Tim Darwall-Smith, Director, SBA Property Management  

In the past few years, a new generation of renters have entered the market. Gen Zers are leaving education, joining the workforce, and moving out of the family home – subsequently creating an entirely new tenant base for the rental property market.

Gen Z’s share of the UK’s total rent bill rose to 15% in 2020, from just 1% in 2014. With such a rapidly growing market, new audience preferences come into play. This is particularly prominent in London, where it’s estimated that around a quarter of the UK’s young professionals move after university.

As Gen Zers enter the rental market, it’s important that property owners and managers tailor their residential experience accordingly. So, what are the top features and amenities that Gen Z renters are looking for in a place to live in London?

Smart home technology and connections

Having grown up with the technology that millennials and older generations have had to adapt to, Gen Z are digital natives who seek to make life easier and more efficient through use of technology. Smart technology in the home is therefore a highly attractive feature for young professionals, alongside the availability of a fast and secure Wi-Fi connection.

As part of our organised and adaptable approach to property management, our properties feature automated technologies that provide insights and alert us of potential issues before they arise, enabling us to arrange quicker maintenance where necessary. While smart technology helps to streamline our services, we continue to place emphasis on personalised customer relations, including effective communication, request management and loyalty.

Availability of amenities

Making the move to the capital can be daunting, so having all the necessities close to home is a huge benefit for younger tenants. These can include a gym, supermarkets, laundry services, restaurants and cafes.

With the rise of remote working following the pandemic, many members of the Gen Z community are beginning to enter the workforce without entering the workplace – rendering the availability of coworking spaces in residential buildings increasingly more important.

At SBA we offer a plethora of mixed-use developments in prime locations, featuring many amenities quite literally on the doorstep or around the corner. Homeworking facilities such as shared office spaces and meeting rooms also offer a more social experience for those who work from home.

Affordable prices

With the cost-of-living crisis affecting everyone, we’re mindful that young professionals will be taking a bit hit, especially with many “zoomers” relying on starting salaries at entry-level jobs and making the move away from home. At SBA we consider affordability for residents a core part of our offering.

Taking a thoughtful approach to pricing, we ensure that our tenants or leaseholders don’t suffer with an unexpected bill from us at any time. For example, while recently undertaking remedial work to upgrade one of our property’s external walls, we communicated clearly with leaseholders throughout the process and absorbed the cost so that they didn’t have to financially contribute to the work.

Safe parcel storage

Following the pandemic, we’ve also seen a surge in online orders, with three in five 18-to 24-year-olds (62%) now more likely to buy clothes online. Coupled with the rise in online purchases comes the increase in deliveries and the need for someone to receive them, which isn’t always possible for a young professional.

Supporting our residents’ needs is always at the top of our agenda and so many of our properties include a 24-hour concierge who will, amongst other duties, always be there to receive and safely store deliveries at any time of the day.

At SBA, we make it our business to understand our tenants, what they need, and how we can best service them to make their living experience as smooth and enjoyable as possible.