In this blog we wanted to give landlords some ideas on some of the systems and technology Relocation PA use in our business to help streamline the lettings and management process, therefore, cutting costs and saving our letting and property managers masses of time!
10 systems & technologies to help with HMO management
System #1 – Open Rent (Lettings)
Many of you reading this are most likely aware of the common room rental portals such as Spareroom, Easy Roommate and Rightmove which you use to let your rooms through. However, these are not the only letting portals out there for renting your rooms. Relocation PA has been testing with tremendous results a portal called Open Rent which you can find at www.openrent.co.uk. In many ways Open Rent is just like Spareroom and the others however unlike these other portals where you post your advert and it only goes onto the portal, with Open Rent you can post your advert not online to Open Rent(which by the way Relocation PA has found it to be very popular for people looking for rooms) but also onto 10s of others such as Rightmove, Zoopla, Gumtree and Prime Location and the best part is when typically doing this and paying bit money to use advertise through Rightmove, this only costs £24 for the month to get on all of these portals! Open Rent is very much worth a look if you are looking to rent your rooms faster at a fraction of the cost.
System #2 – Goodlord (Applications and Referencing)
Relocation PA has been using a piece of software called Goodlord, find at www.goodlord.co for the last few years and we have found it invaluable. Goodlord takes the tenant right through each state of applying for a room from an online application which they can either fill out on our Ipad whilst still at the property to secure the room faster or one of our lettings manager can set up and email them a link to an application form so they can do it later. Unlike previously when this would all be done in hand on paper and then dropped off with all the documents, Goodlord does it all online. Once the application form has been filled out the tenants have to upload copies of their ID, bank statements etc as Goodlord will then reference the tenant in what Relocation PA has found to be the most comprehensive and cheapest referencing out there. Once this is one, Goodlord also sets up all the payments and takes the deposit, admin fee and first months rent before they can move in. All of this is done online within 48 hours and Relocation PA has no involvement at all. We highly recommend Goodlord for applications and referencing for your new tenants.
System #3 – Arthur Online (Maintenance and CRM)
As all landlords are aware, one of the most frustrating things with owning rental properties and more specifically HMOs is the inevitable maintenance issues that don’t seem to stop. Usually tenants just ring up the landlord and they try and remember it. This is fine for one or two properties but once you have more than that then usually there are more maintenance problems and you cant remember all of them. To combat this Relocation PA use a piece of software called Arthur Online found at www.arthuronline.co.uk which is a maintenance reporting and CRM system to keep track of all our maintenance requests. At Relocation PA our maintenance requests come directly through our website and so once one of the property managers receives it, they will log it on Aurthur and then raise a ticket to the relevant contractor who then gets pinged an email and will go and sort it. Aurthur online is fantastic and has cut down our time dealing with maintenance issues. It can also track viewings and tasks for the team to do.
System #4 – Go Cardless (Direct Debits)
Any good landlord should not be accepting rent in cash and should have tenants set up standing orders however standing orders can be cancelled by the tenants at any time. Therefore, Relocation PA has uses a direct debit software called GodCardless (www.GoCardless.co.uk) which deducts the tenants rent each month. The best thing about GoCardless is it tells both you and the tenant is they are failed to pay immediately and so it can be dealt with quickly opposing to searching through bank statements of lots of rent payments to find out who hasn’t paid there rent. The only downside of GoCardless if there is a small charge but Relocation PA has decided for the hassle it has taken away from us, its more than worth it.
System #5 – Xero (Accounting)
As a landlord, you need to be able to keep track of rent coming in as well as all outgoings like mortgage payments or maintenance bills and one of the best ways of doing that is to have an accounting package. Relocation PA uses Xero but there are others such as Sage and QuickBooks. Xero keeps track of everything and produces P&L statements for us meaning we always know what’s going on with the finances in the business. The best thing about Xero is it integrates with Arhtur onlne for all the rent payments menaing we never lose track of whats what!
System #6 – Iauditor (Inspections and Inventories)
A piece of software Relocation PA uses all the time is called IAuditor which is an auditing app that downloads onto an Ipad or phone. We set up a 60-point check list of our monthly and quarterly maintenance reviews and inspections such as is the tap working etc, meaning our property manager just walks around and ticks yes/no. You can also take photos of it and at the end complies it all into a really nice PDF report which can be sent back to the office to upload any issues to Arthur or send the report to our landlords so they know how their property is doing. This enables us not to forget to look for any issues that might occur and allows our landlords to receive a monthly report about their property which is something no other agent does and why landlords love Relocation PA managing their properties.
We also use IAuditor for Inventories and give a new tenant the Ipad and allow them to walk around ticking the pre set 40 point inventory for the property and their room, again allowing them to take photos of anything they are not happy with which can then we stored on the cloud and used when the tenant wishes to check out at the end to compare against. The best part of that the app is FREE! It just takes a little bit of time setting it up.
System #7 – Whatsapp (Tenant Communication)
Relocation PA has found Whatsapp to be great for tenant communication. We set up a Whatsapp group of each house which our lettings or property managers can just write on to ask a question of let the tenants know something such as if we require entry or maintenance works or viewings or when a new tenant Is moving in. Free and worth setting up separate groups of each property so you can communicate easily and quickly with your tenants.
System #8 – Key Safes (Access and Maintenance)
Last but not least, one of the best little systems Relocation PA introduced a few years ago has been to add key safes to each property with a set or keys or master key in either allowing maintenance men access so we don’t have to come and meet them each time or tenants if they lose their keys can just ask for the code to at least get inside the house as well as if one of the property or letting manages forgets the right keys! (Which happens more than we like to admit)! You can buy them from Screwfix for £20 and are very worth it for the time and hassle saved by always having a set of keys at the property.
We hope this gives you a few more ideas into how you can systemise and streamline the lettings and management of your HMOs.
If you love the idea of using all of these systems but don’t want to have to go through the hassle of setting them all up and working out how to use them as and leverage Relocation PA already paying for them, then why not get in touch on 01432 700 025 or email us on firstname.lastname@example.org to see how we can help manage your HMO properties for you using all of these systems!