Home design and decor | { 8 MIN READ | 2019-06-13

One of the best things about renting an apartment? The amenities, of course! Not having to mow the lawn (or shovel snow) is pretty great, but having access to extra features that you’d otherwise have to pay a premium for, is all kinds of amazing.

We’re not talking about standard laundry rooms or parking either. We’re referring to the things that make your apartment something you look forward to coming home to every day – like a beautiful view, swimming pool or communal BBQ area. Things that go above and beyond the basics to make life just that much better. And although not all buildings are created equal, there are lots of different options to look for when you're searching for a new place to live.

1. Pet friendly features

rooftop at King West with dog run amenities on it

Image: Dog run rooftop (under construction) at 39 Niagara in Toronto – now pre-leasing for September 2019

Pet friendly buildings can be tricky to find, let alone ones that offer features and amenities specifically designed for our furry friends. Minto Apartments is not only 100% pet friendly, they also make sure your pet is totally taken care of so they enjoy and experience your living spaces as much as you do.

At Toronto’s 39 Niagara apartments in King West for instance, there’s a dog run on the rooftop! The views of the skyline alone are absolutely stunning (pictured above), and you can play for hours while taking it all in. In Ottawa, the Navaho property (with apartmentsterracestownhomes and garden homes) has an off leash dog park onsite so you can relax and get to know your neighbours while your dog gets to know his. Win, win!

2. A pool (or even better, a rooftop pool)

pool outside with grey picnic tables and flowers

Image: Outdoor pool at Navaho Apartments in Ottawa

Having a pool (whether indoors or out) as an apartment amenity is one of those enviable perks that makes those without want to stop by a little more often. Whether for relaxation, socializing or a workout, pools are common spaces that can be shared and enjoyed by all.

Outdoor pools are perfect for hot summer days – the views and sunshine are so welcome after a long winter, and a cool dip is an ideal alternative to blasting air conditioning inside. During the not-so-warm months, indoor pools make a ton of sense, too. They’re a great way to stay fit, keep kids busy and keep that summer feeling going all year long. We say pools are an amenity definitely worth seeking out!

Side note – saunas and steam rooms are an added bonus!

3. Common areas for hangouts

party room in an apartment with a big sectional sofa and kitchen

Image: Party and media room at Minto Yorkville apartments in Toronto

“Common areas” may seem like a general term, but whether a lobby or party room, it’s nice to have a place to go to host guests, read a book or catch up with neighbours. Life is busy and when time or space doesn’t permit us to entertain in our own places, having gathering rooms to host groups is a big deal.

Hangout areas are anything from communal living spaces to a rooftop or patio with outdoor furniture (BBQs and firepits are a plus!), party and media rooms, gardens, picnic areas, playgrounds – you name it. Some rental buildings with beautifully designed and decorated lobbies (like the award-winning lobby at High Park Village apartments in Toronto) truly encourage residents to relax, catch up, and hang out. Be sure to get a full tour when you’re exploring new apartment options so that you can see what and where the common areas are.

4. Storage for all the things (including your bike)

red and blue storage lockers

Image Credit: Bradyl Storage Solutions

With growing populations and shrinking square footage in apartments these days, one thing you’ll want to ask about is storage. Many rentals have storage units or lockers available for an additional fee, which are great for seasonal items like bikes and skis or other things you don’t need often (but don’t want to give away). We consider this an important amenity to consider before renting a space (if you have more stuff than square feet, that is).

5. An onsite gym

gym in an apartment building with weight machines

Image: Fitness centre at Minto Yorkville apartments in Toronto

A gym or fitness centre in an apartment building is definitely an amenity worth looking for. Even basic equipment in the simplest of gym spaces in rentals can save you money on a gym membership and keep you on track to meet your fitness goals. The best part is, if you’re super busy and on-the-go a lot of the time, a fitness facility in your apartment building means you can work out on a whim since travel time to and from the gym is basically zero. You can pop in for a quick workout when the mood strikes you and then you’re back at home within minutes. No excuses!

Ideally, you want your apartment amenities to add value to your life. And having a fitness facility in or near where you live saves you time and money – no jacket or boots required!

6. Electric car chargers

silver car plugged into electric charger

Image Credit: Green Car Reports

With the growing need for reduced carbon footprints and waste, it’s important that landlords pay attention to sustainability and the importance of adopting green practices. One of the ways they can do that is to add electric car chargers to parking garages.

At Minto Yorkville and 39 Niagara apartments in Toronto as an example, Minto Apartments made sure that residents driving electric vehicles won’t be left out. Even if you personally don’t drive an electric car right now, you may one day. And seeing companies that are accommodating electric vehicles shows a commitment to the environment that anyone can get behind. 

7. Green, outdoor space

outdoor community garden with trees plants and flowers

Image: Community garden at Cherryhill Village apartments in London, Ontario

Similar to common areas where residents can bring guests or meet neighbours, outdoor spaces allow for social time, alone time, and just time spent daydreaming in the beautiful outdoors. Especially if you’re hoping to move to a city, finding an apartment with outdoor amenities makes it that much more appealing. That extra space outside of your suite allows you to enjoy a space that belongs to you and your neighbours as an extension of your home. 

Think of these outdoor spaces as a mini getaway place so you’re not confined to the indoors. It may also save you wandering about just to get fresh air – and spending money on things like fancy coffees, smoothies or things you just don’t need. With outdoor amenities, you can bring food and drinks to enjoy picnic-style (for free) – which is something that’s just plain fun!

Community gardens, green roofs, walking trails, outdoor games areas, playgrounds and BBQ areas are all things you can ask about when looking for an apartment rental with outdoor space. Even having a public park nearby to bring your dog to or to sit on a park bench and enjoy the sunshine is pretty great. So many possibilities!

8. A 24-hour concierge 

concierge bending down to pet a cute dog

Image: Concierge petting a resident’s dog at Minto Yorkville in Toronto

We have to admit, having a 24-hour concierge would be amazing (if we do say so ourselves!). Have an online order coming? No problem, the concierge can collect it and hold it for you. Ordered in dinner? Great, they’ll get that too and even bring it up to you. Have a pet? We bet they’ll know it by name and have cookies on hand. See what we mean? But above all the perks, it’s a fantastic safety feature that ensures no one enters the building without signing in. 

The best part is, when you’ve lived somewhere for a while and get to know the concierge well, it’s nice to have a friendly face greet you when you get home at the end of the day. If you’re lucky enough to enjoy this amenity, why not buy two coffees next time, and drop one off at the front desk? 

There are all kinds of amenities that apartment buildings can offer you (and that make life that much better), so find the one that fits best with your lifestyle and budget. We think amenities play a big part in what makes living the rental life so great. And in an increasingly online world, we see them as a chance to connect with your neighbours – and maybe even reconnect with yourself.