Chicago-based Daniel Management Group oversees a range of property types, from urban to suburban and large communities to smaller buildings.

The firm, which manages apartments throughout Chicago and Wisconsin, is seeing a rising desire among tenants for more space, making townhomes and single-family rentals soar in popularity.

Communities with private garages and entrances are getting a lot of interest as renters seek privacy along with the maintenance-free lifestyle of apartments, according to DMG president and founder Roger Daniel. As the spring leasing season approaches, Daniel expects residents to be drawn to properties that can deliver on these trends.

Our staff is engaged with residents and potential residents to have a thorough understanding of trends, desired amenities and market demands,” he said.

Here, Daniel talks with Multifamily Dive about other trends in his markets, the rise of artificial intelligence and challenges for the new year.

This interview has been edited for brevity and clarity.

MULTIFAMILY DIVE: What are you seeing in terms of trends in your markets? What do renters want this year?

ROGER DANIEL: Throughout our portfolio, we are seeing several key trends. First off, there is increasing rental demand in the suburbs. We are seeing this demand driven by either residents who are downsizing or young families and couples leaving the city.

These renters are searching for suburban-specific amenities including green space and more outdoor areas with grills and fire pits.

Also, we are seeing demand for spacious units with private entrances and garages that allow renters to feel like they have a single-family home, but with all the benefits of maintenance-free apartment living.

Other trends we’re experiencing are a growing demand for package delivery, storage and the ability for tenants to enter their apartments through an app on their phone or a key fob.

What types of technology do you rely on to provide your management services?

Technology has become integral for property management for efficiency for us and ease of use for our residents. DMG residents depend on an online portal for all their rental needs, including payment, work orders and any communication to property management.

Additionally, we are integrating virtual tours into the leasing process. The digital walkthroughs allow potential residents to get a sense and view of the property and unit quickly and efficiently.

Lastly, on the management side, we leverage artificial intelligence technology to detect and combat fraud and manage residents’ renter insurance. This allows us to focus our time on engaging and serving the residents.

What are some ways you plan to use AI?

DMG is looking to integrate AI into its leasing process. For example, AI could be the initial contact for leasing prospects.  We are currently using AI to help screen potential residents to ensure they are not applying fraudulently. We look forward to continuing to find ways to use AI this year.

Is electric car charging important for your properties?

EV chargers are becoming a staple for all new properties we manage. As electric cars are increasing in popularity, we recommend that properties offer the charging if the ROI is there.

What are some of the biggest challenges you face in this new year?

As we enter the new year, there are new challenges. AI is an universal disrupter and that is also the case in multifamily property management. We are focused on looking for ways we can integrate AI into our day-to-day operation to help DMG execute more efficiently and allow us to continue to deliver our unyielding attention to detail and a professional, service-minded management style.