The outbreak of COVID-19 has transformed our day-to-day lives. Social distancing and lockdown measures have confined many people and their businesses to their homes. It has also had a major impact on the rental property market.
It is still uncertain how long these social distancing measures will remain in place and how long companies will have to work from home. Even after the lockdown is lifted, the effects of the outbreak are likely to continue to be felt for some time after.
As companies attempt to move forward in these unprecedented circumstances, the way property management is conducted has changed and a new normal for property managers has emerged. Tenancy journeys now need to be managed end to end remotely.
While many companies have been quick to adapt, many are getting left behind.
We take a look at how tech solutions, like Arthur’s cloud-based software, help property managers manage each step of the tenancy journey from beginning to end remotely, and what impact the new normal will have on property management post-outbreak.
With social distancing and lockdown measures in place, the number of property viewings has reduced greatly. To combat this, agencies are conducting virtual viewings. Nearly 8% of listings on Zoopla now include a virtual tour. Some agents are pre-recording video tours of the property while others are using 3D cameras so house hunters can take a self-guided tour.
Many agencies were already considering introducing virtual viewings prior to the lockdown in order to fit around people’s increasingly busy schedules. The coronavirus outbreak has simply sped up the development and release of this service out of necessity, so it is likely that video viewings will remain part of the norm after the lockdown has been lifted.
Arthur tracks tenancy journeys from the prospective/applicant stage right through till the end of the tenancies. You can therefore easily arrange video viewings with prospective tenants through the Arthur platform.
Choosing the right tenant is an extremely important part of the tenant journey. If the wrong tenant for your property is chosen it can lead to costly repairs and time-consuming evictions. Despite not being able to meet prospective tenants in person, you are still able to carry out thorough tenant reference checks remotely.
Through its integration with Advanced Tenant Referencing, Arthur lets you carry out comprehensive applicant reference checks with just a few clicks. You can even the track progress, so you can see where the process is being held up and act accordingly.
Getting Contracts Signed
Once the right tenant has been found, contracts need to be signed. Printing and signing tenancy contracts can be costly and time-consuming. Rather than emailing or posting contracts to each signatory, there are solutions that allow you to send and get contracts signed digitally (and safely!).
Arthur’s integration with Signable means your documents can be signed quickly and easily online. Signable stores all documents in one convenient place which can be accessed via web links. You can also track progress and send reminders where necessary.
Even after the lockdown has ended, using electronic signatures is still an easy and efficient to get a contract signed and legally binding for a fraction of the cost.
Effectively communicating with tenants is key to running a successful rental business at the best of times, but during these uncertain times, it is even more important. Keeping tenants up-to-date about upcoming rents and other related outgoings gives them time to plan, so there’ll be no surprises for all parties.
Property management software can automate reminders and processes making communication simple and efficient. Arthur’s comprehensive tenancy statement allows you to stay on top of rents with automated reminders. It also lets tenants see historic transactions and other charges they may have incurred.
Arthur is the only cloud-based management platform to have a suite of bespoke apps for each stakeholder type. By managing all stakeholders on one platform, communicating digitally between all parties is simple and efficient.
Automated reminders and open communication for all parties cut down response times and increases tenant satisfaction and retention.
Accessing Documents and Data
One of the main challenges of not working in the office for many property managers is that it makes it harder to access and share documents and data with your team. This can mean that response times to tenant requests are slow and processes are inefficient.
As a cloud-based platform, Arthur allows you and your team to access the key data and documents needed from anywhere at any time and on any device.
Being able to access vital files and information from anywhere offers you more flexibility which consequently allows you to adapt to change more easily. Moving to cloud-based software is also an appealing change post-outbreak as more employees ask for increased flexible working patterns.
Remote Management Post-Outbreak
As seen above, property management software allows the tenancy journey to be managed remotely, but does that mean that remote working will continue to be the new normal after lockdown has ended?
The outbreak has forced property managers to bring forward the introduction of these new measures and made the need for them more apparent.
As many of these changes were going to be incorporated at some point, they are likely to remain part of standard property management after things settle down and become part of the new normal. This makes remote property management a viable option for many companies post-outbreak.
However, even if your company decides to move all operations back to the office, these tech solutions are still extremely beneficial for managing your property portfolio and helping you navigate the new normal.