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Property technology (proptech) is witnessing a wave of innovation, and a surprising source is leading the charge. Landlords, who were traditionally hesitant adopters of technology, are now leveraging their investment and property management expertise to take on the role as drivers of change in the proptech space.
With the growing number of rental investors and the increasing demands of tenants, landlords are both embracing and contributing to new technologies that streamline their operations and provide a better experience for both themselves and their tenants.
Property management involves labor-intensive (and often repetitive) processes involving mountains of paperwork, manual tasks, clunky spreadsheets, and numerous communication channels.
However, with the advent of innovative property management solutions that are fit for portfolios of all sizes, these technologies have become democratized so that landlords (including those who are independent or have as little as one unit) now have easy access to tools that automate and simplify their daily tasks. In many cases, they have themselves to thank.
Some of the most innovative and successful software platforms have been built based on feedback and advice directly from landlords, who enjoy being part of the process of improving the technologies that they’re using to manage their businesses. They have asked for tools that help them efficiently handle various aspects of the rental process.
In response, savvy proptech providers have developed technologies that do exactly the things they’ve requested, with the most advanced tools offering many different services all in one app.
One key area where landlords are driving innovation is in online rent collection. Manual rent collection (paying by cash, check, PayPal, Venmo or Zelle) is a hassle for both landlords and tenants. It’s cumbersome, a fraud risk and difficult to track for both parties.
Based on requests from landlords for more effective and efficient ways to collect rent, property management software developers are answering the call.
Using the latest technologies, landlords now have the ability to automate rent collection, making it easier, safer, and more convenient for tenants to pay rent. This technology not only saves time for both parties but also eliminates the risk of lost, delayed, or partial payments. Landlords can also send automated reminders to tenants, increasing the likelihood that payments are made on time.
On the flip side, tenants can schedule automatic payments to eliminate the risk of missing them. Some of the more advanced technologies even offer automatic on-time payment reporting to major credit agencies, which helps renters boost credit scores.
In addition to rent collection, a recent Zillow survey found that the two biggest pain points landlords experience are dealing with maintenance requests (drawing the ire of 92 percent of landlords surveyed) and tenant screening (with 71 percent reporting this as a major struggle). That is why the top property management software services include tenant screening by running credit reports and scores, criminal background checks, eviction reports and other customizable options.
Furthermore, some of these tools have built-in maintenance coordination and management features by partnering with companies that specialize in handling such requests on a 24/7 emergency basis, so that tenants never have to wait until regular business hours to receive the help they need when utilities or appliances break down.
The automation of these services, along with other processes like digital document sharing and lease signing, enables landlords to manage properties remotely. This became a necessity during the COVID shutdown, which accelerated the need for automation to eliminate touchpoints. But now it’s a convenience and a key business driver that landlords don’t want to give up, because it allows them to manage properties in distant locations and frees up their time for other pursuits.
Landlords who both embrace and contribute to technological advancements in the proptech space are ultimately reaping the biggest benefits by reducing costs and saving time, while also providing a better customer experience for their tenants. As landlords continue to adopt and engage in the development of technology, this wave of innovation will continue to transform the way properties are managed and propel the industry to new heights.
Ryan Barone is the co-founder and CEO of RentRedi, an award-winning rental management software that transforms the way landlords and tenants manage their renting experience.