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Understanding the needs and concerns of renters is crucial for providing exceptional service. Renters today are focused on their financial fitness, and the 2024 NMHC and Grace Hill Renter Preferences Survey Report shows how owners and operators can help residents with their financial goals.

Multifamily owners and operators can integrate innovative and user-friendly financial options into the marketing and management of their properties. This not only offers the ability to attract new renters and retain current renters, but it also demonstrates a commitment to understanding and meeting the unique needs of everyone living in their communities.

No Fees on Debit/Credit Card Rent Payments

According to the survey findings, the most popular option for adding enhanced financial benefits to the rental process was the ability to pay rent with debit or credit cards—but without having to pay fees for the privilege. This was cited by 89% of survey respondents as somewhat important, very important, or absolutely essential when choosing where to rent.

Fee-free payments are not only financially beneficial to renters; they offer added convenience and may be helpful for property managers by encouraging consistent on-time rent payments.

Wealth-Building Opportunities

The next most popular option on the survey with 80% of renters was the opportunity to build wealth during the rental process. This can take many forms depending on the preferences of the community, from cash-back rewards to resident services to shared appreciation in the property itself. Making these opportunities meaningful involves educating renters about their options and ensuring that they understand how to take full advantage of their potential.

On-Time Rental Payment Credit Reporting

For 76% of renters responding to the survey, credit reporting of their on-time rental payments offers the opportunity to build or restore credit with what is, for most people, the priciest portion of their monthly expenditure. This allows renters to improve their financial fitness month after month while also incentivizing consistent on-time payment.

Security Deposit Alternatives

One of the biggest challenges for renters is coming up with the funds for a security deposit so that they can get into a new lease. For 69% of renter respondents, security deposit alternatives were considered at least somewhat important for improving their financial health. Exploring different types of security deposit alternatives and making them part of your marketing and onboarding strategy may improve vacancy rates and open up a whole new market of potential renters.

Flex Payments

Appealing to more than half of renters surveyed—54%—flexible rent payments come in a variety of forms, ranging from convenient online payment options to the flexibility of paying rent incrementally on a weekly or biweekly basis. These options not only provide advantages for renters, but they can also enhance tenant satisfaction and retention rates for property owners and managers, contributing to improved cash flow.

Ability to Earn Extra Income by Renting Units on a Short-Term Rental Platform

For 36% of renters, financial health and wealth management aren’t limited to paying bills on time and avoiding fees. They’re looking for more options to offset the cost of living by listing their rental units on a short-term rental platform like Airbnb or Vrbo. This may be an especially appealing option for renters who travel frequently or who are faced with the loss of a rent-paying roommate or partner.

While this may be an exciting option for some renters, it may be a turnoff for others. When survey participants were asked whether the ability to earn extra income through short-term rentals would impact their leasing decision, 30% said it would negatively impact their choice and 26% said they would not lease at a multifamily property that allowed short-term rentals.

When asked about their primary concern regarding short-term rentals, more than half, 53%, cited the security of the property, while 29% were concerned about the noise that might be created by non-residents in short-term rentals.

Multifamily owners and operators who provide enhanced financial options for their renters can differentiate the service they provide and the communities they manage. By adding financial responsibility and opportunity to the rental experience, renters can invest in themselves and their future with every month’s rent payment.

Since its inception in 2013, the NMHC and Grace Hill Renter Preferences Survey Report has been the authoritative data source for apartment owners, managers, developers, industry suppliers, as well as architects, financial institutions and others seeking insights into the minds of renters. For more information, visit To find more insights from the survey, visit