PRS rental properties are by far the most numerous types of accommodation in the residential sector. Despite the rise of BTR, build to rent is in its infancy, and most renters aren’t aware of it. They’re still turning to traditional apartment buildings.
This is great news for any landlord who might have been worried about the future of their rental assets, but it doesn’t come without its issues for block managers, as it’s extremely difficult to keep on top of who is living in the building.
Having a parcel room in traditional PRS rental properties will make tenant management easier, as we explain below.
What are the Issues?
Most block management companies have staff working in their buildings who are being shifted into a second role. The huge increase in online shopping has turned front of house staff into postal workers, juggling the large amounts of parcels coming in for residents alongside their normal duties.
Not all buildings take in packages, and that can lead to unhappy tenants. But the ones that are accepting deliveries are faced with a completely different tricky situation; how to organise the 50+ parcels piled high in front of them every day.
Items are stored wherever there’s space. Cupboards, drawers, under the desk and the little bit of room staff have behind the desk become home to parcels. A paper log will tell the staff who is waiting to pick up a delivery, and where the package is being stored for safekeeping.
It’s not the most effective method, but staff are working with what they’ve got to hand, and it’s just one part of the wider issue at play.
While the packages are being sorted, residents are being pinged with emails from the delivery companies, saying that their parcels have been delivered. And while that’s happening, the building staff are using the details they have available to notify tenants that their packages are downstairs at the front desk.
Only it’s not always the residents who are being sent the emails.
Property management companies might have the unit owner’s contact details, but that doesn’t mean they have the details of the person who is actually living in the unit.
Tenants have to pay a fee to register with the building, an extra cost that doesn’t provide them with any benefit. So, naturally, a great number of them aren’t registering.
This means there are two messages going out, one to the landlords (coming from the block management company) and one to the tenants (coming from the courier). This is creating issues with GDPR as building staff are sending out information to the wrong people.
More than that, it’s highlighting that block managers don’t know who is living in the building.
The Bigger Picture
We’ll be looking back on the Grenfell tragedy for years to come, and while it is an extreme example of what happens when things go wrong, it remains a possible outcome for apartment blocks.
PRS rental properties up and down the UK will be partially tenanted by unregistered residents, much like Grenfell, and that makes it harder to identify potential victims when a catastrophic event happens.
Nearly a month after the fire broke out in 2017, police said they couldn’t find information on the inhabitants of 23 of the apartments, prompting discussions on illegal subletting and the potential of illegal immigrants living there.
Not only were relatives having to endure an agonisingly long wait to find out if their family members fell victim to the fire, but it also meant that at least 23 people were completely unknown to the staff and other residents. This put their safety at risk even further, as the unknown tenants were unlikely to have had thorough background checks.
How Can a Parcel Room Help PRS Rental Properties?
The UK is a nation of online shoppers. 86% of us make purchases through eCommerce outlets, and that figure is expected to rise to nearly 90% by 2025. With that in mind, it’s very likely that the tenants living in your building will be expecting a parcel or two in the near future.
A parcel room with automated features can help in PRS rental properties, as residents have to be registered to use it. When a courier makes a delivery, the electronic logging system will catch if a package belongs to someone who hasn’t made themselves known to your building staff.
And if they’re not registered, the parcel won’t be successfully delivered.
No one wants to have their packages refused, so it will encourage the tenants to register with your system. The fees that come with signing up with your company more than justify the costs of getting to use a parcel room and ensuring no package is ever turned away.
While it is ultimately a registration fee, you’re putting a positive spin on it that means tenants actually benefit from signing up. By marketing it like that, you’re likely to see less resistance.
Making Life Easier for You & Your Staff
Having every tenant background-checked and accounted for is essential to the safety and wellbeing of everyone who lives and works in PRS rental properties.
While having a parcel room is a fantastic and cost-effective way to get the details you need, it’s also a great way to save your staff hundreds of hours every year on package management.
With the time saved and all the tenants registered, you can be sure that your building is running efficiently and safely.
To learn more about our parcel management solutions, make sure to get in touch with a member of our team.