Interim rental inspections have taken a hit over the past two years and letting agents are now wading through their backlogs of interim visit reports. Here, Richard Abbots at Inventory Hive offers advice on how to make the process easier, faster and less costly.
Mid-rental inspections are essential to prevent property problems, tenancy disputes, compliance issues and safety risks. The visits give tenants an opportunity to raise maintenance issues, and agents can remedy any issues in a timely manner to protect the landlord’s asset.
In normal times, these inspections happen two to four times per tenancy year but during lockdown and social distancing, these visits couldn’t take place in person. Some didn’t happen at all.
As a result, landlords and letting agents are now tasked with catching-up on overdue visits but this is having an impact on the bottom line. Travel costs, tenant liaison and an already busy workload increase agent costs if not managed efficiently.
Multiple tenants, properties and locations
Physical visits need careful planning – especially where there are a high number of inspections required in any given week. It’s never an easy task scheduling inspections at a convenient time for tenants; it’s even tougher to schedule multiple visits with different tenants across a wide geographical area.
The ideal solution is to plan your visits around specific locations to reduce travel time and costs. However, if you’ve ever tried to do this for a large property portfolio, you’ll know it can be a laborious process – and one that often takes so long it almost defeats the purpose of efficient visit-planning in the first place.
This is where technology can help.
Digital tools, online maps and tenant communication apps
The heavy lifting of scheduling, tenant communications and travel planning can all be automatically handled by apps and digital tools. By utilising the power of Google maps and secure, automated tenant communications, apps like Inventory Hive allow you to schedule grouped regional visits and communicate directly with various tenants in a specific geographical area via a single interface. Tenants can respond to dates and times within the app, and agents can plan area visit days easily.
This significantly reduces admin time and helps letting agents or landlords arrange multiple consecutive interim visits in the same location within a day. This reduces fuel costs, vehicle use and environmental impact.
Face-to-face isn’t always necessary, either. The pandemic showed us that and forced many to embrace check-in and check-out inspections remotely via video. This same approach can work for interim visits too, especially when a tenant has an urgent issue they want to raise with the agent. In this scenario, they can show the agent the problem on video and the remedy can then be planned, either with contractors or the landlord. Again, the time-savings can be significant, the tenant relationship preserved, and the landlord’s property protected.
Efficiencies in lettings can be found in technology by leveraging the power of connected apps and communication systems. Much of an agent’s inventory admin workload can be automated allowing them to focus on activities that bring a greater return.
You can learn more at Inventory Hive.
*Richard Abbots is founder and CEO of Inventory Hive