Resident turnover is an inevitable and sometimes costly aspect of managing a multifamily property.
According to a recent study by CBRE, the apartment turnover rate is just below 50 percent, meaning you can expect to welcome new residents to almost half of your units every year. Meanwhile, the National Apartment Association estimates that costs associated with unit turnover can range from $1,000 to $5,000 per unit. In short, resident turnover could be costing you thousands of dollars each month.
Creating a smooth, easy turnover cycle — from leasing to move-in, and everything in between — benefits both you and your residents. That could mean launching an effective marketing campaign, using trusted vendors for major repairs, and ensuring units are clean before move-in day.
However, there’s an often-overlooked factor that can negatively impact your ability to execute an efficient turn: how you manage your keys. Without effective key control, you could slow down the entire sequence and increase your costs without realizing it.
Let’s run through the process of switching residents and examine how improved key control can ease one of your heaviest burdens as a property manager.
Smoothing Out Leasing
When a current resident doesn’t renew their lease, you focus your attention toward potential new residents. That means multiple tours and following up with the parties that appear to be the best match.
First impressions are critical, so don’t let misplaced keys or sloppy recordkeeping botch your relationship with a possible resident. No prospects want to be left waiting while a leasing agent tries to figure out where a key to a unit is. With a reliable electronic key control system, that key will either be secure in the system or checked out to a trusted employee.
With the right key control system, you can also ensure you keep track of prospects by scanning potential renters’ driver’s licenses and capturing accurate contact info. Smooth showings and prompt follow-ups will help you fill vacancies quickly, reducing overall turnover costs.
Transitioning Between Residents
Before a new resident can move in, you have to ensure the previous renter’s exit sets you up for success.
The transition between residents is hectic for both residents and managers. To simplify the task of collecting all keys or fobs (including keys to apartments, mailboxes, and common areas), implement a system that tracks long-term keys and sends reminders to users when the due date for each key arrives.
Once you’ve retrieved the keys, complete the transfer by assigning them to the new resident in your system. You can input the user’s relevant information, request their signature, and even print a custom receipt so the keyholder has a reminder of the keys’ due date and any associated replacement fees.
This process will not only help avoid excessive lock and key replacement costs, but also make transitioning between residents more efficient.
Performing Necessary Maintenance
Each turn comes with a long list of maintenance tasks. Before a new resident moves in, you might need to refurbish the living space by installing new carpet, painting the walls, or swapping out appliances. Once the resident gets settled in and completes a condition report, your maintenance techs often end up with a few more service requests in their queue. Throughout this process, both vendors and maintenance technicians need access to the apartment.
From an efficiency standpoint, you can’t waste time chasing down keys. Electronic key control allows you to reserve keys so they’re available when an employee or vendor needs them. You can also make sure they’re returned in a timely fashion by sending notifications to the user.
When a resident requires maintenance in their home after they move in, being able to respond promptly to service requests benefits your relationship with the resident.
When you need to get different people in and out of an apartment in a short amount of time, you’re only as efficient as your key control methods. Prioritizing key management means faster apartment turnover and less long-term costs associated with vacant units.