Managing operations for rental properties is tough, time-consuming, and document-intensive work. We sat down with the experts from Breezeway to discuss what operations are, how much time and money they take, and tools you can use to create more efficient processes.

Man fixing a window
Photo credit: CDC

What are maintenance and cleaning tasks that every landlord or property manager needs to consider for each tenant?

As a landlord or property manager, you'll need to consider all sorts of operation tasks that fall under routine property care, cleaning, and maintenance for your rental units. We recommend that all property managers establish maintenance and housekeeping protocols for their operations. For example, you can create quality assurance processes unique to each of your rental properties that include checklists for things like focus areas for cleaners. You should also be keeping record of maintenance requests, conduct move-out and quarterly inspections, and ensure property safety. There's certainly a lot to handle as a landlord or property manager!

How long do these tasks take for one 4-month stay, let’s say?

The time really depends on how much you do routinely, how efficient your process is, and the scope of all the services you hire, if any. Comprehensive cleans, which should be performed before a renter moves in and after they move out of the rental property, can take 4-8 hours for one cleaner, depending on the size of the unit.

On top of that, maintenance issues can occur at any time. To mitigate the time spent here, most landlords and property managers work with a service provider partner (e.g. plumber, electrician, handyman) to ensure the work gets done right and efficiently.

Preventative maintenance efforts can be performed on an ongoing basis to make sure you don't end up with a huge checklist of items to complete after a renter moves out. For each rental unit, catalogue appliance serial numbers and take pictures of a property’s layout and furniture. Keeping record of this information makes it easier to to quickly diagnose maintenance issues and reduce repair time and associated labor costs.

What are the benefits of normal maintenance?

You'll save a lot of money and headaches in the long-run. Routinely inspecting appliances, electrical elements, and furniture in each rental unit will prevent maintenance tasks from escalating to a larger fix down the road.

Doing routine maintenance doesn't take long; it just needs to be built into your schedule and process. Preventing emergency repairs eliminates headaches, tenant complaints, refunds, and sometimes even weeks in forgone revenue.

Landlords and property managers are on the right track. We saw that 70% of the professional rental owners or managers we surveyed planned on independently inspecting every property before a renter moves in. We recommend using digital checklists to keep everything in one place instead of a bunch of papers, and if you ever decide to buy software to help with your operations, you'll be able to unlock the full potential of those services.

I saw that Breezeway released an industry-wide survey on cleaning and operations. What were the most interesting results?

Our Property Care and Operations Survey gathered the insights of over 200 professional managers and over 2,000 renters. Questions regarding the cleanliness and safety of units and the general rhythm of property care operations through the lens of COVID-19 showed that our industry is hyper-focused on:

  1. Guest/renters expectations and behaviors
  2. Cleanliness and sanitation
  3. Quality assurance and preventative maintenance
  4. Technology and tools

Interestingly, 66% of respondents think renters will consider cleanliness and safety as the most important factors when booking a rental property (beating out price, location, and amenities), and 79% of managers plan on customizing cleaning checklists for each property (up from 49%), and 75% plan on amending cleaning checklists to include guidance from health authorities and regulators. Another important finding is that 88% of respondents plan to track property care, monitor staff, and ensure compliance in order to prepare safer properties.

I understand that Breezeway is a property operations platform. What does a property operations platform do? At what point should a landlord consider purchasing that?

Breezeway is a property care and services platform that eliminates the headaches of caring for property. As alluded to above, coordinating quality, safety and cleanliness across all your rental properties is challenging. You can streamline cleaning, inspection and maintenance tasks, directly communicate with tenants and owners, and generate detailed property inventories to leverage data and drive predictive tasks.

Before landlords or property managers turn to Breezeway, they're often navigation a mix of Microsoft Excel, paper checklists, and other manual processes that often leads to duplicative work, disorganized documentations and countless missed cleanings and repairs. There are so many documents to keep track of, which is exactly why we combined all of these processes into Breezeway so you can automate your operations and deliver an amazing rental experience.

What benefits do landlords see when they have defined cleaning and maintenance processes? What tangible benefits can professional property managers expect from revamping?

Upgrading your property care programs can save your business thousands in scheduling time, task efficiency, and labor costs while increasing client satisfaction and repeat stays. Expectations for hospitality and the real estate rental market have changed dramatically in 2020, and professionals should audit their processes and position their business to best meet the new expectations tenants have around the cleanliness and safety. Automating cleaning and maintenance processes will highlight the professionalism of your operation, and ultimately maximize client satisfaction.