Pandemic Prompts Shift for Property Managers

June 4, 2020

Like all industries, property managers had to adapt quickly and develop COVID-19 policies at the onset of the pandemic to help keep associates and residents safe. Those policies are reshaping some of their business priorities moving forward, too.

AppFolio, a property management technology company, surveyed 1,000 property management professionals to discover their future outlook and how they’re shifting strategies to reflect new realities. Technology is gaining prominence: Seventy-one percent of property managers say they’re ramping up virtual showings and 43% have placed an increased priority on moving toward paperless leasing.

Property management companies say they are focused on three main outcomes since the start of the pandemic: increasing or stabilizing occupancy; collecting rent; and leasing vacant units.

Eighty-two percent of residential property management companies say they now have at least some of their staff working remotely. As such, they’re exploring new ways to engage with residents when in-person interactions are more limited. Leasing, maintenance, and collecting rent are more challenging when working remotely, the survey shows.

Property management firms say they’re relying more on setting up online portals to field maintenance requests from residents as well as doing more bulk communications to keep in touch with residents. Eighty-seven percent of property management companies say that bulk emails and text messages will remain important post-pandemic, the survey showed.

Regardless of the economic and financial hardships caused by the pandemic, property managers remain mostly upbeat about the future outlook of the sector. Sixty-six percent of property management firms say they’ve had a positive outlook for their business; only 4% had a negative one and 30% were neutral.