We've touched on lease renewals previously in our blog, "Break the Cycle of Month-to-Month Leases." In that blog we discussed various strategies you can use to manage the property management lease renewal process and on ways to help you get tenants either renewed or moved out faster. We suggested (and still do) that you use a 90-day renewals notice cycle. This ensures that you have enough time to complete a turn if the owner or tenants are not going to renew the lease.
Other than that, what can you do to improve the property management lease renewals process? We have some tips we can share with you that we've learned from the PMOS process.
1. Create One Universal Process—and Document It
Imagine you have five staff members who work on leasing, expirations, and renewals. It is likely that at least one, if not all of them, have their own way of doing things. If your fictional department is generally efficient, why would this be a problem? It doesn't scale.
Process documentation allows for quick scaling during times of growth and is an accurate tool for measuring how many staff hours you need per door during leaner times. Process documentation for property management can be done in many ways, but we suggest implementing it before rolling out any new initiatives.
When you document first, your staff will always know where to go for help. At Rent Bridge, we like to use video tutorials for our clients. We screen-share the software our PMOS runs on as well as explain how and why. This works for visual and auditory learners, as well as those who need hands-on training (kinesthetic), as they can pause at their leisure and work along with the video when they need extra help.
2. Automate Communication
We are huge fans of letting our PMOS do this for you. However, there are parts of your process you can (and hopefully already do) automate at a minute scale. Using templates for texts, emails, letters, and calls on a schedule are the most basic forms of automation.
Perhaps you have software that lets your staff know it is time to send out letters to owners to see if they want to renew. Maybe the owner doesn't respond in a timely manner. The next step is to send a templated email; filling in the blanks for that property and owner. The owner gets back to you, so your staff enters some information into your property management software, and then it is time to extend the offer to the tenant. Fill out the template for the tenant and send, your staff has to receive the response and then they can execute the lease.
Using available technology, you can take this one step further via property tokens that auto-populate forms. These then send an email that fills itself out, with acceptance or rejection at the click of a button for both owner and tenant. Now your staff is free to field calls from owners and tenants who have questions and provide excellent customer service. All of this can be neatly scheduled based on your clients' timetables. No balls dropped, no back and forth between staff and tenants and owners—purely streamlined renewals.
3. Utilize Your Staff—Perfectly
A hidden benefit of automation is the reporting that comes with it. Using an automated, standardized process for property management lease renewals gives you better data. You'll be able to see the amount of time each step of the process takes. You'll also be able to average it and watch trends. Now when you're overstaffed, you'll have an indicator that you can move a team member from one department to another that might need more help. Not enough staff? You'll have the data to back up the requests from your team.
Plus, when you know how much time it takes, bringing on new portfolios will make it easy to predict your hiring needs. We find that property management companies that implement these processes can dramatically scale without the need for any additional staff. Doing this can bring a department from five to one rather quickly. This means you'll have more people available to provide next-level customer service, improve your reputation, and boost your company morale.
4. Provide Better Training
Comprehensive, clear training creates a happier and far more stable workforce. Employees are more likely to be loyal to an employer when that employer invests in them. This extends beyond their salary to creating an environment of learning and growth. Using process documentation and automation will make it much easier to train your employees with absolute clarity as to your expectations. The right employees are going to reduce your churn—and the high cost associated with it. Accountability and proof of their exceptional performance lead to increased job satisfaction. By implementing the reporting that comes naturally with automation, you will make it easy for your top performers to shine—and shine they will!