Property management requires that a network of people relay communications both among themselves and to multiple businesses in order to effectively deal with problems. The fact that this network is often spread thin creates an inability to efficiently deal with renter problems. The typical progression from problem to solution is drawn-out for many renters, but could be streamlined to decrease the stress and irritation these issues generate.
The first step when a renter encounters a problem is to contact a liaison to the property management company. That liaison then takes the complaint to either his or her boss or the home owner directly, explaining the issue and possible solutions.
Once the green light is given to finance the costs of solving the problem, the property management liaison must contact an individual or business suitable for the job. That individual or business responds with an appointment time when the problem can be solved. This process can take up to several weeks to complete. When problems require a higher level of urgency, tenants can be left frustrated, disappointed or both.
The core issue lies in the fact that communication must occur between five or six different people to solve each problem and beyond that, the level of attention and care varies from contact to contact. When the problem is extremely urgent, such as a broken air-conditioning unit in 100 degree heat or a broken pipe that is flooding a bathroom, damage can occur on multiple fronts.
The process is frustrating to anyone who has experienced it, forcing some companies to adopt vertically integrated, streamlined, owner/management companies. Vertical integration means that everything pertaining to a product or brand is done in the same place by the same people.
In this case, the property management company owns the real estate or building. Its employees manage a collection of its properties and more than likely, the company has contracted an assortment of employees to deal with property maintenance issues.
One such company is Cal-American Corporation. Cal-American, based in California, owns and manages over 25 shopping centers, apartment communities, and industrial buildings. While it deals primarily with apartments, many of its clients are business oriented, a sector where property issues could potentially cost Cal-American and its customers great sums of money.
The idea of vertically integrating and streamlining the rental and management process is one that Cal-American and many others in urban locations across the U.S. are mastering. Vertically structuring response processes means increased efficiency and better report with lessees.
In the business world, efficiency allows for quicker response times and happier customers. By purchasing, managing, and performing maintenance duties of the property as a single owner/management entity, company revenues and customer experiences can be greatly improved.