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How Can Automation Actually Increase Resident Satisfaction?

Falon Hernandez

Property managers and landlords have a lot on their plate, and as a result, tenant satisfaction often suffers. However, property management companies today are all too aware that to remain competitive, they must listen and respond to tenant requests and concerns promptly. Unfortunately, this is often easier said than done.

Communication channels between property managers and tenants are often clunky and complex, leading to slow responses and plenty of frustration for the 34% of US households who rent. Put simply, if property managers want to retain their renters and attract the best potential tenants, something needs to change. Luckily, automation is providing massive innovation in this space, strengthening the relationship between property managers and tenants. But how?

Compelling automation technology like robotic process automation (RPA), Optical character recognition (OCR), and smart bots are driving tenant satisfaction upwards and making slow response times for repairs, lease renewals, and deposit returns more a thing of the past. 

Why Tenant Satisfaction Is So Important

Here's the bottom line. Satisfied tenants are profitable tenants - they're good for business. Satisfied tenants pay their rent on time, and are less likely to move out. And when they do move, they are more inclined to leave their property in a decent condition, allowing for quicker relets. 

Essentially, research shows a solid connection between how satisfied a tenant is and how they talk about their landlord, how loyal they are, and their price sensitivity. And for property management companies, all of these factors can hugely impact financial success. 

  • How tenants talk about their property management company/landlord: Getting a reputation for being a lousy landlord can mean you struggle to attract reliable and respectful tenants. A property provides housing (a physical need), but it's also a home for those living there. People want to feel assured that their home is a stress-free environment, and unresponsive or slow landlords are not stress-free. 
  • Tenant loyalty: High loyalty means less tenant turnover and, ultimately, increased income and reduced expenses. 
  • Price sensitivity: Price sensitivity is the degree to which the price of a product (in this case, a rental property) affects purchasing behavior. Unsatisfied tenants are far more likely to contest rent increases than satisfied tenants. 

Automation Use Cases for Tenant Satisfaction

Okay, so now we know why tenant satisfaction is so crucial, but how do we boost it in the most cost-effective and least labor-intensive way? With RPA and related technologies like OCR and smart bots. With this in mind, let's dive into the hottest RPA tools available today to boost tenant satisfaction. 

New Tenant Setup

Setting up new tenants in your property management systems is a vital activity, but it's also time-consuming and error-prone. New applicants must submit various documents, including income statements, employment history, credit reports, photo ID, rental history information, reference letters, and more. 

The property management company has more documents yet to contend with for their part of the relationship. These include documents like tenant screening documents, the lease or rental agreement, the pet policy agreement, the move-in checklist, lease renewal paperwork, and more. 

Ensuring all of this paperwork is in the right place can be a manually intensive process, and this is where automation comes in. With the New Tenant Setup bot, you can set up the new tenant file in the property management system once they sign the lease. This bot can set up the new tenant information in any cloud-based property management system like Yardi, MRI Software, AppFolio, Buildium, On-Site, and more. Here's what the New Tenant Setup bot can do:

  1. Log in to Property Management Software.
  2. Get all applicant documents either from Applicant software or a predefined location.
  3. Add Tenant to Resident/Tenant module.
  4. Set up recurring invoices.
  5. Set up all logins and access.
  6. Add all documents to the Tenant record.
  7. Update New Tenant Checklist.

Move-In and Move-Out

The move-in and the move-out process is one of the most time-sensitive aspects of property management. Naturally, tenants want to settle into their new homes as quickly as possible, and property management companies want to start collecting rent as soon as possible. Similarly, a speedy move-out process means only a short time without rental income.

There are three key RPA automation bots you need to know about here.  

Move-In Checklist Bot

This bot prepares a Move-In Checklist and all the necessary paperwork and forms for the Property Manager. Here are the vital steps this RPA bot executes:

  1. Get the Move-In Checklist template from a predefined location.
  2. Get Tenant and lease information from a predefined location.
  3. Prepare all forms and checklist items with Tenant and lease data.
  4. Email Property Manager Move-In Checklist packet.
  5. Update exceptions and results log.

Move-Out Checklist

This bot prepares a Move-Out Checklist and all the necessary paperwork and forms for the Property Manager. Here are the steps this RPA bot executes:

  1. Get the Move-Out Checklist template from a predefined location.
  2. Get Tenant and lease information from a predefined location.
  3. Prepare all forms and checklist items with Tenant and lease data.
  4. Email Property Manager Move-Out Checklist packet.
  5. Update exceptions and results log.

Move-Out Send Deposit Bot

This bot reviews the Tenant Ledger and prepares check requests and AP vouchers for deposit refunds. Here’s how it works:

  1. Navigate to Reports and select criteria for "Move Out Report."
  2. For each line, review the Tenant Ledger for any balance owed.
  3. Calculate Security Deposit less the balance owed.
  4. Prepare a Check Request and enter AP Voucher for funds owed to the Tenant.
  5. For funds owed from Tenant, prepare and send the Final Invoice. Update exceptions and results log.

Lease and Insurance Renewals

When lease expiration and insurance renewals fall through the cracks, lots of hassle ensues, including lengthy phone tag conversations between property managers and tenants. By automating the renewal process, you can save precious time and money from this often convoluted process. To see how, let's take a look at the Tenant Insurance Expiration Management bot. 

This bot notifies tenants who have not submitted proof of insurance renewal each week and adds an insurance assessment to the bill. This helps property managers keep up to date with insurance renewals without the labor-intensive manual effort. Here's what the RPA bot does:

  1. Log in to Property Management Software.
  2. Pull Tenant Insurance Expiration Report.
  3. For each Tenant, email notification of expired insurance.
  4. Add assessment amount to Tenant invoice.
  5. Update exceptions and results log.

Wrapping Up

Automation is playing a crucial role in transforming the real estate sector, improving experiences for both tenants and property management companies. With RPA innovation, property management companies can achieve higher tenant satisfaction and reduce tenant turnover.

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