Boost Tenant Retention by Using Portals for Maintenance Requests

by:
on October 17, 2019

Ask any property manager, and they’ll have a horror story about a tenant’s maintenance request getting lost in the shuffle. All agree that dealing with unhappy tenants is not only stressful—it’s bad for business.

Losing good tenants due to poor communication during maintenance requests is a preventable problem that property management software can solve.

Selecting software that comes with a robust maintenance request and tracking functionality will make the normally stressful maintenance workflow manageable and will go a long way towards keeping tenant retention high.

With that in mind, we surveyed 215 tenants to determine how they feel their property managers have handled maintenance requests.

Key findings:


  • 65% of tenants are at least moderately confident in their property to complete a maintenance request in a timely manner.
  • 44% of tenants want to submit maintenance requests over the phone, 31% through an online tenant portal, and 25% in person.
  • Encouraging tenants to submit maintenance requests through property management software via an online tenant portal will increase tenant retention.
  • Submitting maintenance requests with tenant portals reduces the amount of phone calls and manual work your front office employees will need to do each time a maintenance request comes in.

The majority of tenants have faith in their property managers

The good news is that, when it comes to rental property maintenance, most tenants have confidence that their work order will be completed in a timely manner.

With 42% of respondents being moderately confident and 23% being very confident, you’re more likely to find a happy tenant than not.

That’s not to say that all’s good in paradise though: 28% of respondents were only minimally confident in their property managers to complete work orders in a timely manner, and 7% weren’t confident at all.

In general, people are more likely to make a bigger fuss about a negative experience than a positive one.

Even though the number of tenants who are confident their maintenance requests will be done well is relatively high, the 35% of people who aren’t will cause much more trouble for property managers in the long run.

If you’re struggling with communication with your technicians, receiving work orders, prioritizing the order in which you do work orders, or completing work orders on time, you’re likely losing good tenants each time their lease expires.

Tenants prefer submitting maintenance requests over the phone

You might be struggling with maintenance requests simply because of how your entire process gets kicked off.


How tenants prefer submitting maintenance requests:




44% of tenants prefer over the phone




31% of tenants prefer online portals




25% of tenants prefer in person


If you want to be efficient and effective in how you handle and complete work orders, you’ll want the majority—if not all—of your maintenance requests to come in via some sort of portal.

Maintenance requests submitted via portal go straight into a work queue and are much more easily tracked and managed. Additionally, tenants provide a written description of the problem and can even include pictures or videos which give your maintenance team more context.

The more steps there are between tenant submission and the technician’s completion of the task, the more likely important things will get lost in translation.

Your front office employees have a lot on their plate between greeting potential new tenants, signing and updating package logs, handing packages to current tenants, and showing empty units.

No matter how good an employee they are, they won’t be able to relay important information about the tenant’s work order problem as well as the tenant his or herself.

Improve tenant retention and the tenant experience by using property management software

Submitting maintenance requests with a tenant portal not only makes your life easier, it’s much more convenient for your tenants as well.

Day or night, your tenants can submit a request which will cut back on maintenance calls your front office has to field.

screenshot of Hemlane's property management software

Hemlane’s property management software allows renters to submit maintenance requests and upload pictures or videos of the issue any time of day

Your technicians can get through more work orders each day because they’re saving time each time they don’t have to stop what they’re doing to go get a part they didn’t bring because they didn’t know they needed it.

Tenants also have the peace of mind knowing they can go and check the status and condition of their tickets from a PC or mobile device.

Fully utilizing property management software will lead to greater tenant retention and satisfaction.

Additional tenant retention ideas

If you aren’t already, you should be actively encouraging your tenants to submit maintenance work orders via online tenant portal.

Aside from maintenance requests, there are at least four more amazing benefits to consider when you choose to use property management software that has online tenant portals.

On that note, if you’re looking to find property management software or switch to another system, our advisors are here for you to help you find the perfect solution for your property.

Give us a call at (844) 688-1783 to chat with an expert advisor.

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