tenants if you can show that you care about the environment. Here are some of the eco-friendly amenities you can offer:

  • Recycle bins
  • Water-saving showerheads
  • Energy-efficient appliances
  • Low-flow toilets

If your property already features any of these amenities and you are trying to attract millennials, be sure to list them in your property advertisement. If not, try to at least add energy-saving light bulbs to your property and mention them in your ads.


4. Millennials look for places to live online.

There’s no doubt that most millennials would complete the entire rental process online if it were possible.


Because it’s convenient. They already spend a ton of time online, and they know that handling many day-to-day tasks using the internet is almost always quicker than handling them in person.

While it isn’t realistic for you to offer a rental process that is completed solely online (proper tenant screening typically requires more contact than that), you can set up an online presence for yourself to attract millennials to your properties.

Here’s how:

  1. Create a website for your rental property company. You can either hire a web designer/developer to take care of it for you or create the website yourself using WordPress, Squarespace, or Wix.
  2. Create social media accounts to advertise your properties. Don’t be afraid to branch outside of Facebook – Twitter, Instagram, and other social sites are popular with millennials too!
  3. Engage with your target audience online by sharing photos of your rental properties, creating a regularly updated blog on your website, starting conversations on social media, and using hashtags to your advantage.

If you aren’t interested in learning how to market your rental property business yourself, consider hiring a property management company to handle it for you.

Market Your Vacant Howard County Rental Properties Online


5. Millennials want super-fast internet at home.

Just about everyone wants fast internet access in their home, and millennials are no exception.

Many of them work from home and must rely on the internet to make a living, while others simply enjoy online gaming or streaming services like Netflix that require fast internet speeds to work properly. So, before you invest in a property, figure out what kind of internet access is available there.

You may want to pass on the property if slow, unreliable internet service is the only option.


6. Millennials prefer to make payments online.

There are few things millennials despise more than the antiquated payment method of delivering a check or money order to their landlord. That’s because they’re used to handling everything online in an instant.

So, if you’re looking to attract millennial tenants and keep them happy, consider setting up an online payment system. This small change will mean a lot to a busy millennial who prioritizes convenience.


7. Millennials are pet owners.

A millennial is likely to rule out your property if you don’t allow pets. That’s why, if your property is located in an area where millennials are likely to rent, you should seriously consider allowing pets in your properties.

To protect yourself and your property, make sure you add a section about the pet restrictions and rules to the lease, and clearly explain your policies to your tenants.


In Conclusion

While adding millennial-friendly amenities to your properties may help improve your business, keep in mind that the Federal Fair Housing Law states that you cannot discriminate against prospective tenants due to their familial status or age. Doing so could land you in serious trouble with the law, so avoid denying someone a place to live just because they aren’t a millennial.

And remember, if you need help managing your Howard County property, consider using a Maryland property management team like Bay Management Group. We can help with maintenance, screening, rent collection, and more so you can focus on building a profitable rental property business.