Tenant maintenance – Top Tips

Tenant maintenance property management issues

When managing multiple rental properties, it is important to deal with all property management issues in an efficient manner. If you manage a portfolio of 50 rental units, you will be dealing with a considerable amount of potential property management issues within the month. Remember, tenants can call at any time and depending on the urgency of the matter you could receive calls out of hours. I am sure any experienced property manager has received that phone call whilst sitting down to dinner, from over-excited tenants who have lost their keys or set off their alarm.

Make sure you have tenant maintenance procedures in place

tenant maintenance

 Credit Image: epSos.de

1. Acknowledge the issue with a prompt reply

Acknowledge the issue with a prompt reply to the tenant to ascertain that you have all the correct information. Once you have noted all of the information from the tenant, inform the tenant that you will update the landlord. Depending on the relationship you have with your landlord or the agreement you have in place, you may be able to make property management decisions without your landlord’s permission. Most letting agencies have an agreement with landlords that any property management issues costing under £200 can be overseen by the agent. If this is the case, make sure that you have this covered in your agreement with your landlord before proceeding.

2. Contact tradesmen immediately

Get onto your handyman or tradesperson immediately to organise a time to fix the problem. Remember some tradespersons will be busy working on different jobs and could possibly let you down at the last minute. It is always useful to have a backup tradesmen you know who could possible give you credit until the rent is collected. If you are a more established letting agent, you may employ your own tradespersons or contractors, so you will know how efficiently they normally operate.

3. Non-emergency property management issues

Aim for a 24-hour turn around for non-emergency property management issues. This is a must to avoid disgruntled tenants from burning your ears by talking about you in a negative way or somehow getting in touch with the landlord. For emergencies, obviously the problem needs to be solved immediately and would most likely involve you visiting the property to deal with the issue head on!

Sure isn’t that why the landlord pays you to manage the property?

Tenant maintenance

Some of the common issues tenants will have:

  •           Plumbing problems
  •           Electric problems
  •           Lost keys
  •           Complaints from neighbours
  •           Parties in the neighbouring property
  •           Washing machine is broken
  •           Fridge is broken
  •           Faulty alarm or forgotten alarm code
  •           Shower pump gone down

The list can go on with many more issues ultimately its how you deal with your tenant maintenance requests that make you a good property manager. Some agencies use task manager software to help them.

by Colin Napper

Articles of interest

Management of communication

Questions to ask tenants

Rentview Features


The Rentview team have been busy listening to what our letting agency customers wanted and have made changes and additions to our software.

Rentview.com letting agency software new feature roll outs (by Rentviewsoftware)

As always let us know what you think…

Property profile page new design

This weekend saw the new design of the property profile page being released. We have been busy listening to our users who have asked for an even quicker way in reconciling rental payments as received and paid to landlords.

property profile page

Now agents can do all of these tasks on the Property Profile Page. However if a rental payment due needs to be edited or history viewed this can still all be done through the Schedule page.

Managing financials

Once your rental payment is received you can process it from your Rentview account to the landlords here also. It will now show the deductions to be taken and held from the rent. You can also click through to the invoice page to add/edit or delete any payments from this invoice. As with the rental schedule page you can also click through to the Statement page to view history etc.

Property Notes

Lastly you can also now add notes to the property which are date stamped with which ever agent left the notes. These notes are for internal use only. 

To find out more about how Rentview’s letting agency software can help your letting agency enquire at info@rentview.com

by Rentview

Creating your YouTube channel

In our previous blog, Why use YouTube for marketing, we discussed the benefits of using rental marketing videos for your letting agency.

Creating your YouTube channel

creating-your-youtube-channel-youtube-logo

So the first step in rental marketing videos is setting up a channel to host the videos. There are a number of video hosting platforms but we have used the most popular, YouTube. In this demonstration, I am going to go through creating your YouTube channel.

When creating your YouTube channel it is very important to keep SEO in mind, as this is really going to help the channel to get traffic. If you didnt know already, YouTube is owned by Google, so by using SEO with your brand’s keywords and marketing message in your YouTube profile, you are feeding Google’s search appetite.

Below is a video blog showing how to do this and here is a link to the YouTube channel I just created: Letting Agent UK

http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=SsZckmGYfU8

Creating your Letting agency video channel (by Rentviewsoftware)

by Andreas Riha

Management of communication

Good communication between your Letting Agency, your Landlords and Tenants is a vital tool in keeping your customers happy and retaining them going forward. The office phone will usually start ringing from 9am until 5pm with numerous queries or information from tenants and landlords; where is this month’s rent? Can I have a breakdown of my accounts? There is a problem with my washing machine! The radiator in the main bedroom doesn’t work!

If you manage rental properties you will surely have heard some of these topics or issues arise from landlords and tenants. The problem today is there are too many ways of communicating issues or problems into your office and the information can get lost if you don’t set down some rules or guidelines. 

I list below some of the main communication channels used by landlords and tenants when contacting you or your office.

Management of Communication

via Telephone

The trusty telephone is still the number one way landlords and tenants will communicate with letting agents and property managers. If you use this as your main point of contact for your customers, expect to get a deluge of messages come Monday morning on rent and property management issues. Depending on the size of your rental management portfolio you may need to hire a receptionist to take care of the queries coming in.

management-of-communication-lettings

via Email

This is a very popular and a preferred way for some agencies to communicate with customers, especially with landlords who may be in a different time zone. With access to Smartphones, it is easier than ever to communicate with tenants and landlords and you can sync your work email up to your Smartphone easily. The downside is, you may never be off work with emails popping up frequently, and the communications never stop.  The main danger here is that if you get an email in the night time, come the start of the next working day, you may have forgotten to act upon it.

via Text

Text message is another way of communication management used and sometimes preferred by your customers. It is usually used in non-urgent situations by tenants looking to rent a property or to alert property managers to issues within the property. Tenants along with potential tenants who have poor oral English will send a text as they tend to be better at writing than speaking over the phone.

via Office

You will still get some landlords and tenants who will call into your office to speak to you as they prefer a more personal approach to all of this (old/new) technology stuff.  The good reason for having a nice office is to be able to welcome your landlords and tenants in for a chat. If unavailable, the best approach here would be to log the issues in a diary or leave a message with the designated property manager who will deal with the query if you are not there.

via Social media

Social media platforms such as Facebook and Twitter could be used to communicate with your customers but should probably only be used to promote your brand or notify of an emergency or announcement. This is open for debate and some Letting Agencies may prefer to communicate with people via social media as they can be seen to be proactive at dealing with things.  

via distributed messages from different communication channels

Imagine a property manager using his diary to write down a call from a landlord, communicating with a tenant via text or emailing a landlord their invoices. If your agency uses all of the above to communicate with landlords on rent and property management issues it is vital you use a good tool for the management of communication. A good CRM or online diary with a task manager is a vital tool in your armoury because your information could get lost if it is not noted down or logged.

What form of management of communication do you use in your letting agency? We would love to hear and share with other letting agents and property managers what works best for them. Let us know!

by Colin Napper

How to collect rent

Collect rent

One of the fundamental tasks a letting agent or property manager will undertake when managing a rental portfolio is to effectively manage the rent collection. There is a whole ecosystem working here and if you have a good Rental Management Software system in place, it saves you a lot of time and effort. It also helps if you have managed to secure good quality referenced tenants for your properties, then you can reduce the possibility of the extra work load.

The reality for some letting agencies is that managing the rental payments from tenants is quite a stressful (Full time) job.  If all goes to plan and tenants pay on time via standing order or direct debit then the rent paying eco system flows perfectly. Tenant paying on time means the letting agency receives fees on time and the Landlord / Mortgage is paid on time. Usually what happens here is your landlord has a very good experience dealing with your letting agency and you retain the landlord as a customer.

 collect-rent

When managing rental properties it is important letting agents and property manager’s setup efficient ways to collect the monthly or weekly rent.  Agents who use Property Management Software can reduce admin time. Below I have listed some of the most popular methods.

How to collect rent

Standing order:  The most cost effective way to manage rental payments is by setting up a standing order with your tenants for the rental payments. Make sure if you are managing multiple rental payments you include a reference code to identify the rent payment.

 collect-rent-software

Direct debit: This is a great way to collect rent payments and gives letting agencies great control when administrating rental payments. Similar to a standing order but with better controls, please beware of any cost implications for your letting agency if tenants funds bounce. I recently came across a company who facilitate the collection of funds via direct debit called www.gocardless.com who charge up to £2 per transaction.

Collecting cash:  The oldest method used to collect rent. When managing rental payments, this is the one method I would not recommend you implement if you are managing a mid-size portfolio. There are too many issues with collecting rent via cash from tenants each month.  I hear from too many letting agencies who allow their office to be used as a bank for tenants to lodge cash. It is better to use another method to collect rent. Some of the issues which could arise include:

  • Losing or misplacing cash in office.
  • Leaving your office open to robbery.
  • Fraud issues with staff members administrating cash transactions.
  • Cost of bank charges for cash lodgements can be expensive.
  • Administration time managing cash lodgements.

Bank lodgement: Allowing your tenants lodge funds directly to your bank is another method used by some property managers for their rent management. Agents need to be aware of the bank charges levied for allowing tenants to lodge to your bank account when using this method to collect rent. You will also need to be aware of lodged rental payments which are not referenced and from previous experience managing a rental portfolio, I can tell you that this can be an administration nightmare.

Credit card: With increased access to debit and credit cards this could be a way to collect rent in the future but the costs are just too high at the moment and to get a merchant ID from a provider is sometimes difficult. Would you pay 2.9% or (£14.50) to collect rent of £500 from your tenants?

You may also be interested in this infographic on The Costs of taking Monthly Rental Payments .

Let us know what your experiences are in rent management, or if you have any questions, do get in touch!

by Colin Napper

Letting agents revenue

I recently got a call from a Rentview subscriber who was hoping to maximize her letting agency revenue opportunities from her current portfolio. 

When we got chatting, we went through what percentage of her landlords had taken the letting agencies full property management package against the let-only service  The response was standard enough with approx 1 in every 4 landlords choosing the full property management package.  So that meant that the remaining 75% were choosing the let only service.

letting agents revenue

Letting agents revenue can be restricted by lack of communication

The problem here is that letting agents will not typically contact a let-only landlord during the lease cycle. The majority of letting agents using letting agency software or an organised filing system will only contact the landlord and tenant in the last month of the lease. The result of this can be rewarding for a letting agency, but what if there was greater communication throughout the lease period? The rewards could be even greater.

In a typical letting and management agent’s portfolio, they have let-only landlords who are midway through a lease period and others that have gone by the initial lease period signed.  So for each type of landlord there could be a different approach used.

Methods to increase letting agents revenue

Mid-lease landlord– a landlord who you helped to find tenants but who is not receiving your management services.

One way to deal with this potential repeat customer could be a quick check-up call with the landlord to see how everything is going with the tenancy. Is there anything that you can help the landlord with? Is there any rent outstanding? Is the tenant maintaining the property? Does the landlord need any advice on new regulations?

Being a landlord isn’t easy, and as you are the experienced professional, you can offer your assistance. It is a great reminder of your services and shows the landlord that you are an agency focused on customer service and increasing your letting agency revenue

Expired lease period landlord–  a landlord who had been contacted at the end of the lease term and wanted to renew the lease himself or let the lease roll.

Here you could use a similar approach to the above but it can also be used as a direct revenue opportunity for your letting agency. Why not offer something for free to this landlord, like a quick midterm inspection? A midterm inspection is a quick drop into the property to see how everything is going. This typically won’t take more than 5 minutes inside the rental property with the tenants, followed up with a call to the landlord.

Better still why not offer the landlord a detailed midterm inspection report? This typically would involve pictures along with notes on the property condition, items which may need attention and give the landlord a feel for how is property is being maintained.

increase letting agency revenue

What you can charge will depend on how you deliver the inspection. I know that letting agents using the Digital Inventory reports are charging somewhere around £80 for this service. A digital inventory report includes detailed date-stamped and geo-tagged photos, detailed condition reports and is all accessible on the cloud. Check out how to use the Rental Property Inventory App.

Your portfolio and your clients are your letting agency’s assets and if you don’t take good care of them they will depreciate. Letting agencies that want a better way to manage their property management portfolio may be interested in our Letting Agency Software.

Letting agents’ revenue on let-only clients should not be restricted to an annual letting or renewal fee. By offering additional services and communicating with landlords, letting agents can increase revenue!

by Andreas Riha

 

Letting agency business model changing in Ireland

With fewer properties on the rental market and more Estate Agents offering a letting service, letting agents will need to diversify to retain previous years’ revenues.

Letting agency business model changing

According to the the latest DAFT report issued on the 11th of February, the availability of Rental property in the capital is at a 6 year low and 4 years nationally. In fact there is only a 1/4 of the amount of properties listed today  that were listed back in 2009 in the capital.

letting-agency-business-model-changing

With the average tenancy in place at 19 months the tenancy churn is not there for agents to make fees more regularly. That is unless an agent gets a property to full management where they can take a fee every month. The Rentview team speak with letting agents on a daily basis. These agents are looking at property and rent management as a way of increasing revenue and being able to forecast revenue month on month. Something that they are not able to do in a let-only model.

Currently there are just over 2000 properties marketed in Dublin and a pool of approx 200 agencies. That’s an average of only 10 units per agency. This does not take into effect the number of ghost units being advertised also (units which are let agreed or marketed with a number of agents) … and they say the Taxi industry is overcrowded!

recession-business-model-changing

So what else are letting agents doing to increase revenue? Well they are being creative and flexible as to what their landlords require. Some are offering complete inventories, midterm inspections, lease renewals. In fact, we even came across a few agents who are offering marketing services, to save the landlord the work of marketing properties on online portals. So as we can see, many are offering bespoke services to suit a landlord rather than just a let-only or a let and manage service.

How is your letting agency standing out from the crowd and keeping solid revenue coming in? Is your letting agency business model changing? You may also be interested on our blog posting finding landlords.

by Andreas Riha

Letting Agents Software

Lease document sharing

Lease document sharing from Rentview on Vimeo.

As part of Rentview’s unique offering in our letting agency software you can now upload and share documents relating to your rental properties. 

You can upload documents such as energy certs, terms of engagement, signed leases etc to your Rentview agency account. Whilst you are uploading the lease documents you can choose weather to share with your landlords or not. 

We would love to hear your feedback on this new feature and what you would like to see next. 

Many thanks

by Rentview

Letting agency website design

In our last blog post on letting industry challenges we looked at how winning new landlords was one of the current biggest challenges for letting agents. Apart from providing an excellent service to your landlords and winning referrals, your website is currently your next best marketing tool. The problem is, as we discussed, that many letting agents neglect their website and their letting agency website design.

How to use your strong letting agency website design to build a portfolio

letting agency website design

Image Credit: Jayel Aharem

Letting agency SEO

So let’s start by doing a quick health check on your website to see how people are currently finding you. There are a couple of simple enough ways to get under the hood of your site, I would recommend using Google Analytics (click here for a previous blog on Analytics) or Google webmaster tools. You can access these by simply setting up a free Google account (if you haven’t already got one) and simply searching for them. You will need access to the control panel of your website to install a simple code into your website as a security feature. It’s quite simple but if that is something you are not comfortable doing, just ask who ever looks after your site to install the code.

Analyse your website

If you can’t access either of these a simple way to get some information on your website is to got through Alexa. Here you can get a quick overview of where your website ranks. It also gives you the chance to see keyword queries that bring a high percentage of traffic to a particular URL. So when here, check your own site and then perhaps a competitor who is doing well.

Once you get the site up, you can go through and click onto search analytics to see the top search queries which are driving traffic to your competitor’s website. Compare it with your own.  Is your competitor generating more traffic through search terms? Are the search terms they rank highly in ones which you wish to gain traffic through? If so, they are probably working more effectively on SEO than your own site. Most letting agents are looking at finding landlords through their website SEO.

letting agency website design

How to use your website as a visitor

Search the term that you think a new landlord would search to find a property manager or letting agent in your area, then see who ranks the highest. Now visit their site on Alexa to find out more about them. Learn from their website and implement changes needed to move your website up the search ranking.

Another interesting statistic to find out is how many back links your competitor has. The more back links a site has, the more attractive the website is for search engines to return that site on the first page of a search result (or SERP). A back link is your website’s URL on another website. Below is how a back link looks: 

https://rentview.com/blog/data-backup-for-agencies/ or if hyperlinked in text, the same link might look like this.

If you want to know more about link building strategies this is a great place to start. In order for your website to generate traffic, it is very important to look at your letting agency website design.