What does the new breed of young tenant want and how can home-owners keep them happy and coming back for more? Anusha Parthasarathy finds out

With so many young working professionals pouring into the city from across the country, is it always possible to find an apartment or a paid guest accommodation with everything you need? What can homeowners do to make their tenants feel welcome and what do youngsters really want when they look for a home away from home?

More space

Shiva Shankar, 26, works with a software firm in OMR and shares an apartment with a couple of friends in Kodambakkam.

“The place is fairly old and the rent is slightly cheaper because of this,” he says. But they do get to stay in the heart of the city. Shiva wants more space, as they are slightly cramped right now. “Since this apartment is old, there aren’t many facilities to speak of,” he adds.

Others are luckier. Abinaya Rao, 25, an assistant professor at a college in Nungambakkam, lives in Adyar. “It’s not exactly close to work but the area is safe and the house is clean,” she says.

Air-conditioned room

Abinaya’s paying guest accommodation comes with everything she needs. “We have an air-conditioned room, attached bathroom, washing machine, wi-fi, home-cooked breakfast and dinner.” What she misses is a kitchenette “since I like to cook,” she says.

Usha, who runs the paying guest facility in Adyar, talks of the facilities she provides at home. “I have a two- bedroom house with kitchen. The two bedrooms are spacious with attached bathrooms.

I live in one and rent out the other. They get a huge cupboard to keep their things in, and I give them breakfast and dinner, plus lunch on holidays. I cook what I eat for them as well, so the food is good and healthy. People often leave my place, look elsewhere, and come back because they can’t find any other place that’s as clean and that offers good food,” she points out.

Expectations

Usha says that youngsters looking for a place to rent come with high expectations. Typically, they look for food, privacy, washing machines, and air conditioning.

Architect and Interior Designer Meenakshi Karuppiah, who runs Elvz @ Work in Abhiramapuram, has a few tips for home-owners to spruce up their rented accommodation.

“It’s a temporary place where people are not looking to stay for too long. Comfortable seating like bean bags will help them feel more comfortable while open bookshelves can give them space for books.”

She advises home-owners to add a kitchenette in a paying guest room or furnish an existing kitchen with a few basic vessels, a microwave oven, toaster and fridge, so that the youngsters don’t have to invest in these household items.

Also, the bedrooms should ideally have twin beds for shared accommodation, and air conditioning. A TV and lockable storage for valuable items are other useful additions for tenants. “Paint the rooms in vibrant, bright colours,” says Meenakshi.

Sahil Gore, 25, entrepreneur, rents an apartment in R.A. Puram. “I work in Adyar, so it’s pretty close. There is parking space for a bike but if I had a car, I’d have to park on the road.

The apartment came with an AC and mini-fridge and I pay a little extra for that. I would love to get wi-fi,” he says.

Clearly, youngsters are looking for that extra edge in comfort, and home-owners can easily do up their extra room or second flat for the young tenant.

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Anusha ParthasarathyJune 28, 2012

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