Blog April 28, 2020

New proptech features to combat the uncertainty created by COVID-19

By Beth Schwartz & Jen Henkel

The COVID-19 pandemic has introduced tremendous uncertainty into the the economy. From determining how essential and non-essential business will operate and take steps to re-open, there isn’t a clear path to navigate. As the impact continues to expand throughout the multifamily and commercial real estate sector, thoughtful and responsible action will be required to support landlords, residents, tenants and clients.

As our MRI Software team looked at market conditions, spoke with clients and evaluated our solutions, we were able to identify some specific ways we could help. The team focused on how to surface relevant information to support decision making, track significant changes in tenant payment agreements, and even enhance communication with tenants as conditions and directions change rapidly.

One of the most significant challenges that both Residential and Commercial property owners face is balancing the occupancy of their spaces with their residents’ and tenants’ abilities to pay. As individual business conditions changed, these owners and managers are often negotiating alternative payment options with those tenants and residents. And, given how variable these agreements can be across a portfolio, they needed a way to track and process these new terms.

Deferred payment agreements

The deferred payment agreement feature in MRI allows the user to select the amount of rent and/or other charges to be paid by the resident or tenant at a future date based on the number of payments and frequency agreed upon between the management company and resident. Users can also choose the relevant deferment charge code to allow for transparent reporting between the accounting suites in the Commercial, Residential and General Ledger solution. Joining forces, team members from our UK and US offices worked together to develop a payment agreement feature that could be localized within the MRI Property Management solution.

New analytics dashboards

Information that is sourced from key metrics like Accounts Receivable volume or tenant retail sales numbers can provide a great deal of insight into the risk faced by an organization and their tenant base. Armed with this data, more informed decisions can be made and accounting, leasing and management teams can react more efficiently. To deliver this visibility, our Analytix team created the Advanced Retail Insights dashboard and the Accounts Receivable Insights dashboard to provide a view into this data. Since conditions vary across markets, the information can roll up to the portfolio level or drilled down to the property level. These dashboards can be implemented quickly and leveraged to support the business.

Effective communications tools

As this crisis evolves, there has been a growing need for communication from properties to residents and tenants. For timely messages regarding new procedures or updates to building or community operations, MRI has developed products and programs to ensure that the right automated communication tools are available during this time. Multifamily properties can quickly send messages to residents using our Callmax Automated Communications tools. In addition, commercial property managers can use MRI Property Cast for tenant communications via text, voice or email.

With the focus of keeping employees and residents safe, we added capabilities for our clients to further define what constitutes an emergency service request and the ability to ask additional questions during the online service request submittal process. Additionally, to help limit the number of requests coming in, maintenance teams can create DIY videos to display in Resident Connect, the resident portal.

The business challenges that have come to light during this pandemic are far-reaching, so we have enlisted the experience of industry experts to offer recommendations and best practices. In our COVID-19 Resource Center, MRI clients can learn more about reforecasting budgets in a time of uncertainty, how to provide virtual tours, and send Callmax bulletin communications.

As we transition through different stages of this crisis, we anticipate that the only constant will be change. The MRI team is committed to enhancing and evolving our products to support the needs of our clients.

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