When former apartment residents look back on their living experiences and assess their satisfaction, their lasting sentiments rest heavily on the final interactions they have with their apartment communities. So, why are so many renter relationships tainted after move-out?
Residents’ final impressions are often based on their move-out bills.
Renters who expect their entire security deposit to be refunded, or who incur unanticipated charges upon move-out, are left with a bitter taste in their mouth no matter how legitimate the charges might be. Unfortunately for apartment managers, parting on poor terms often leads to negative reviews from former residents. Even the happiest current renter can become a one-star reviewer after they receive the final billing statement.
In today’s marketplace, online reviews and ratings are an essential component of public relations for apartment managers, and move-out reviews from disgruntled former residents can severely damage a brand’s online reputation. Considering 85% of renters have indicated that online reviews influence their leasing decisions, the impact of negative feedback focussed on the move-out experience and disputed charges may be greater than most properties expect.
To help ensure that happy residents remain satisfied during the move-out process, many operators are removing costly security deposits and surety bonds altogether. After all the hard work that onsite teams put in to meet residents’ needs, those efforts shouldn’t be erased by billing conflicts on the back end. Property managers deserve positive feedback from the residents whose living experiences they cultivated, and renters deserve the opportunity to look back fondly at their leasing experience.
Quite simply, security deposits create an adversarial relationship between managers and residents that culminates at move-out. Residents routinely expect to have their deposits refunded in full at move-out, and they often count on those refund dollars to make the deposit at their next apartment. Management teams rely on those same deposits to cover cleaning costs and damages, and have little other recourse to recoup those costs.
Because a full refund is not always a reality, security deposits and deposit alternatives set managers up for failure from the moment they are collected. When renters are faced with receiving deposit deductions or repaying a bonding company, they take to Yelp, Google, Facebook, ApartmentRatings.com, ILSs, and other sites to vent their grievances.
Thus, in order to avoid move-out disputes and damaged relationships caused by deposits and surety bonds, operators should implement true deposit replacement technology.
Many operators are turning to an integrated insurtech solution known as Zero Deposit lease insurance that removes security deposits from operating infrastructure. Unlike surety bonds, which merely present deposit alternatives, lease insurance replaces deposits with insurance technology and provides apartment operators enhanced protection on every single lease.
“The multifamily industry is changing,” explains Marcie Williams, president at RKW Residential. “Replacing security deposits with lease insurance enables us to meet the affordability needs of our residents, simplify the leasing process, and protect our assets in an uncertain economy.”
Deposit replacement technology removes a major hurdle in the application process, as well as the inherent conflict at the conclusion of the lease. In addition, lease insurance deploys seamlessly at check-out and provides operators with far more coverage against damage or bad debt than traditional deposits and bonds.
By offering a Zero Deposit move-in, operators avoid administrative and financial hassles related to deposit deductions and move-out charges. In turn, renters are more likely to write positive reviews touting the simplicity and affordability of both the move-in and move-out experience.
Happy residents can become happy reviewers. More importantly, when residents don’t have complaints about move-out fees, damage charges, or cleaning expenses, it means they also don’t have a reason to post negative move-out reviews that can drive down property ratings. Instead, operators can benefit from reviews that positively reflect their apartment communities.
Deposit replacement solutions like lease insurance facilitate a seamless start-to-finish renter experience, which improves resident satisfaction and brand reputation. When prospective residents do their homework on a community, that bolstered brand reputation sets the property apart and ultimately results in more lead-to-lease conversions and increased revenue for your organization.
Instead of continuing to fight the old security deposit battle, operators should look for solutions that empower them to improve renter sentiment at their communities.