We’ve written in past Editor’s Notes about the importance of both ‘straight-through processing’ (in short, the automation, from start to finish, of as many standardised repetitive processes, such as a tenant requesting a repair through to the repair being completed without needless manual interventions during the processing of that repair) and gaining ‘a single version of the truth’ across multiple siloed applications.
However, there is a third area to consider: how well do you really know your tenants and do you actually know which properties or land you own or manage?
Due to the above-mentioned disparate applications, isolated spreadsheets and simple human mistakes, most housing providers either don’t know their tenants as well as they think they do (most commonly) or they don’t know them as well as they would like. In addition, there are frequent stories of housing providers ‘discovering’ properties or land that they didn’t know they owned.
Why is this important? The most important reason is that the introduction of universal credit, pay-to-stay and annual rent reductions (among other regulatory and legislative changes), all of which will have a considerable effect on housing providers’ financial affairs, mean that housing providers must become more efficient in collecting rents and maximising revenues from their property portfolios as well as ensuring that maintenance and repairs contracts, for example, only cover the properties and land for which they are responsible.
Technology is the key to how you get to know your tenants better as well as how you can maintain more accurate property records. Whether you use CRM and surveying software to gain more accurate information on your tenants or use GIS and mapping tools to help monitor your property portfolio, the important point is that technology is the fundamental enabler for ‘getting to know you better’.