Residential technology used to be a nice-to-have but, in 2023, it became a necessity as prospective multi-family tenants increasingly favored properties that embraced personalized automation. This demand led to savvy property managers investing in the latest smart property technology as part of a strategy to attract and retain quality tenants for the long-term.
As we head into 2024, the resident experience continues to be the main focus for multi-family developments. The adoption of AI will continue to grow, benefiting tenants with quicker maintenance response times and hyper-personalized service, while the move toward smart communities will unify technology, creating a deeper connection between buildings and the residents themselves.
The development and adoption of artificial intelligence (AI) will continue to gather momentum in the multifamily industry in 2024. There is a mixture of concern and excitement around the development of AI and the question of where it lands for property managers and operators is a popular talking point in multifamily circles.
AI is already being used by residents to help them connect with their homes. Smart thermostats optimize tenant’s energy use, automatically turning down when an area is unoccupied, and for prospective tenants, virtual tours that use AI algorithms provide a more personalized experience based on user preferences, showing them amenities that match their criteria.
For property managers using AI, marketing can be even more customer-centric for better results while the ability to automate routine tasks including maintenance requests and rent collection, has freed up their time to work on more meaningful business tasks.
In 2024, we anticipate that AI will be used for self-serve maintenance in multifamily properties by diagnosing simple problems and offering guidance to residents so they can rectify the problem themselves, preventing unnecessary callouts. This will save maintenance teams time and money while improving their response times and job satisfaction, as they will only attend jobs that require their expertise.
Generative AI will also be used to boost resident engagement, personalizing communications and will be able to automate the entire multifamily leasing cycle. This will also include post-lease communications, where AI systems will look for red flags concerning resident satisfaction to combat negative reviews.
Strategies for EV Charging
Electrical vehicle strategies become increasingly important as we move into 2024 as states begin mandating a shift to greener transport. Multifamily managers and operators will need to consider the infrastructure required to facilitate this shift and the potential opportunities this movement could provide.
Generally speaking, existing multifamily assets haven’t been built with the infrastructure to accommodate a charging station. For those buildings that do have the space, opportunities are opened up for property managers who can now rent out spaces to residents for an additional monthly fee. There could also be an opportunity for residents to make money by renting out their charging point when they are at work to other electric vehicle owners in the community.
Smart property technology will continue to grow throughout 2024 but the focus will move away from “in unit” tech, and will instead graduate toward smart communities, looking at connecting buildings as a whole.
To date, technology has been very disparate and divided between “in unit” technology — which covers access control, intercom, and self-guided tours — and external tech that includes solutions such as perimeter and video security. This shift in focus is an opportunity to defragment technology points that owners and operators are currently trying to navigate, bringing together smart amenities, building automation solutions and property management into one, unified system.
Another area of development within multifamily smart communities could be the introduction of demand response (DR) to manage energy use. Utility companies use DR to dial down occupants’ thermostats and save the grid from being overtaxed within owner-occupied or single-family homes. However, there is a big opportunity in multifamily for DR and smart property technology to coexist.
While technology can create distance and fragmentation, in 2024 there will be more of a focus on using technology to unite and unify individual residents within a multifamily building, offering a more human side to tech. Throughout 2024, a holistic approach to smart property tech in the multifamily sector will emerge connecting whole buildings and the people who live in them.