Wednesday 22 June 2022
There is a lot of tension in Australia as the debate heats up around the validity of rent price increases. This has resulted in increased pressure on landlords and tenants, which can create a hostile environment.
Fielding the concerns of both landlords and tenants can be challenging, it can help to understand that this is a big picture situation. To help put things into perspective let’s take a look at the median weekly rental prices in Australian capitals and compare this to prices in other cities around the world.
Compared to other cities around the world, Australian properties are no more expensive. Taking into account tenant benefits like location, market growth and the reopening of domestic and international borders, it’s impossible to demand that things stay stagnant, and annual rent increases have always been part of the picture.
Two-bedroom apartment prices, per week, around the world:
Washington DC $790
It’s clear that Australian rental prices are not so bad compared to other parts of the world. A weekly rental price of $500 can get you a house in many capital cities in Australia, but only a one or two-bedroom property in the outskirts of most capital cities around the world.
Even still, Australian property managers are feeling the burn of having to deal with frustrated tenants and landlords who are hard-pressed to keep up with the increased cost of living.
There’s no question that disruptions are continuing to affect the real estate industry as well as building, transport and food industries, not just in Australia but around the world as well.
The key is addressing the challenges as they come and ensuring that property managers are prepared for the changes through engaging efficient processes that can handle the extra workload and ease tenant and landlord fears.
The challenge Australian tenants are facing is a rapid and sudden shift in desired locations. There has been a mass exit from capital cities and a flood of entries into regional Australia. The problem here is that there is simply not the range or volume of available properties in the regional areas compared to cities, putting tremendous pressure on limited resources.
The added problem too is that regional prices are significantly cheaper than the cities, meaning that those moving are more than happy to pay a little more to secure a rental property ahead of the pack, pushing prices up much faster than they might naturally evolve and putting the pinch on locals who are not used to city-based prices.
The real factor contributing to unrest is the increased cost of living. Sky-high petrol prices, food prices, electricity, gas and the threat of increased interest rates have people worried about how they can cover their everyday living, especially since there has been no significant increase in wages. The picture is far larger than just rental prices, yet this seems to be where the blame is falling.
The increased costs of living is making it more challenging for tenants and landlords alike to make ends meet. It’s important for a property management company to keep the lines of communication open, strong and efficient to listen to the problems on both sides and reduce friction. Luckily there is a way to utilise technology to free up staff time to achieve this valuable task.
Each property management company will have different processes, depending on its size, the number of properties and property types they cover as well as its organisational structure and daily operations.
No matter what the differences are, all property management teams will be aiming to prioritise an amicable relationship between landlords and tenants.
We’re sharing three ways that property management teams can leverage technology to reduce admin tasks and have more time and energy to focus on settling disputes and stressors felt by tenants and landlords alike.
Utilise proptech to increase efficiency and improve the tenant experience
Proptech (or property technology) is a software solution specifically developed to assist property management teams with their daily tasks by reducing their workloads and eliminating the need to double (and triple handle) data entry across multiple platforms. These advancements also include answering tedious frequently asked questions from tenants.
Proptech solutions can support property managers through:
Increasing tenant satisfaction - Property managers are often inundated with calls and emails from tenants with common questions and maintenance issues. Proptech can resolve these concerns and answer questions quickly and efficiently - even outside office hours - with intelligent communication programs and maintenance logs.
Improving tenant interactions - The smart technology can collect relevant information and analyse the interests and needs of tenants, allowing you to improve tenant interactions and boost community engagement.
Implement a digital self-service experience for both landlords and tenants
The digital self-service experience is a program that serves as a virtual property management office, allowing tenants to obtain information without having to wait for a property manager to take their call. AI-powered chatbots can answer calls or emails that come in after business hours.
A fully functional digital self-service can also address tenant-initiated inquiries such as rent due dates and maintenance issues with careful screening available to ensure sensitive information is only shared with actual tenants registered to the database.
Using a digital self-service will also allow property managers to analyse relevant data in real-time, enabling them to identify areas for improvement and enhance the tenant experience.
Develop a clear tenant management process
Given that the rental markets are currently still in the landlord’s favour, it’s important to develop a clear tenant management process, especially if the cost of living continues to increase.
Here are four tips to help improve your tenant management system using technology:
Optimise your tenant screening process
Implement an online rent payment software
Develop a user-friendly portal where tenants can store relevant documents
Create templates of lease agreements (i.e. for short-term and long-term contracts)
In order to adapt to the constant disruptions within the current industry, your tenant management system needs to balance proptech solutions with human expertise that only property managers can provide. Rather than replace the human element, proptech aims to take mundane, tedious and time-draining tasks off property managers' shoulders so they can focus on personalising and humanising their services.
Our AI-powered chatbot can troubleshoot common tenant concerns and resolve them long before a property manager arrives in the office to start work for the day. They serve as a personal assistant designed to support your tenants and stakeholders.
The uncertainty of rental prices and the impact of increased living costs can cause feelings of anxiety and uncertainty for landlords and tenants. It’s important for property management companies to optimise their internal processes and keep their communication channels open in order to be able to effectively respond and calm the situation.
Property managers can maintain an amicable relationship between tenants and landlords by utilising the right proptech solutions to ease the admin burden and focus on what matters most.
If your property management team is spending more time putting out fires than achieving their tasks, it’s time to have a chat with Rental Heroes about the solutions we can implement to improve the property management experience for all everyone involved.