Top 5 features tenants look for in rental properties

What do renters want when looking for a rental property? What do they expect of you as the landlord? Here is a list of the top things tenants want (and don't want).

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Blogger: Gavin Smith, director & general manager, State Custodians

A survey conducted by in March 2014 asked buyers and renters about their views on the property market and also created a comparative overview of renters including lifestyle preferences, pet peeves and why they are still renting and not buying.

Pet peeves
In order to keep happy tenants for longer, it is important to keep pet peeves to a minimum. By knowing what annoys tenants, you can implement measures to ensure your own tenants don’t experience these same issues.

According to the Housing Sentiment Report, the top four pet peeves for renters are:
• Not being able to make changes to the property (59.7 per cent)
• Property manager is unresponsive (44.1 per cent)
• Pet restrictions (37.8 per cent)
• Paying to fix things themselves because it’s quicker (30.3 per cent)


As you can seen, most of the pet peeves involve the property manager not being responsive or attentive to the tenants. Keeping happy tenants is mostly about being attentive. If you are both professional and personable, tenants may feel more comfortable about coming to you with maintenance concerns and other questions and can help prevent major issues down the track.

Factors influencing which suburb a renter lives in
Choosing a suburb to purchase an investment property in is very different to choosing an area to live in yourself and this is one of the big mistakes investors make. What you may find suitable may not necessarily be in line with what renters are looking for.

The top four factors which influence where a renter chooses to live are neighbourhood safety (53.9 per cent), public transport access (44.2 per cent), shops (34.7 per cent) and distance from work (34 per cent).

Research is key when it comes to finding a location that is in demand for renters. However, information from real estate listings and sales data can often be limited. So, in order to get a well-rounded outline of an area, you will need to take it a step further. See what public transport is available as well as what shops, schools and other essentials are nearby.

Top 5 property features 
When looking for a property to rent, there are certain features that are more important than others for renters. According to the Housing Sentiment Report, the top five features for renters are size of property (27.4 per cent), big or good quality kitchen (26.5 per cent), air conditioning/heating (26.1 per cent), garage (19.7 per cent) and outdoor area (19.1 per cent).

If your property does not have these features, most of them can be added by renovating. However, one of the risks of renovating is overcapitalising on the project which may result in losing money due to lowering the rent as tenants are not willing to pay more for your improvements or the property may remain vacant for longer.

Being a successful property investor requires more than just purchasing property and advertising for tenants. In order to keep happy tenants for longer, you will need to look through the eyes of a renter to see what they want and need.

About Gavin Smith
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Gavin Smith is Director & General Manager of State Custodians and has over 20 years’ experience in leadership roles within the banking services sector. An expert in personal finance, securitised lending and the mortgage industry, Gavin has a Post Graduate Degree in Management from the Australian Graduate School of Management (UNSW), including several mortgage and securitisation qualifications.

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