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What Gen Z wants in a smart rental apartment

Woman thinking about what smart home products she wants in a rental

Anyone born between 1997 and 2012 is part of Generation Z—also known as the Zoomer generation. The youngest members of Gen Z are still in middle and high school, but the oldest are out of college or already in the workforce, meaning they may be ready to join the rental market. While Gen Z makes up less than 1% of all U.S. homeowners, they’re already 9% of all renters in the country, according to RentCafe.com, and among those who live on their own, 83% rent.

Those numbers are only getting bigger. So if you’re a private landlord or someone working at a rental management company, it’s important to know what exactly does Gen Z want to rent, which smart home features and modern appliances matter to them, and what do they really want in a smart rental. We’ll walk you through the answers. 

At Asurion, we teach you how to get the most out of your tech, from how to turn your apartment into a smart home to how to automate your rental property. Here’s our guide to what Gen Z wants in a rental, whether it's home gadgets, smart appliances, or connected tech.

High-speed internet access

Offering free, high-speed internet—or bundling it into the rental fee—is one of the easiest, smartest ways to attract Gen Z tenants to your rental. Gen-Zers are digital natives: They’ve grown up online, lead connected social lives online, and rely on tech to keep their homes safe, support their careers, pursue hobbies, and maintain physical and mental health. Offering reliable, safe internet access is a must in the rental market, especially given the recent shift to remote work.

That safe, reliable Wi-Fi should extend beyond the rentals themselves. Gen Zers spent a chunk of their high school and college years cooped up inside during the COVID-19 pandemic. Now, they’re looking for truly livable apartments. That means gardens, rooftops, and green spaces—all connected to the internet.

To learn more about internet access, check out our guides to staying safe online and protecting your privacy on social media.

Smart gadgets

When it comes to choosing a place to live, 62% of Gen Zers say apartment technology is “extremely important” or “very important,” according to RentCafe.com. In fact, Gen Zers rank smart locks and smart thermostats even higher than having an extra bedroom. Which smart gadgets do they covet the most? Here are some smart home solutions to consider:

Smart locks

For Generation Z, safety and tech come together, so a smart lock just makes sense. It lets you lock and unlock your door using your phone or smart watch instead of a regular key. Many models come with a built-in alarm and will lock someone out if they try the wrong access code too many times. Smart locks are harder to pick than traditional locks, plus the more spare keys floating around, the less safe your tenant is. 

Intrigued? Here’s what you need to know about smart lock safety.

Smart thermostat

This cool device lets renters adjust the temperature at home with their phone or a simple voice command (assuming they have a smart home hub). The result? A more comfortable climate—and lower utility bills. Smart thermostats can also sense when you’re home and automatically heat or cool your space based on the temperature outside. 

To learn more, here are 6 surprising ways a smart thermostat can transform your home.

Smart bulbs and smart light switches

Updating your rental to include smart bulbs and smart light switches gives Gen Zers control over the lighting in their home. They’ll be able to adjust the lights directly from an app or hub, create lighting schedules, and protect their home by turning on certain lights to make it look like they’re inside. Plus, they'll save money and energy. These bulbs last 25 times longer and use at least 75% less energy than incandescent bulbs, according to the U.S. Department of Energy.

Smart plugs

Smart plugs are a quick and easy way to automate the wired devices in your rental. Plug one into an outlet, connect it to your Wi-Fi network, then plug a wired appliance—like a lamp or a fan—into your smart plug. Now your renter can control them on a phone—or via voice command—from wherever they are. 

To learn more about creating a smart apartment, here are the best smart gadgets for your new home.

Energy-efficient, modern appliances

Sustainability matters to Generation Z. Two-thirds say climate should be a top priority to ensure a sustainable planet for the future, according to a 2021 Pew Research Center report. Smart appliances like refrigerators, washing machines, and cook tops can help you attract Gen Z to your smart rental because they often save energy. 

To learn more, check out our guide to creating a smart kitchen.

Smart gadgets to protect against smoke, fire, and flooding

Smart smoke and carbon monoxide detectors and smart water leak detectors provide additional layers of safety in a smart housing rental. Smart smoke and carbon monoxide detectors connect to your overall smart home system and alert your tenant—or the proper authorities—if smoke or carbon monoxide is present. They can also run automatic tests and will let you know when they’re working correctly. 

Meanwhile, smart water leak detectors help stave off a basement flood or leaky roof. You can even install an automatic water shutoff, which can save your home from flooding. 

Want to learn more about making your rental work for Gen Z? Check out our guide to what renters want from smart home tech.

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