Your guide to amenities

Along with functional features such as the number of bedrooms and square footage, apartment amenities can be a significant factor in renters’ decision making. Below, we’ve provided a general guide to apartment amenities and what they mean for renters. 

What is an apartment amenity? 

First, it’s important to establish what apartment amenities are. Amenities are any feature or service in an apartment that is considered nonessential. Anything that is not a functional necessity can be considered an amenity. For example, heating in the winter is not considered an amenity, but a fireplace can be. 

Amenities are usually added by landlords or property managers as a unique selling point for apartments. Since each apartment will have various amenities, it’s important to check for them in your lease agreement and ask any questions you may have about your apartment’s amenities to the landlord or property manager. 

In-unit amenities vs. community amenities 

Since we’ve already given a basic definition of amenities, now we’ll go over some common amenities and how they add to the renting experience. 

Before we delve in, it’s important to distinguish between in-unit amenities and community amenities. 

In-unit amenities or simply “unit amenities” are amenities that are located in your unit and can only be used by you (or guests of your home). Some examples of in-unit amenities include private patios or balconies, air conditioning, washers and dryers, luxury appliances, fireplaces, wood floors, and views. Another popular in-unit amenity are apartments that are fully furnished. 

Conversely, community amenities are usually open for use to all of the residents of an apartment complex. Community amenities can be further categorized into several groups: 

Recreational community amenities 

Recreational community amenities can include swimming pools, barbeque or outdoor cooking/dining areas, rooftop lounges, media rooms, common areas, clubhouses, community gardens, and more. As apartment complexes become increasingly family friendly, other popular additions include daycare centers and playgrounds. 

Parking and transportation related community amenities 

Parking and transportation amenities are also another major category of community amenity. 

Most apartment complexes come with at least one parking space per unit. Other parking and transportation amenities include private parking garages, electric vehicle charging stations, bicycle storage, and designated guest parking spaces. Some apartment complexes even have access to public transportation (such as special bus stops). 

High tech community amenities 

High-tech amenities are also an increasingly popular form of community amenity. More and more apartment complexes are starting to offer basic high tech features for their residents such built-in internet access, online rent payment systems and online maintenance forms and keyless locks. The race to add more tech features and outfit so-called smart apartments has also heated up in the last few years. In these complexes, high tech amenities such as delivery lockers, security systems, and all-in-one mobile applications for its residents are a given. 

Paying for amenities 

Generally, apartment amenities come with a fee. This fee is either included in your rent or as a separate charge. Sometimes, you can opt out of paying the amenity fee if you don’t plan to utilize the amenities in question. For example, if your apartment complex has a pool and gym fee and you aren’t planning to use either, you may be able to opt out of paying the fee. Conversely, you can also add the fees to your rent if you would like to use community amenities such as laundry facilities. Some apartments don’t offer residents the option to pick and choose, so it is crucial to check your lease agreement carefully and ask if paying amenity fees is a prerequisite for living at a certain property. 

Free amenities: Approach with caution 

Some amenities are “free” for all residents, although again, it’s important to note that these costs may be included in your rent. There are also cases where apartments will charge a one time amenity fee when you move in. It’s also important to distinguish between a one-time amenity fee and a monthly or annual amenity fee. 

Unusual and trending apartment amenities

Besides the aforementioned high tech amenities, there are a number of amenities that have been especially popular in recent years.

Work from home perks

As more and more renters work from home, landlords and property managers are catering to this emerging workforce. Some apartments have begun to offer dedicated coworking spaces and offices for remote workers who do not want to work in their units. Others have added units with a dedicated workspace or a small extra room for renters to use as a home office. Apartments with their own garden or private outdoor area have also become more popular since they offer renters a chance to work outdoors when the weather permits.

Online shopping made (even) easier

With online shopping on the rise, many apartments are ramping up package reception facilities. Rather than dealing with a crowded and disorganized package and mail rooms, landlords and property managers have begun offering innovative solutions to the influx of packages that flood their properties every week.

Some examples of these solutions include smart lockers and virtual concierge services for package reception. There are also hybridized solutions such as parcel lockers with computerized alerts.

Other complexes have stuck to the tried and true formula of the packaging office, but with smart upgrades like contactless pickups, the capacity to receive unconventional deliveries such as groceries and takeout, and even in-unit delivery services from facility staff. As the number of renters continues to increase, the number of packages apartments will have to deal with will also rise. As such, it’s worth paying special attention to how your apartment will handle packages.

Fur family friendly additions

Pet friendly apartments have been around for a while, but renters are demanding more for their fur families. Now, being pet-friendly is seen as the bare minimum.

Some of the most popular pet related amenities include community facilities such as dog parks, pet waste stations, and pet-washing stations. More luxurious amenities such as pet daycares, pet spas, and pet walking services are also gaining popularity. Other more unique pet related amenities include group pet insurance buy-ins, in-unit cat perches, and pet-play sessions for residents.

The importance of apartment amenities

As the rental market continues to expand, apartments are increasingly competing for renters’ attention by offering both top-of-the-line and tried and true apartment amenities. Just like common renters’ terms, it’s worth familiarizing yourself with amenities both common and uncommon, in-unit and communal. After all, amenities are among the many perks of apartment living, and the right amenities can make or break your renting experience. Whether you know exactly what you’re looking for or have a general idea of what you like, knowing more about amenities is just one of the ways to make your renting experience even better.