Does your rent roll feel more like a juggling act than a well-balanced portfolio? Maintaining a healthy, well organised rent roll is essential to efficient property management. But needless to say, it’s often a challenge.
In this article, we will explore a few expert tips for managing your rent roll and the key areas that property managers and agency principals should focus on to keep your rent roll in top form.
Keep accurate records
Accurate record-keeping is a fundamental requirement for maintaining a healthy rent roll. Industry insiders are quick to point out that even in a digital age, there are very real legal and financial ramifications of inadequate record management and data backups.
Regulation requires property management records to be kept for 5 years, but best practice says 7 years is the ideal for risk management (since a claim can be made up to 6 years from the date of discovery). Here are some steps you can take to maintain accurate records of your rental properties:
- Record and document all client interactions, including conversations, emails, and other forms of communication
- Track financial transactions like rental payments, expenses, and commissions.
- Keep records of tenants and landlords, including contact information and lease agreements.
- Document property maintenance and repairs including dates, details, and associated costs
- Regularly back up your digital records to maintain data integrity and protect against loss or damage.
- Conduct periodic audits to review the accuracy and completeness of your records.
- Use CRM and property management software to store and organise client and property information.
Implement effective rent collection practices
In May 2022, rent collections fell to 75.2% nationally across all commercial property sectors, emphasising the need for effective rent collection processes. Difficult economic conditions have made this task all the more challenging with property managers needing to straddle a fine line between tact and assertiveness.
Here’s a few practices that could help your rent collection systems run smoother:
- Create clear lease agreements that explain rent payment terms, due dates, and accepted payment methods. This goes a long way in avoiding potential misunderstanding or disputes.
- Send friendly reminders a few days before rent is due.
- Offer convenient payment options like online payment systems and direct deposits. The added convenience makes prompt payment easier for tenants and also reduces the chance of delays.
- Offer incentives like small discounts for tenants who pay rent on time.
- Set-up a consistent rent collection schedule and keep your tenants informed - this can help them plan ahead and organise their finances.
- Provide easy-to-understand invoices that break down the rent amount and other charges.
- Enforce late payment policies - you could apply late fees or interest charges.
- Follow up on overdue payments with reminders, phone calls, and meetings. An SMS notification trial by FACS showed over 75% of renters who received an SMS notification paid their overdue rent or entered into a payment plan (compared to 68.5 per cent who only received a letter).
Focus on tenant satisfaction and retention
Happy tenants lead to consistent rental income and reduced turn over costs - it’s only natural to prioritise their satisfaction and encourage lease renewals.
Here’s a few ways to up your customer service game and keep your tenants happy:
- Regular tenant satisfaction surveys are a great way to gauge levels of satisfaction and identify areas for improvement. Ask tenants about their overall experience, communication with the property management team, property maintenance, and any suggestions they may have. Use their feedback to reasses your tenant experience and address any concerns.
- Stay in touch with your tenants with open lines of communication, and promptly respond to their inquiries, concerns, and maintenance requests. Clear and proactive communication helps build trust and ensures that tenants feel heard and valued.
- Wherever possible (and practical), try to offer a personalised service that shows your tenants you understand their unique needs. Accommodating reasonable requests or providing additional amenities or services can go a long way towards a positive tenant experience.
- Incentivise lease renewals by offering a rent discount, upgraded options within the property, or extending lease terms with attractive conditions. This can encourage tenants to stay longer.
Regularly review rent roll performance
You already know it’s important to understand how your rent roll is performing. Regularly analysing the physical and financial health of properties in your rent roll allows you identify signs of underperformance and boost your revenue.
That said, it can prove overwhelming for agency principals to juggle ‘business as usual’ with the added effort of evaluating the performance of all your rental properties regularly. An external evaluator can help reduce the strain on your teams by performing a rent roll health check, saving time and directing resources to where they’re needed.
Not sure where to start? We offer a free rent roll performance analysis for your residential rent roll with insights from industry experts. Find more details here and sign up for a free evaluation.
Stay up-to-date on industry trends and regulations
Keeping your rent roll compliant and in good health means staying in the loop on industry trends and regulations. The real estate industry is always on the move and it’s essential to adopt new legal requirements along with new trends and tech advancements to stay ahead of the game.
Here’s our best tips for staying up to date:
- Network: Attend industry conferences, seminars, and events to stay updated on the latest trends and make new connections.
- Follow blogs, publications and industry professionals on social media: Stay connected to the industry online and keep up with insider insights.
- Invest in training programs: Keep your teams in the know by allocating resources towards training programs that build their knowledge on new regulations as well as new tech.
To wrap up...
Maintaining a healthy rent roll is crucial. Remember to keep accurate records, evaluate your rent collection practices, keep your tenants happy, regularly review your rent roll performance, and stay connected to updates in the industry.
We know it can be a daunting task - and we’re here to help. :Different for Agencies can optimise your rent roll performance and scalability using a unique combination of technology and industry experts to help you make data-driven decisions for your business.
Sign up for a FREE rent roll performance check and discover how to make your rent roll work for you.
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