I have had a few encounters recently with Gen Z renters. Pleasant? Not so much. Why?
After listening to a recent podcast about the Gen Z generation I have a better understanding of what the next few years of renters will feel like. Let’s start with Gen Z means those born after 1996.
The Gen Z generation is the first post 9/11 world. Meaning they didn’t grow up having experienced 9/11, only reading about it in a textbook. Their core years were during the 2008 recession. They likely saw their parent’s vulnerability at a pivotal age. Many experienced their families net worth cut in half or at least the threat of it. Even questioning where the next meal might come from.
They also have never lived in a world without tech. Information easily accessible and never having to wait on dial up. If you know you know. But what did that teach us millennials and older- Appreciation maybe? Patience- haha probably.
Gen Z’s are realists and financially focused in most cases. But they are also competitive, anxious, stressed, subject to immense social pressure. #FOMO. They are acutely aware of their mental health but can’t slow down.
With the easy access to info and opportunity, they are quick to react or make decisions. Many can find Gen Z’s disconnected and harder to build relationships with. Probably why most of our Gen Z renters have never even met or talked on the phone with us. They have fewer coping mechanisms, so they will likely not handle a leak or emergency well.
Boomers for the most part raised Gen X. And Gen X raised Gen Z. So you know who to blame. Just kidding.
So Gen Z renters:
- Just as entitled if not more than Millennials- many are living in Mom and Dads rental property at a reduced rate, if not free.
- Will have a desire to complain more before trying to solve an issue. Think Yelp and social media. Cancel Culture etc. They weren’t given coping or problem-solving skills.
- Lack basic understanding of household maintenance. Many don’t even know how to flip the breaker. Even with google at their fingertips.
- They will totally understand tech- applying online and their resident portal. But getting a cashiers check might stump them. Wait, I cant venmo?
- They are more financially savvy and probably investing way more than their parents or grandparents.
- Are going to appreciate tech upgrades in a home.
- Will rent much longer than previous generations.
- Most only want to live with one roommate or alone. Smart!
The Gen Z renters don’t bring any additional challenges than Millennials, just different. Property Managers are used to dealing with all generations daily. From Boomers to Gen Z, we must shift our way of thinking and communicating to get the best results. This is a relationship business after all. But hey, Gen X parents- if your kid doesn’t have common sense to read the lease or know where the breaker is maybe you do some remedial training. Thanks, from all of us in society currently getting attitude from your kid. And to those who showed your Gen Z kiddo the power of communication over Yelping- kudos to you!