Saturday, 25 April 2015

Tenant Portals

Some property companies believe they can provide a better service through the use of on-line Tenant Portals.

One company advertises itself as “using cutting-edge software to provide tenants with 24-hour access to information about their property.” Residents are assigned a username and password to provide them with access to facilities.

Some typical features of Tenant Portals include:
  • Tenants can access their accounts and see both payment history and the detail of all charges
  • On-line payments can be made via internet banking or a credit card
  • Tenants can also make maintenance requests, and see the current status of previous requests
  • Access can be provided to a variety of documents, such as lease agreements, floor plans or notices relating to the property
  • Warnings can be sent regarding visits or e.g. “the hallway will be painted next week”
  • Often there is an easy way to communicate with management staff.
However I believe the true benefit of Tenant Portals to the property manager is to reduce the need to interact directly with the tenant.

In the residential world, most tenants are out during the day, then come home in the evening and that is when they think about maintenance, or their rent account. It is not so bad with commercial tenants, who tend to be in their premises during the day.

Nevertheless, the benefit to organisations of not having to handle lots of phone calls from tenants is invaluable. Tenant portals have become more common with Housing Associations and Student Letting Operators, but the benefits can apply to all types of tenant. Block management is an obvious area similar to these, but any company where the ratio of tenants to management staff exceeds say 50 to 1 could well benefit from tenant portals.

I have sat in many property company offices and listened to phone calls eating into staff time, where the answers could have been provided automatically, or at a time more suited to the pressures affecting us all nowadays. Even e-mails add to the strains staff are under.

In my opinion the more general automated approach now possible will be the way ahead. If it means your staff can balance their day better, then in the long run you will give a better service and be able to staff for the general workload rather than the peaks.

Call me today if you want to discuss this.

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