In Episode 28 of the Profitable Powerhouse Properties Podcast, Jonathan Cook and Bryan Jenkins discuss strategies and services they have used to support their operations during COVID. They also share insights about treating your tenants like humans and approaching property management in an empathetic way while still protecting investors.

 

Episode Highlights:

  • An important KPI is the percentage of rent collected, but that is less useful during COVID.
  • It’s sometimes better to look at your entire portfolio’s vacancy rate, delinquency rate, etc., instead of looking at individual properties.
  • Their immediate action when COVID became urgent was to make their operations as safe for themselves, their tenants, and their vendors as possible, including unaccompanied property showings.
  • Unaccompanied showings made sense as a way to remove friction before the pandemic, and they’re happy they had already started using Tenant Turner to make that happen.
  • They seek to eliminate financial barriers to entry for tenants.
  • Simple Bills saves tenants money by eliminating utility connection and disconnection fees.
  • They’ve started using a photo editing service for property pictures that allows them to put a fire in a fireplace, adjust the lighting, add furniture, etc.
  • Jonathan and Bryan believe there needs to be some mortgage relief for property owners who are extending human empathy and understanding to tenants who are struggling to pay rent during the pandemic, and while evictions are halted.
  • They found their leasing rates increased because people wanted to move as quickly and efficiently as possible so they could get into a house and stay there to hunker down.
  • Not everyone will have the capacity to implement all of these tools, particularly the higher cost tools.
  • Times change, technology changes, the market changes, and you can’t pretend that isn’t true; you have to evolve and respond to changing conditions.
  • They charge a lease renewal fee because as property managers they do more than just sign off on a lease.
  • It is impossible to avoid some pushback from tenants when you raise rent, but you can help alleviate that tension by explaining the reasons and demonstrating how you’re still giving them a deal compared to market value.
  • They provide essentially a report card to tenants based on how many times they’ve been delinquent on rent, any damages, and other lease violations, to calculate how much of a rent increase should be made for a lease renewal.
  • Tenants get benefit of the doubt, because it’s physically impossible to live in a house and not, for example, discolor a carpet; that doesn’t mean a tenant is irresponsible. 
  • Look at all of your operational data and look at what is most easily made automated.
  • If you have the availability and means to hire a best-in-class property management firm that is focused on technology and processes, Bryan strongly suggests you do that.

 

3 Key Points:

  1. The usual KPIs may not be useful during COVID without added context and a human touch.
  2. It is vital to be open-minded and flexible about changing technology, changing markets, and changing industry standards.
  3. Your goals as a property manager should be to create stickiness for the tenants while protecting the investors’ assets.

 

Tweetable Quotes:

  • “There’s a reason that we do this podcast, there’s a reason that we do everything that we do—it’s designed to not just grow, but it’s designed to get better, to constantly improve. Because it’s a conscious choice to not improve.” –Jonathan Cook
  • “Why did a tenant that would have been a 9 out of 10 tenant for the majority of their lease suddenly drop to a 6? Oh, COVID happened, they lost their job… There is some human element that has to be associated with it.” –Jonathan Cook

 

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