Are you an apartment owner or operator looking to set up modern amenities and establish an amenity fee for your residents? Are you a resident looking to understand what amenity and technology fees are? Below is our complete guide to apartment amenities and amenity fees.
Let’s start by laying out some definitions.
What is an Apartment Amenity?
An apartment amenity may refer to in-unit or building common area features that benefit the resident. E.g. video intercom system, mobile app access, dog washing station, grocery delivery, preferred access to fitness center, etc.
What is an Amenity Fee?
Amenity fees are fees charged in addition to the rent by a landlord. It covers the modern day living experiences that landlords and property managers provide to their tenants.
Properties continue to add valuable new features such as mobile building access, video intercom systems, smart thermostats, improved gyms and clubhouses, which are then sold as a bundle to the tenant in the form of amenity fees.
While it may sound like an unnecessary additional cost at the beginning, apartment buildings are able to drive significant value to the living experience by pooling the resources across hundreds of units and reducing the cost of using these services.
Why Amenity Fees Are Worth It
- Renting an apartment with an in-unit washer dryer may cost $200-$400 in additional rent, but you could instead use a paid common area laundry for a few dollars a month
- Getting a work package or important delivery stolen may costs hundreds of dollars, whereas modern video intercom is a low-cost solution in the form of an amenity
- Modern gyms and fitness centers can offer on-demand booking for peloton bikes. Typically these cost upwards of $2000 to own. This amenity allows access to fitness equipment on demand.
- Mobile app access to the building can offer remote access to dog walkers, nannies, visiting family members easily without having to be at home by the intercom buzzer.
- Modern apartment maintenance assistant apps provide ways to get instant access to services on demand which speeds up maintenance requests
How Property Managers Can Add Amenity Fees
Property managers and owners are driving higher NOI through value-add upgrades to the property. Adding modern amenities and charging an amenity fee is a win-win for property managers and residents.
You can drive higher NOI through higher occupancy and closing more leases faster by providing the amenities that tenants want.
According to survey results from the National Multifamily Housing Council, some of the most desired amenities by tenants include:
- Higher common area security through video intercoms and remote access
- Dog wash stations and dog parks – almost 50% of renters own a dog now
- Valet trash service
- Car sharing and bike sharing programs
- On-site massage therapists
- Grocery delivery to their apartment
- Package Lockers
- Smart thermostats
- Rooftop terrace
- Swimming pool
- Gated access to the building
How to Add An Amenity Fee to Your Property to Drive Higher NOI
If you are a building owner or operator, looking to drive value to residents and increase NOI and revenue for the building, amenity fees are a guaranteed solution.
Download the Swiftlane amenity fee addendum above and include it as part of the lease agreement. This is a straightforward contract addition that can capture charges that relate to conveniences and amenities provided by the building to the residents. Typically, you will add that during the lease renewal as well as new lease signups.
How Multifamily Building Owners Can Choose the Right Amenity For Their Property
It’s important to understand your resident demographics to design the right amenity package for your building.
- Building in cities and areas with prevalent crime related concerns would benefit strongly from improved common area security systems like key fob and mobile access, as well as video intercom systems
- Gen-Z and Millennials highly desire modern, technology-based amenities like mobile app access and are willing to pay for it. In addition to increased revenue streams, you’re also more likely to convert leases and rent to those demographics.
- Empty nesters and older residents might pay more for things that simplify their manual work, such as grocery delivery straight to their apartment and valet trash pickup.
- Busy parent may prefer to have remote access to their doors to let their nanny and other services into the house remotely.
- Remote work renters might benefit from common area amenities like managed wifi.
- Student housing may benefit from mobile app based amenities such as mobile access, on-demand meal kits and healthy food delivery options
Frequently Asked Questions About Amenity Fees
Do Apartments Charge for Amenities?
Yes, most apartment buildings typically charge separately for amenity fees. However, it’s often consolidated and paid as part of the monthly rent payment, as an additional line item to the rent and ancillary charges. Some apartment buildings may not break it down as a separate line item and just bake it into the rent.
What are Technology Fees in Apartments?
Technology fees are additional fees, just like amenity fees, as a separate line item in the total rent payment. It’s added for technology specific additions such as:
- Video intercom systems
- Mobile app access
- Remote door unlock
- Smart thermostats
What is an Amenity Package?
An amenity package is a bundle of services and features in an apartment building. They typically encompass both in-unit and common area features and experiences. An amenity package covers a bundle of all those features, and allow residents to avail conveniences provided by the building. Typically, there would be a fixed monthly fee as part of the amenity package, and then specific on demand fees for using specific services.
Do You Have to Pay the Amenity Fee?
Typically, any bundled amenity packages have some base format of amenities that are required to be purchased in order to rent a building. E.g. you cannot not pay for key fob access to the building or package delivery, since those services are already baked into the building experience. However, any on demand services might be completely optional – e.g. charges related to fitness classes, workout equipment etc may be optional based on usage.