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The Housing Innovation Map

Property Management Tools

Today’s requirements for property management have evolved dramatically against the backdrop of a decade-long boom in the property market and changing landscape of urban living. Driven by diversified demands and technology advancement, property management tools have moved away from basic property administration or rent collection. They are becoming increasingly multi-functional, people-centric, smart and responsive.

Driving forces

  • Property managers and landlords are often overwhelmed by all kinds of enquiries and requests from occupants;
  • There is a lack of effective communication channels to engage people living in the same apartment buildings or gated communities;
  • The growth in new housing schemes like build-to-rent and co-living, together with a large amount of social housing stock, creates a huge demand for innovation in property management.

Property management tools in practice

Property management includes both property maintenance and the handling of the tenant/resident relationship. With digital advancement, new tools and systems are enabling property managers and landlords to carry out these and related issues more efficiently, while allowing occupants to be better engaged in affairs concerning their property.

Tenant-facing portals are one of the most popular types of property management tools. Connecting renters with the owner and/or manager of their home, the initial idea is to help gather and organise all tenant enquiries and maintenance requests, as well as rent and fees via a single platform. Enabled by automation and machine learning technologies, a more advanced ‘chatbot’ function is increasingly available in such portals. This can automatically reply to common queries and address basic demands from tenants, such as booking a repair visit. Through the constant communication with tenants, feedback and actions from managers, they are able to learn and gradually become more capable of responding to more complex requests. Such portals also provide storage and access to all tenancy details, from lease contracts to payment records. Based on this information, some new tools have been developed to help tenants create a digital rental profile and build trust credits, which in turn means they can enjoy future benefits like free-deposit and speedy rental process.

Another increasingly popular innovation area for property management is community engagement. While many property management tools focus on connecting tenants with landlords, others take the shape of social platforms that facilitate communication between those living in the same building or community. Supported by mobile apps, such platforms allow occupants to share their living experiences and issues, host community events, and make new friends. New housing schemes like co-living and build-to-rent, as well as the growing social housing estates, create massive demands for such tools.

Benefits and impact

Driven by changing demand and digital innovation, property management tools are becoming more multifaceted and human-oriented. With more functions integrated into a single portal, together with embedded automation and AI engines, new tools can aid the communication between tenants and property managers, while saving property managers time spent handling tenant requests. Community engagement tools are also allowing residents to be more informed of and engaged in community affairs, which will help create much safer, more friendly and vibrant communities.

Have you got any thoughts on property management tools?

Are you interested in sharing your insights in this area? If you’d like to let us know about some of the projects you’re working on in this space, please email futureofhousing@cp.catapult.org.uk.

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