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February 20, 2024

How Landlords are Utilizing Unified Communications to Increase Efficiency

Landlords have a tough job managing tenants and physical properties. Not only do they need to keep their tenants happy, enforce the lease, and sometimes initiate evictions, but they also have to handle repairs, maintenance, and other issues that arise.

Owning rental property comes with many more responsibilities than simply owning your own home, and what makes that difference is the presence of tenants. By law, landlords must comply with federal, state, and local landlord-tenant laws or they can face serious consequences. What makes this even more challenging is having communication take place across various channels and not having one central location to manage it all.

That’s where unified communications come in, and landlords who have chosen to embrace this technology are seeing big returns in the form of higher efficiency, happier tenants, and on-time rent payments.

How landlords are using unified communications

In order to make their job easier, smart landlords are using unified communication systems that put all their technology in one central place. For example, they might be using an application that streams all of their emails, text messages, voicemails, and other messaging systems into one location online where they can access everything.

Voicemails can be played or read as a voice-to-text translation, and everything can be replied to within the app in the form it was sent. For instance, texts can be replied to as text messages, and voicemails can be returned as phone calls or direct voice messages.

Unified communications make landlords more efficient

For landlords who are part of a property management team, unified communication systems are the foundation of their efficiency and success. For example, Houston Property Management company teams that handle a high volume of clients often collaborate in unified environments to better serve tenants and property owners. They need to use this technology because it would otherwise be impossible to organize all the individual communications they receive. For instance, if a company manages 4,000 properties, that’s at least 4,000 tenants to field calls from, and that doesn’t include the property owners.

Now let’s look at why landlords need unified communications to keep better track of their investments and tenant needs.

Small mistakes can be costly

The number one reason landlords use a unified communication system to run their business is to stay legal. This is perhaps the most important benefit because landlords who drop the ball on a tenant’s needs can be fined by various agencies and sued by their tenants. For example, in Texas, landlords only have 3 days to fix a broken heater or air conditioning unit and have 7 days to fix other issues. Having all communications in one place to systematically manage and categorize incoming requests makes overlooking urgent issues – like emergency repairs and broken water heaters – less likely.

Text messages can fall to the wayside

Text messaging has become a standard form of communication for just about everyone, but it has some major pitfalls. For instance, there’s no better way to create a misunderstanding than to communicate something important over a text message. Texts are often read in fleeting moments, skimmed, and read while multitasking. Most people don’t read long texts all the way through, so it’s not a good method for communicating things that require a nuanced explanation.

Smart landlords don’t allow their tenants to text them at all in order to prevent this (and other) issues. However, those who do often struggle to keep track of what’s been said. All it takes is a few minutes of back-and-forth with a tenant for the details to get lost. If the landlord doesn’t immediately scroll back up to take notes about what was communicated, some or all of an issue might fall to the wayside.

Voice messages are easily forgotten

In addition to information sent in text messages slipping through the cracks, voicemails are another issue. When a landlord checks voicemail, they’re not always sitting around with a pen and piece of paper to write down the information. That would be ideal, but many need to check messages while they drive or perform other tasks.

Unfortunately, when the contents of a voicemail aren’t documented in the moment, the chance of someone re-listening to that message is slim. Many people rely on memory and proceed as if what they remember is accurate, but that’s not always the case. For example, a tenant might leave a voicemail for their landlord stating that their stove’s pilot light went out and the landlord mistakenly remembers it being the heater. So, the landlord sends someone out to look at the heater instead of the stove.

It's also easy for landlords to forget about a voicemail entirely and never call the tenant back. This happens fairly often, and it’s one of the main reasons tenants get frustrated with their landlord.

Tenant portals can be used to funnel communications

Since tenants are easier to manage when they have access to a tenant portal, landlords who use a unified communication system can integrate that system into their portal to make tenant management even smoother.

For example, whether a tenant sends an email, text message, or makes a request through the portal, it can all be retrieved from one location and the landlord can input a response into the tenant’s portal account. This way, the tenant doesn’t have to scroll through emails or texts to find their landlord’s response. All they need to do is log into their portal account and look for an update.

When landlords keep communications simple and streamlined through one location, it’s much easier to keep track of timelines, scheduled appointments, and legal obligations. It’s also easier to prioritize tenant needs and initiate repairs or maintenance.

Unified communications systems are the future of property management

Landlords who haven’t yet embraced this new technology will have no choice in the near future. It’s becoming harder to manage tenants manually because there are far too many laws and regulations to follow. The landlords who do opt-in to streamlining their communications will find their jobs easier, they’ll have happier long-term tenants, and most of all – they’ll get more on-time rental payments, which will help sustain long-term profitability.

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