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by Taylor Short,
Market Research Associate
Last Updated: August 31, 2016

Rental property management software enables users to execute a considerable number of essential daily tasks to help all operations run smoothly for a given property. These tasks include managing and tracking tenant information, handling all accounting and billing needs, posting vacancies online and processing maintenance requests.

Rental property software simplifies these tasks by automating recurring activities like monthly rent payments and tracking income and expenses to help you monitor the financial health of your business.

Common Features of Rental Property Software

Software for rental properties manages one or more of five general functions:

1. Applications and tenant information

  • Tenant portals enable online rent payment, maintenance request submissions and even community forums for events or public notices to improve communication.
  • Customizable lease forms and easy document distribution help standardize the leasing process and make sure all required documentation is completed and archived.  
  • Resident screening lets you evaluate applicants’ credit history, criminal activity, rent history and income by initiating these checks from within your software.
  • Store vital tenant information like resident contact information, late fee reminders and work order history.

2. Rent roll and payments

  • Online rent payments eliminate the hassle of paper checks and trips to the bank.
  • Utility metering calculates and bills for tenant consumption of metered utilities so you don’t have to check and record manually.
  • Automatic alerts inform landlords and tenants of delinquent rent payments.
Sample Electronic Rent Payment

3. Vacancy management

  • Automated vacancy postings allow new properties to be listed faster and more easily, reducing the time it takes to fill vacant units. 
  • Automated notifications inform you about upcoming lease expirations.
  • Vacancy planning provides proactive identification of vacancies and under-utilized locations.
  • Space tracking helps manage the configuration of available space for move-ins and move-outs.
Sample Automatic Vacancy Post

4. Maintenance record keeping

  • Maintenance request alerts ensure all maintenance issues are taken care of promptly.
  • The ability to prioritize issues, work assignments, requests and other objectives that require immediate attention helps increase efficiency.
  • Maintenance staff management allows you to easily delegate tasks.
  • Service contract storage lets you easily reference records.

5. Financial accounting and reporting.

  • General ledger, income statements, balance sheets and accounts payable and receivable help you keep tabs on revenue, expenses and the overall financial health of your portfolio.
  • Payroll management allows you to calculate withholdings for state and local income taxes.
  • Tracking budgets against actuals allows you to view current revenue and forecast future cash flow.

Market Trends to Understand

Integrated suite vs. point solutions. Integrated suite rental management software combines a range of applications such as accounting, record-keeping and maintenance tracking into one system. In contrast, rental property manager software point solutions serve one specific function (such as processing online rent payments) and are either used in conjunction with other software or in a standalone capacity.

Size and number of properties. Certain rental tracking software systems are better suited for a large number of units or properties with mixed portfolios, whereas others are best for single properties with only a small number of units.

Web-based vs. on-premise deployment. Web-based (or “cloud”) rental property management systems store the application and all associated data online and are accessible from anywhere with Internet access. On-premise systems require software to be installed on a computer or server in your facility.

Mobile-optimized. Some rental property manager systems are accessible via tablet or smartphone, making it easy to view, enter and track data on-the-go.

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