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Multifamily News: Turning Under-utilized Spaces into Profits!

Investors and property managers at multifamily complexes face an unending problem: how can you attract high-quality tenants, keep current tenants, and ensure your renters are satisfied with the amenities you offer?

One way to increase your property’s value and appeal is to re-purpose vacant or unused areas in the complex. Common underutilized spaces include:

  • Outdoor grassy areas with no designated purpose.

  • Run-down pavilions or outdoor dining areas.

  • Unused offices on the property.

  • Underutilized storage space.

  • Un-rented living units.

  • Excess parking areas.

Making the most of these vacant spaces can serve you and your tenants well. Re-purposing underutilized areas can create a steady profit stream for you as the owner. New amenities will also make your complex more attractive to renters and encourage current tenants to renew leases.

Consider the unused space as a blank canvas, full of possibilities to improve your property. Below, we’ve listed some common improvements that are popular with both landlords and tenants.

Re-purposing Outdoor Areas

Consider revamping unused grassy areas. These outdoor projects may not lead to added profit immediately, but they will increase your tenant retention rates and attract new renters, leading to more revenue over time.

Fenced-In Dog Park

Today’s renters are seeking dog-friendly housing. About 40% of Americans own a dog, so tenants appreciate complexes that cater to four-legged friends.

If your complex has unused green space, consider installing a fence, a picnic table, a water source, a doggie waste station and maybe a few obstacles to give your tenants’ pooches some added exercise. If your four legged residents are pooped out after a play date at the dog park, they are less likely to bark or create havoc while their person is at the office! Dog parks are increasingly popular, especially among apartment-dwellers. Providing a local spot for puppies to play will make both man and beast happier.


Dogs aren’t the only ones who need to run and play in an apartment complex. Installing a playground in an otherwise unused grass area will help attract new families and keep current tenants happy. Even some simple additions like swings or a small play-set with a slide can make a big difference.

Outdoor Dining, Grilling, and Seating Areas

During the warm summer months, renters love to gather with friends, cook outside, and enjoy the sunshine. However, apartment living isn’t exactly conducive to large family barbecues. By installing a pavilion area with a grill, a serving area, and seating, you’ll make your property more attractive to potential and current renters.

Community Gardens

Organic food and garden-to-table dining are popular trends. Offering a community garden space allows tenants to enjoy fresh, inexpensive produce anytime. Gardening will provide stress relief for your tenants, too. It’s a great way to get everyone involved and keep your tenants a little healthier.

Outdoor Recreation Areas

Transform unused parking lots into basketball courts, tennis courts, or other recreation areas. Giving tenants an outlet for physical activity will make your property more appealing to today’s active renter.

Utilize Vacant Indoor Spaces

Unused office spaces, storage units, and open areas are profit-makers in waiting. Whether the renovation creates for-rent storage space, secure bicycle spaces or community areas that increase the overall quality of life for your tenants, re-purposing indoor spaces will generate sustainable income.

Recreation Rooms and Meeting Spaces

Turn that unused foyer or office into a community room. Tenants will love a shared space where they can hang out and watch the big game on a huge television, invite friends over for a party, play a game of billiards on the pool table, or meet with business partners and connect to the room’s free WiFi.

Create a common area that meets everyone’s needs. Have a small cooking area, perhaps, or a coffee bar. Make it a space that feels luxurious and welcoming.

Rec rooms aren’t just a draw for new tenants. Existing renters will feel more at home with a bonus area where they can relax with friends, both old and new. And that means more renewed leases and fewer expenses for you as the landlord.

Storage Areas for Tenants

Apartment living doesn’t leave much room for extra “stuff.” Renters need storage space. They’d much prefer to store their stuff in their own building rather than trekking a few miles down the road to a self-storage. Turning an unused office, storage closet, or other vacant areas into for-rent storage is a great way to pull in some extra income while also providing a vital service to your renters.

Create several storage lockers of varying sizes and costs. Renters can utilize these storage units for an additional monthly fee, giving you a fast return on your investment.

Secure Mail Delivery

In this age of porch pirates, tenants want to make sure their mail arrives safely. Turn your underutilized spaces into a parcel pickup area. You can team up with a third-party company like Parcel Pending to install secure lockers that keep renters’ mail and packages safe.

Fitness Centers

Un-rented apartments, underutilized offices, and basement storage areas can easily be transformed into fitness centers. Tenants will love having easy access to exercise equipment, giving you an edge over other complexes in your area.

Some complexes include access to fitness amenities in the renter’s monthly fee. Others charge an additional fee if tenants choose to use the facility. Either way, you’ll increase your profit overall.


However you choose to re-purpose underutilized spaces at your property, it’s crucial to comply with all state and local occupancy and safety laws. Your building plans should take into account ADA accessibility requirements, egress laws, and other safety considerations as necessary.

You might also check with other complexes in your area to see which amenities they offer and how much renters pay for additional features. As a landlord, your primary concern should be whether your improvements will pay for themselves over time.

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