Before the pandemic, owning a rental property where management and staff had regular contact with current and prospective residents was considered a good thing. It meant you were attentive to your tenants’ needs and had plenty of people interested in occupying vacant units. Amid a pandemic, however, that level of contact is viewed in a different light.
Things that once seemed trivial, such as sharing keys for work orders or showing empty apartments to possible renters, are now potential ways to spread disease — something both residents and staff members want to avoid as much as possible. Luckily, technology makes it possible to do more than find workarounds for existing procedures; it gives managers and owners the ability to transcend those procedures.
That might sound like hyperbole, but there are simply better ways to do things in the modern age. In many cases, the pandemic has pushed those methods to the forefront. Using the right technology, owners and managers can remove the need for staff and residents to be physically together throughout the rental process. Everything from first seeing an apartment to performing routine maintenance to handling move-out can be done without contact and without residents rearranging their schedules.
A contactless rental experience isn’t just something that can get you through the pandemic safely — it can create a better future for residents and staff alike.
Why Rental Owners Should Embrace the Contactless Rental Experience
While there are many reasons to invest in technology that will help you create a contactless experience, perhaps the best example is how it can make things better even before signing a lease. Unattended showings using keyless "curb to couch” entry technology can be a massive boon to your business. You’ll minimize unnecessary contact between staff and renters, and your team will no longer have to waste time with no-shows. Plus, it provides a significantly better experience for renters.
Half of all renters are forced to use paid time off to hunt for apartments, while 40% of renters have passed on a place because they couldn’t find a time to tour it. Unattended showings remove this barrier, giving renters the ability to schedule a showing online at a time that’s convenient for them. They can be given a temporary access code that gives them entry only at a specific date and time, without any physical keys changing hands. Viewers are then free to get a feel for a place at their leisure instead of being rushed by the presence of the salesperson.
Even better, an unattended tour can actually act as a selling point — especially with younger renters. About 52% of Millennials prefer smart access methods for entering their homes, and showing off these technologies from the start will go a long way in convincing potential renters to call your property home.
Through keyless entry and an online property management platform, you can do more than give remote tours — you can also make the lease signing and move-in process completely remote. Documents can be signed online, and you can provide access to the property through a digital smart key on residents’ phones. This smart key replaces the keys, fobs, and cards traditionally needed to enter homes and associated amenities. It’s also more secure, giving owners the ability to modify and remove access remotely while retaining a full audit trail.
Keyless entry also allows you to schedule work orders more easily for when residents aren’t home, thereby eliminating infection risks. A maintenance crew or third-party vendor can come in, perform their work, and sanitize the space without requiring physical contact with residents or having to rearrange their schedules. It also gets rid of the cost and insecurity of key management, allowing you to provide time-limited access to vendors so you can be certain everyone stays safe.
While the world won’t always feel as different as it does today, in many ways it will remain forever changed. Expectations and behaviors surrounding health and safety aren’t going to just return to normal after the pandemic. With the added convenience and safety that comes out of properly implemented contactless technologies, few people will want to go back to the old way of doing things when it comes to renting. Now is the time for owners to prepare for the present pandemic and the future that will follow it.