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HMO Management: 8 Systems to Help You Streamline the Letting and Managing of Your HMOs

09 June 2022 - Posted in Landlords

 

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!

8 systems & software to help with HMO management

System#1 - COHO (Property Management Software for HMO's and Shared Living)

Many reading here will agree that using more than one system to manage your HMOs and lettings is a huge problem. COHO (https://coho.life/) is a property management software platform bringing all aspects of managing HMOs, shared living, coliving rental properties, and tenants into one workflow. COHO is built for the future of shared living & property management. It helps you save time and grow your business, bringing different aspects of management into one place. COHO can help you with tenant management, e-sign contracts, communications, rent & maintenance management, documents & compliance management, finances and much more. COHO embraces all property management business models, you can be an individual landlord, HMO, student housing, lettings, rent to rent, coliving or any rental property management company. It is very easy to setup your business on COHO with FastTrack. It start at just £1.5/ unit. If you are running HMOs, or any shared living you must look at COHO (https://coho.life/).

System #2 – Made Snappy (360 degree Room Viewings)

A real game changer of us has been the introduction of virtual 360-degree viewings. During Covid 19 and the multiple lockdowns when the UK was at the height of restrictions, we decided to purchase our own 360-degree camera having previously used Matterport. This naturally allowed us to go back in and re photograph rooms we hadn’t had a Matterport tour done of and then conduct virtual viewings so potential tenants wouldn’t have to visit the house and yet we could still do viewings and let rooms. As it happens our 360-degree viewings have been so successful that we now initially conduct well over 90% of our viewings virtually, some then take rooms of the back of that only which means they don’t have to visit the property if say they are moving from abroad or another city. Naturally some do then want to see the property however at this point they have already viewed it virtually and so we are pretty confident they will take the room. Check out Made Snappy - www.madesnappy.co.uk who we use to create our 360 degree viewings and highly recommend them.

System #3 – Fixflo (Maintenance Requests and Repairs)

We recently switched to Fixflo to manage all of our maintenance requests and repairs and it has been a game changer for us. Fixflo provides end to end maintenance and compliance to ensure we are keeping our tenants happy by resolving their maintenance requests as quickly as possible which Fixflo has allowed us to speed up massively. Fixflo provide a branded app for the tenants which not only allows them to report issues and requests but also has Troubleshooting and How To Guides on. We get a custom QR code which we have put on all our notice boards that allows them to quickly report things too if they don’t yet have the app. Our maintenance team love Fixflo as it easily allows them to quote and bid on jobs and manage the job from start to finish. Our landlords can also plug into out Fixflo app which keeps them up to date with whats going on in their property and maintenance costs and how quickly we are resolving issues which is great for them to see. Fixflo also undertakes all of our compliance now and so we know exactly what needs doing when with easy reminders making it almost effortless to keep on top of paperwork. We couldn’t recommend enough trying Fixflo out to help streamline your management and maintenance processes. You can find out more here: https://www.fixflo.com/solutions/lettings?hsLang=en

System #4 –Inventory Base (Inspections and Inventories)

We also recently moved to another new piece of software called Inventory Base. Inventory Base manages all of our Fire alarm tests, monthly maintenance reviews, quarterly room inspections and of course given its name our inventories when tenants move in and out. Inventory Base makes it super easy to conduct inspections and Inventories as they are all pre-set on the software and you just choose the relevant checklist you need.

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 our CRM system 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 Inventory Base 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. Check it out here: www.inventorybase.co.uk_

System #5 – GoCardless (Direct Debits)

Any good landlord should not be accepting rent in cash and should have tenants set up standing orders however standing orders are regularly forgotten to be set up and lead to late rent payments as well as the fact they can be cancelled by the tenants at any time. Therefore, Relocation PA has uses a direct debit software called GoCardless (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 our CRM software for all the rent payments meaning we never lose track of whats what!

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 however these can easily have the code left on people see and potential break in. This is the one we use: https://keysafe.co.uk/products/police-preferred-key-safe/c500-keysafe.html  

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 0333 444 0423 or email us on hello@relocation-pa.co.uk or visit our website at www.relocation-pa.co.uk  to find out more and see how we can help manage your HMO properties for you using all of these systems!


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