According to Mashivor, 50% of tenants move out because they are not happy with their landlord.
The landlord-tenant relationship is more often than not a contentious one. It features two sides with similar intentions but entirely different priorities. Both parties are interested in peaceful, fluid, and uneventful correspondence and both are wary of being cheated, ill-treated, and misinformed. The fear on both sides is further propagated by the consequences of the relationship failing; a terrible experience at the very least, or an expensive lawsuit at the very worst. This issue is so deep-rooted and prevalent that governments the world over have put mechanisms in place to protect these two groups.
Bay Area real-estate law firm Bornstein Law, in an effort to protect their clients’ interests, even went as far as categorizing tenants into five distinct profiles: the political tenant (always suspicious), the silent tenant (completely unresponsive), the passive-aggressive tenant (quick to turn hostile), the dysfunctional tenant (too embroiled in crises to fulfill their commitments), and lastly, the oh-so-elusive perfect tenant (personable and reliable).
On the other side of the spectrum, tenants’ tales of woe have become so frequent and, in many cases, extreme, that they gave birth to an entire internet genre of “horrible landlord stories” detailing the misadventures of tenants who were misfortunate enough to have criminally-negligent property managers.
The Not-So-Secret Ingredient
Everyone seems to be looking for the storybook landlord-tenant relationship. The question is, how do you create an environment that feels safe for both parties? What’s the magic trick that keeps an inherently challenging balance of power, stable and even harmonious?
The answer, according to our research, is communication. Timely, responsive, ongoing communication.
Maxine Lester, one of the U.K’s leading property management companies, advises the following to future landlords: “Above all else, tenants want a landlord who is responsive, approachable, and easy to reach. Responding quickly and effectively will increase the chance of tenants wanting to renew their lease or recommending the landlord at the end of their contract.”
Echoing this sentiment, Julie Aiello of Zumper writes: “One of the worst things for a landlord-tenant relationship is radio silence. If you’re not answering your tenant’s inquiries in a timely fashion and addressing their concerns, they may grow frustrated and distrusting of you as a reliable landlord.”
To top these off, Nadia Abulatif of Mashivor equates the landlord-tenant relationship to the ones we share with loved ones: “Just like any relationship, the landlord and tenant relationship is no different. Two-way communication is a must to avoid any misunderstandings. Moreover, as a landlord, you should always listen to the tenant’s expectations and do your best to meet them.”
If the solution to creating idyllic coexistence between landlords and tenants appears to be so clear, how is it that it is hardly put into practice? How is it that Zillow’s 2019 Consumer Housing Trends Report found that 71% of renters who inquire about a listing expect to hear back from the landlord or property manager within 24 hours, but only 51% of renters say they receive the timely responses they expect?
In the U.S. today, there are about 8 million individual landlords, also known as mom and pop landlords, who typically own between one and ten properties. They own and manage half the rental properties in the nation and house about 48 million renters. The other half is owned and operated by over 50,000 residential property management companies and 70,000 lessors of residential buildings and dwellings.
Whether it is the mom and pop landlords, struggling to balance their day jobs with their custodian responsibilities or a property manager working for a large company, responsible for dozens if not hundreds of properties, landlords often find themselves unequipped to handle the constant flood of tenants’ requests and complaints.
This problem is made worse by the slow adoption of technology by the real estate industry. In a recent REALTOR survey, 48% of all real estate firms cited keeping up with technology as one of the biggest challenges facing their firm in the next two years. This contrasts starkly with tenants' preferences according to the 2017 American Renters Survey, which found that when it comes to receiving important messages, most tenants would prefer that a property manager email them (53%) or text them (53%). Another 41% indicated they'd prefer a voice call over options such as a visit (23%), a note (20%), or a letter (8%).
Tenants’ requests and complaints are, for the most part, uniformly similar. The National tenants' rights organization Rental Protection Agency released this year's apartment complaint trends report detailing tenants' top 10 complaints. Deposit Refund Disputes' came in first with 'Bed Bug Infestations' grabbing the second place, 'Repair Problems' in third, and 'Apartment Noise Complaints' in the fourth spot.
If you've ever rented an apartment, none of these complaints should surprise you. And yet each such complaint requires a landlord's undivided attention. When coming all at once from many different properties, it's easy to understand why landlords feel overwhelmed, and tenants feel unheard.
Conversational AI was created to tackle these sorts of challenges by automating repetitive conversational interactions. Coupled with powerful NLU capabilities, conversational AI can even comprehend and respond to queries that far extend the "please-come-fix-it" scope.
“Hey, how many days am I allowed to sublet for?”
“How much notice do I need to give before leaving this apartment?”
“Is electricity included in my rent?”
Each one of these use cases can be customized and tailored to a landlord’s unique needs properties and communities. Consider these to be five pillars or trees shooting thousands of roots, covering every single facet of the landlord-tenant relationship through conversational AI.
The digital landscape of real-estate is rapidly changing as renters and buyers demand better engagement and services online. Property management firms and mom and pop landlords are rising to meet the challenge with Hyro's conversational AI. Using voice, text, and touch, landlords can enable 2-way communication to manage relationships with tenants, foster trust, and increase renewal of contracts and quality word-of-mouth referrals and recommendations. Our plug and play conversational AI solution allows landlords and property managers to add conversational capabilities across all digital channels without any integrations, playbooks, or training data.
Content Marketing at Hyro