Millennials Renting vs Buying: What Makes a Good Rental?

millennial roommates eating in a rental apartment kitchen

Each generation is unique and distinctly different from the rest, with its own values, beliefs, and lifestyle choices that define them. As millennials are slowly becoming the biggest group of renters currently dominating the market, many landlords are wondering how they can meet the needs of the rising renter population.

Whether you’re staging an Airbnb rental or a multi-family development for millennials, keep reading to learn what makes a good rental for millennials when deciding on renting vs buying.

1. Millennial-Oriented Neighborhoods

Millennials are a diverse, colorful, and unique generation with a wide array of interests and daily responsibilities. However, they also tend to own fewer vehicles than their predecessors. This means they appreciate rental homes in close proximity to necessary amenities. This includes grocery stores, subway stations, banks, and bus stops.

Plus, since millennials are a social generation, they appreciate nearby activities that keep them entertained and engaged. So, if your property is close to any boutique coffee shops, interesting vegan or specialty restaurants, yoga studios, or green parks, don’t forget to mention these perks when showing your rental to prospective tenants.

2. Pet-Friendly Rental Units

a millennial working on a laptop in a rental apartment with a cat

It’s no secret that millennials are avid animal lovers. Did you know that millennials are the biggest generation of pet owners in the US? According to stats by Zebra, millennials spend more time training and caring for their pets than previous generations. They want to live in the same space as them and consider their pets valuable family members.

For these reasons, making your rental property pet-friendly could help attract and retain responsible millennial renters. While many landlords worry about pet damage, remember that not all pets are problematic. For example, hamsters, guinea pigs, rabbits, cats, and reptiles are unlikely to cause any damage.

Dogs can be problematic if untrained. But you can set criteria for how well they need to be trained. Landlords can also ask for a pet deposit (where appropriate) to discourage poor pet behavior and cover themselves if damage occurs.

3. Beneficial Service Apartments

Whether it’s due to their affordable prices or proximity to necessary amenities, millennials often prefer smaller, lower-maintenance apartments compared to larger buildings. This is particularly the case in larger cities, like Philadelphia and San Diego.

Millennials mostly choose comfortable service apartments that allow them to enjoy a fully furnished and functional space in a well-connected neighborhood. Suitable for both short-term and long-term stays, and often rented by singles or couples, smaller service apartments offer everything a millennial needs.

Because of this, they are often the first choice when selecting the best rental units. If such apartments provide communal areas for working or socializing with other like-minded individuals, this is an additional benefit for millennials. It enables the generation of renters to form strong bonds and social ties in these rental units.

4. Use of Smart Technologies

Being among the most tech-savvy generations that are accustomed to technology, it’s no surprise that millennials consider the integration of smart technology as one of the biggest advantages when choosing a rental home.

From motion-sensor lighting and remote-controlled thermostats, to smart security systems and overall IoT integration, any millennial renter appreciates the availability of smart home technologies. As millennials tend to be more private and reserved, technology is also beneficial when it comes to communicating and doing business with this generation of renters.

This means landlords should prioritize texts and emails over calls and frequent visits. It also means having more accessible payment options, such as online banking, QR codes, and other contactless payments when it comes to rent collection.

5. Sustainable Living

a communal area in rental building with an indoor garden

Millennials are environmentally conscious. Compared with previous generations, they are highly aware of the current climate crisis, and therefore consider sustainability a core lifestyle value. For this reason, millennial renters are often fully prepared to pay more for homes with greener practices at the forefront.

For landlords, this means that making your rental more sustainable could help to attract and retain responsible, higher-paying millennial tenants. This can be done in small ways, like adding natural decor elements, energy-efficient appliances, and low-flow water features.

Or it could be done via larger-scale developments, like installing solar panels, communal recycling areas, compost bins, vegetable garden plots, or indoor gardens. Whichever you choose, eco-friendly features can help landlords beat the competition when looking for mindful millennial renters.


If your goal is to rent to millennials who prefer renting vs buying, make sure that your property caters to this generation’s strong personal values. By adopting the same values as millennials in the staging of your rental property, you can boost your chances of finding reliable, long-term tenants.

Thinking about investing in a rental property? Or need to sell a property fast? At Brotherly Love Real Estate, we buy and sell houses in Philadelphia and San Diego. To learn more about how we buy houses and how we can help your property portfolio, give us a call today at (215) 769-9875.