The recent tax reform bill will bring changes to many Americans' taxes, but certain provisions of the bill could be a boon for real estate investors, landlords and the multifamily industry in general.
The bill will reportedly make it more profitable to own income-generating property, such as apartments and condominiums. Experts say this could result in an increase in multifamily construction, meaning there will be more properties competing for your tenants very soon.
As the competition heats up, it won't be enough to simply offer competitive rates and nice amenities to your prospective tenants. You need to have a smooth and easy leasing process, a staff that you trust to take care of your tenants' property, and a way to protect yourself from liability in the event that keys are stolen or go missing.
Here are some ways that hitting those key performance points will give your tenants an excellent, secure living experience and help you compete against newer properties.
Improving the Leasing Process
Nobody likes to wait. Everybody has been frustrated when they get put on hold by a customer service representative. How would it make you feel if you were forced to wait while a leasing agent struggled to find a key for a model unit or an empty apartment? Prospective tenants who are left waiting around the leasing office are already developing a negative opinion of your property before they even see the units.
Does a maintenance technician have the key you're looking for? Has it been misplaced or stolen (more on that in a bit)? A lack of awareness of where your keys are isn't just a security issue. It can leave your leasing agents unable to perform their jobs and send prospective tenants elsewhere. You need a system for keeping track of your keys to be sure one isn't missing when you need it. Either maintain a written access log, which has its own problems, or use an electronic key control system that logs activity automatically.
Holding Employees Accountable
Protecting your property against break-ins and robbery is hard enough without employees abusing their access privileges. How much do you trust your employees to not steal from your tenants? Many properties have struggled with this liability. Some tenants have even taken the matter into their own hands to prove that employees were accessing their apartments without proper notification and stealing money.
Just as knowing who has keys and when can help you improve the leasing process, it can help you hold employees accountable. If a tenant complains about stolen items or access, can you answer them honestly and correctly? A system that automatically tracks key access will let your employees know that you take key security seriously. This will make them think twice before doing something foolish.
Reducing Your Liability
While making sure your employees aren't misusing keys is important, making sure keys don't fall into the wrong hands outside your company is a much bigger issue. It's not just about giving your tenants a place to live that they feel is safe and well secured. Your company could be held liable if a key is stolen and used to access an apartment, especially if it leads to a robbery or a violent crime. It's your responsibility to ensure access to your apartments is properly managed.
Keeping keys secure in an electronic system that notifies you when a key is missing can help you react quickly to a potential issue. Knowing a key is lost can let you change locks before a key is misused. Reduced liability and insurance costs can then be reinvested in the property, helping you remain an attractive property in a competitive market.
How do you plan to keep tenants coming to your property during the coming boom?