The Royal Institution for Chartered Surveyors’ latest Residential Market Survey made for gloomy reading for many in the property market – to say the least.
Forty two per cent of surveyors across the UK reported a decline in house prices, marking the most extensive fall in 13 years, combined with a decline in both agreed sales and new buyer enquiries. As property prices tumble yet rental prices simultaneously sky-rocket, what does this foreboding economic outlook actually mean for landlords?
With the rental market continuing to boom amidst high-tenant demand, especially given those priced out of the housing market, landlords are under more pressure than ever to ensure their businesses are nimble enough to tackle both the challenges and opportunities made available by this imbalance in the market.
This is no time for getting bogged down by time-intensive property management process – to be able to focus on value-add activities property businesses will need to streamline.
Automation is the future
Luckily, help is at hand. Managing properties is no longer the time-intensive, paper-pushing headache that it used to be. Property management tech functionality has come a long way, with innovative new processes such as digitised invoice systems which cut down on burdensome admin. The future possibilities of automation in the property industry are endless; from integrating with smart meters to work towards EPC ratings, to providing automated bank transactions.
PropTech solutions are no-longer nice-to-haves or business bolt-ons. In fact, investing in more efficient management processes could prove to be a vital recession-proofing tool. Automating processes can not only prove cost-effective but also transforms the experience of employees who are freed up to focus on more enriching work. Keeping employees happy and rewarded in such trying times cannot be overstated.
Putting tenant demands first
However, investing in the latest tech is of little worth if these solutions do not have the needs of tenants at their heart.
Tenants rightly expect more from rental properties than ever before, particularly when it comes to energy efficiency and sustainability. Falling short of these types of expectations comes with increasingly high stakes – tenants can now easily take to social media to voice complaints and threaten carefully-crafted reputations.
Ensuring tenant communication processes are user-friendly and responsive will help create a simplified and satisfying experience for both tenants and landlords. For instance, at Grosvenor Systems we recently combined forces with Spike Global, integrating a tenancy management solution where tenants can view the progression of their tenancy, sign contracts and communicate with lettings team from the platform.
Community is key
Also key to responding to tenant demand is fostering a sense of community. In the build-to-rent sector which offers exciting possibilities for shared living, the future appears to be in bringing together hospitality services and residential property. Not only do service-led properties provide a competitive edge, but creating integrated communities opens up a rich vein of collaborative opportunities.
For instance, think of how residential communities could easily create a digital hub for food sharing to avoid waste if they had the integrated tech functionality at their disposal.
While innovative property management solutions are still evolving, staying ahead of the digital curve will be vital in the current economic climate. Taking the time to ensure property management processes are working efficiently is not only a sensible recession-proofing strategy, but it also contributes to employee satisfaction and, perhaps most importantly, places tenant demands front and centre.
* Grant Chaplin is operations director of Grosvenor Systems *
Want to comment on this story? If so...if any post is considered to victimise, harass, degrade or intimidate an individual or group of individuals on any basis, then the post may be deleted and the individual immediately banned from posting in future.