With investment in the UK’s Build to Rent (BTR) sector at an all-time high, there’s never been a better time for tenants searching for places to live, with a wide range of options available. But with the sector heating up, what can BTR operators do to ensure their developments stand out from the increasing competition, not only helping to attract new tenants, but also retain existing residents?
Given that property management is a people business, not investing time, effort or energy in getting to know your residents and regularly communicating with them can have disastrous consequences. With 31% of residents choosing not to renew their lease due to seeking better apartment management, according to research by NMHC and Kingsley, this seems the logical place to start.
A personalised resident experience
Having helpful and friendly on-site staff can certainly help in keeping residents happy, but how do you ensure your staff are interacting with every resident in the building to offer that ‘personal’ experience to all equally?
Given that 92% of residents prefer digital communications, offering a single place to connect digitally to property managers should no longer be seen as a luxury but as a necessity. Tenants move into BTR schemes to have some of their life admin taken care of – whether handling package deliveries, managing visitors, or sorting out maintenance issues, having an easy way to enable these services is key.
Residents prefer portals to emails
Feedback gained by HomeViews for their 2021 Build to Rent report found that residents who had previous experience using resident portals instantly realised how useful they would be in their new buildings. Some residents who did not have access to a portal also believed it would help issues be resolved quicker. Furthermore, there were also frustrations voiced about having to email reception to book onsite amenities, which makes accessing them a lot more laborious and time-consuming than it needs to be.
Creating a one-stop-shop for residents
The good news is Spike Living and Fixflo can handle all the above and more – providing the ability for residents to manage their entire resident life all from a single app. From being notified when a package is ready to be collected from reception, booking a slot at the gym or hiring a private meeting room, as well as interacting with other residents via forums and clubs, Spike Living allows residents to build budding friendships with neighbours and get the most out of their buildings. By partnering with Fixflo, residents can also report a repair through their Spike Living portal anytime, anywhere, using 40+ languages, and will be prompted to give all necessary details about the maintenance issue from the first instance, enabling property managers to diagnose issues accurately without the need for back-and-forth communication with residents. They can also be kept in the loop of how the issue progresses through their property manager's schedule.
Why use a central hub for resident data and communication
The benefits aren’t just in allowing residents to have instant access to property managers. Resident apps also provide property managers with an opportunity to be proactive, such as notifying residents when a lift is out-of-service, promoting onsite events, or more importantly, sending out an urgent push notification informing residents within minutes about an immediate danger, such as a fire in their block, so they can take the necessary action such as evacuating the building. As well as providing a central place to store key information on each resident, such as notes and reminders on the little things that can really help set your development apart, like a residents’ birthday or moving in anniversary.
As competition in the BTR sector increases, technology will play an important role in not only attracting new residents but also helping to retain them. Developments that do not offer an easy way to communicate with in-house teams certainly run the risk of falling behind.