Last modified on September 7th, 2022
By Marc Frenkiel
Earlier in the COVID-19 pandemic, the mainstream narrative had many non-Angelenos believing that the metro would soon be a ghost town. Thankfully, that hasn’t happened. In fact, the L.A. metro multifamily rental market has surpassed pre-pandemic activity. To add more background to the story, AppFolio surveyed renters in the L.A. metro area to help property owners and managers better understand what exactly it is that their residents are looking for. What we found surprised us.
L.A. renters are the most dissatisfied in the country.
Whether in spite of or because of the Los Angeles metro being the second most populous in the U.S., only 12% of L.A. renters would recommend their property manager or landlord. Citing rising rent costs, poor property conditions, indifferent attitudes, and slow communications, renters in L.A. are the least satisfied renters in the nation. Additionally, L.A. renters are less likely to renew their lease than the national average, noting a preference for month-to-month leases until they find a new home. In fact, 27% of survey respondents said they are likely to move to a different city in California.
So as a property management professional, what can you do to better support residents?
When asked “how has your property management company or landlord disappointed you in this last year?”, communication issues were a top concern. Explanations included “can sometimes take a while to solve issues” and “doesn’t answer emails.” One way that property managers can take action to improve in these areas is to consolidate all communications onto a central hub. From there, residents can communicate with property management teams using any medium they choose (voice, text, email, or tenant portal), and your entire communication history is centralized into a single source of truth for greater accountability and consistency.
The majority of respondents who listed maintenance as an area of dissatisfaction cited extremely slow response times. With the recent passing of the L.A.’s Tenant Anti-Harassment Ordinance, a delayed response to maintenance requests can have severe consequences. As a result, it’s more important than ever to address maintenance requests right away. Wherever you own or operate rental property, seek a property management solution that leverages artificial intelligence to respond to your residents instantly, at any hour, automatically dispatching work orders to the right technician or vendor.
A staggering 47% of survey respondents cited affordability as the one thing they’d change about renting in the L.A. metro community. Unsurprisingly, 31% say flexible leasing terms have become more important since the pandemic began. If you’re willing to accommodate flexible leases, incorporating online payment options is a straightforward way to keep track of these non-traditional leases. If not, then consider utilizing virtual showing features so that residents can tour more affordable units without having to sit in traffic.
AppFolio’s John Hogg helped us dig into the data and said, “Technology is the name of the game. 35% of L.A. renters say faster response times have become more important since the pandemic, and that having digital tools to help manage their rental has also become more important. Times are changing and so are renter preferences. It’s more important now than ever to invest in the right property management software.”
These insights are just a taste of what you’ll find in our Los Angeles Resident Motivations report.
We also asked open-ended questions like “what are you going to be looking for in your next home?” and “how has your property management company or landlord exceeded your expectations?” You can download the full report here. We hope you’ll take advantage of the valuable insights it provides to meet — and exceed — your residents’ expectations.
Comments by Marc Frenkiel