Opinion: Landlords must use technology to attract college students


Published: 09-19-2023 6:00 AM

Laura Cole lives in Farmington.

As students head back to college, landlords and property managers of off-campus student housing should use this opportunity to up their game when it comes to technology.

It’s time to acknowledge that you’re dealing with a generation raised on technology. Students are looking for more interactive features from their landlords, such as online rent payments and maintenance requests, as well as virtual property tours and smart home features.

Additionally, students are increasingly using social media platforms such as Instagram and TikTok to document their housing experiences, so landlords who use these platforms to showcase their properties have a distinct advantage.

To attract college students, landlords should consider utilizing technology to create a convenient and seamless rental and living experience. One option is to partner with companies that offer property management services that include online leasing and convenient rent electronic payment systems like eRentPayment. It’s also convenient to offer mobile-friendly maintenance requests through a company like Latchel.

Some of these technologies, like PaymentReport, will even help students build credit by reporting their on-time payments to major reporting agencies. There are many property management software services out there, but not all of them offer a wide array of services on the same platform. Having separate technology providers for each service might be costly and hard to manage.

Look for software providers that offer all-in-one solutions, such as RentRedi. These technologies should offer the ability to list and market vacancies, find and screen tenants, prequalify and sign leases, collect rent, set up auto-pay, build credit, purchase renters insurance, and manage maintenance requests all in one place.

It’s also important to ensure that the technologies work well on both desktops and mobile apps. Remember, college students will likely prefer to do everything on their phones.

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With most college students being environmentally conscious, another thing to consider is installing smart home technologies such as Ecobee thermostats and Philips Hue lighting systems that can be controlled remotely via a mobile app. These features are not only convenient for tenants but offer energy-efficient benefits as well.

Beyond convenience, tech-enhanced rentals can also offer unique experience options. Virtual tours provide a curated look into the property without leaving the comfort of a couch. Additionally, virtual reality content can be an exciting way for students to interact with the prospect of their potential home before moving in.

The use of technology can not only make the lives of the tenants easier, but it can also benefit landlords by reducing their vacancy rates and increasing their profits. With tech-enabled features, landlords can gain a competitive edge in the market, attract more tenants, and retain current tenants by offering a better user experience.