Gaining Mobile Momentum | National Apartment Association

Gaining Mobile Momentum

Bringing property maintenance into tech-savvy times

The global mobile technology culture shift that’s changed the way we communicate and do business has dramatically transformed the property management industry for apartment residents and managers alike. And that transformation is by no means complete. Innovations, including exciting developments with mobile-enabled property management systems are now gaining momentum. 

With nearly three in five consumers utilizing a mobile device today and as noted in The Ocius Apartment Resident Insights Survey, 59.5 percent of residents prefer to make rent and utility payments with their mobile device. Today, mobile technology for renters touches all aspects of the leasing process, from the selection of a new apartment to application, through the conveniences of online payments. Many of the traditional paper-based transactions and processes can now be conducted entirely on a mobile device, thanks to the latest technology. Likewise, leasing consultants are trading in their clunky desktops for sleek tablets, allowing them to easily step a prospect through the leasing cycle from initial contact through online lease execution, renewals and move-outs — without being tied to a desktop.

For a truly mobile experience, there is a tremendous opportunity to extend the contact point for property staff and residents after move-in. Enabling mobile maintenance and work order requests can help to facilitate a strong resident relationship long after the lease is signed. Mobile technology can also serve as a game-changer in retaining residents especially when providing a means for them to conveniently submit maintenance requests from anywhere and in a way they prefer to communicate.

Here are a few examples of mobile maintenance applications that can improve resident services and staff efficiency:

  • Ensuring fast, prompt service is critical for most businesses, especially those that rely on referrals and renewals. For residents wanting quick service, submitting maintenance requests directly into the property’s work flow pipeline is made easier thanks to mobile applications. 
  • Management of day-to-day maintenance operations can be enhanced by moving the work order queue for residents’ requests to an online, mobile environment. Maintenance techs can access their assigned work orders from the field, add technician labor and inventory to work orders and record time, notes, and complete work orders in real-time. Even newer technology supports
  • more efficient dispatching of emergency work orders based on GPS location of nearest tech.
  • After work is approved and the problem is fixed, following up with the resident via their preferred method of contact, submitting a report to the main office, and documenting time and resources spent on the job is all mobile as well.
  • Integrating smart building technology with mobile applications is now becoming commonplace in standalone homes. In the future, apps like WeMo that allow us to control energy systems and household appliances will become far more commonplace. The ultimate integration to multifamily housing will be based on consumer demand for services and economic factors, and it should also improve property maintenance efficiency and reduce energy costs.

Expect to see your residents requesting these types of mobile-based conveniences. To beat the crowd and improve retention, be proactive about how you can enhance your mobile application services, exciting your residents, improving your maintenance protocols with more timely access to information, and bettering your bottom line.

About the Author: Dan Campbell is Vice President of Government Services at Yardi Systems. He can be reached by email

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