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A strong multifamily business strategy requires keeping up with industry knowledge and trends. Sector challenges and residential demands are constantly shifting, creating a dynamic environment for property managers to navigate. Awareness of these changes can help you to protect, maintain, and scale your communities.

Here are the top three shifts happening in the multifamily sector right now…

1. The use of fraudulent documents to get a lease

Over the last three years, the multifamily sector has experienced a rise in application fraud. This trend poses a serious threat to property managers, as it can severely damage their reputations especially if illegal activities occur on the property. On top of this, fraudulent applications consume valuable operational time and revenue — creating an undesirable situation for property managers.

The surge in application fraud is believed to be a result of the pandemic-induced lack of face-to-face interaction, with 85% of property managers reporting being targeted now compared to the 66% pre-pandemic. Other contributing factors include a general increase of fraud across society, easy access to counterfeit documents online, the rise in rent (15%-30% over the last year), and eviction moratoriums.

In response, 9 in 10 property managers consider ensuring that prospective residents can afford the rent as somewhat or extremely important during the application process. However, 84% still find identifying altered and false documents to be a significant challenge.

To reduce the risk of fraudulent applications making it through the screening process, property managers can invest in automated identity verification technology. CheckpointID, for example, authenticates prospects’ government-issued ID and a portrait photo against global databases — reducing the risk of human error, identity fraud and streamlining the leasing process.

2. The rise of and impact of Intelligent Machine Learning

The development of intelligent machine learning technology transforming the way multifamily property managers operate their businesses. Machine learning significantly reduces human errors by automating daily operations, such as monitoring smart home device data to prevent and promptly address HVAC or water system issues. Other tasks that can be automated by AI tech include rent collection, maintenance work orders, and leasing renewals — freeing up your time and that of onsite employees to focus on improving operational efficiency.

AI solutions can also contribute to improved building energy efficiency, resulting in cost savings and increased sustainability. Smart thermostats, for example, provide real-time analysis of unit temperature and will send alerts when abnormalities are noticed, preventing energy waste and system damage. This technology also enables property managers and residents to adjust energy consumption at the touch of a button using a remote mobile app, offering advanced management and convenience.

3. Diversity and inclusion

To create an exceptional living and working environment for your multifamily residents and employees, it is essential to prioritize diversity and inclusion in your business strategy.

For residents, this means tailoring your marketing and properties to be more inclusive and accommodating of the wants/needs of all generations, including seniors who may prefer multifamily properties over retirement communities. Make sure you’re up to date on the needs of every generation, from Generation Z to Baby Boomers. Luckily, there are common themes that appeal to everyone, no matter their generation or mobility such as tech-forward convenient living and energy efficiency.

Similarly, fostering an inclusive environment for your employees is crucial. The National Multifamily Housing Council (NMHC) has championed diversity, equity and inclusion (DEI) in the multifamily industry for two decades and offers a toolkit to support property managers in creating a suitable environment. Providing an inclusive workplace will improve job satisfaction leading to increased motivation and happier employees.

Key takeaways

  • Multifamily property managers can protect their businesses from fraudulent applications during the leasing process by adopting smart tech solutions.
  • AI technology has the power to streamline property management for operational efficiency.
  • Diversity and inclusion efforts will elevate the experience of both multifamily residents and employees.

In the ever-changing landscape of multifamily housing, it’s essential for property managers to stay up-to-date on sector trends to protect their business and provide the best service possible for residents and employees.

For more information on multifamily technology, read our whitepaper on how asset owners can make smart investments in property automation technology here.