There’s a familiar energy in the air, as countless students and their families file into dorm rooms and new apartments for the upcoming school year. Unlike typical multifamily properties, college living poses a different set of challenges for property managers. Instead of residents moving in at various times throughout the year, nearly every student-housing tenant moves in and out at the same time.
Before your residents walk through the doors in the coming weeks, we’ve compiled some important management tips that can help make this experience more streamlined and less anxiety-provoking for everyone involved.
With so many people present during college move-in and outs, it’s important to establish organized processes wherever possible that generate an orderly transition from home to school and vice versa. If given the opportunity, most students would line up at the crack of dawn on the first day of their lease, excitedly waiting to move into their new homes. But as you know from experience, that setup would result in chaos. Instead, consider developing a scheduled move-in procedure to ensure things go as smoothly as possible.
A few weeks prior to the new lease period, reach out to the incoming tenants with a selection of move-in time options. These designated times can be anything from 30-minute arrival intervals to different days entirely. You can then use Rent Manager’s Move Wizard Designer* to organize your tenants’ information from the get-go—property, unit, tenant name, move-in/move-out date, and time.
Not only will your move-in process be less stressful for your staff, but on-site moving resources—like carts, dumpsters, and water stations—will be more readily available and easier to locate. Parking may also be less of an issue for both new and existing residents when arrival times are pre-arranged.
“Where do we pick up/drop off our keys?”
“Where do we throw away unwanted trash or belongings?”
“Where should we enter the building?”
“Where should we park?”
Round up the answers to these and other frequently asked questions before moving day arrives to save everyone—your staff and your renters—a lot of stress. Create a simple informational packet that guides new residents through your property procedures and upload it to Rent Manager for easy—and automated—distribution via email. Items to include in your property packets include:
Your student tenants and their families are likely new to the property and surrounding area. Providing a map with highlighted points of interest can help reduce the number of calls and texts to your office. Rent Manager Online users can use the Bird’s Eye View feature* to create a diagram of their property and then call out designated unloading/loading zones, trash/recycling drop-off areas, pet-walking spaces, visitor parking, etc.
Move-In/Move-Out Best Practices
During mass move-ins/move-outs, students and their families greatly outnumber your staff. Create easy transitions by providing instructions and best practices for optimizing moving day at your property. Include how to pick up/return keys, a checklist of how the unit should look upon move-in and move-out, and contact information with guidelines for getting in touch with your team about moving-related issues.
Rules and Procedures
Be sure to include your community rules and resources in your information packet. Remind new renters about what’s allowed in your buildings and what isn’t (smoking, pets, grills, home businesses), tell them where to find shelter if severe weather hits your area, list potential damage charges, and any other important items tenants should be aware of on day-one of their occupancy.
Create A Community Culture
Community culture helps your tenants see their apartment as their home. To create a community feel, think about hosting a property-wide welcome gathering a week or so after the big move-in. This gives your tenants a chance to settle in and look forward to an exciting event where they can meet their neighbors. Creating a strong community culture can help your residents feel like friends rather than strangers, generate positive online reviews, increase retention rates, and develop an environment in which residents feel safe and happy.
The Big Picture
These strategies can be applied to any portfolio type. As a property manager, your goal should be to make these transitions as smooth as possible. Moving can be a big source of stress for everyone, but with the correct procedures in place, dispersal of information prior to the actual move, and the incorporation of Rent Manager’s move-in/move-out tools in your processes, a lot of that stress can be alleviated—for your tenants and your staff!
Create a property move-in/move-out experience that is not only memorable but welcoming. Positive interactions lead to positive feedback for your property!
*To learn more about these Rent Manager features, press the F1 key in your Rent Manager database to access the Help File.