HomeRenters InsuranceRenters view properties with tech support as 'highly valuable,' survey finds

Renters view properties with tech support as ‘highly valuable,’ survey finds

“It’s a perfect complement to the more technical buildings,” said Joe Settimi, senior vice president of Renters Solutions at Assurant. “As you move in, you might have connected locks. There are things with various appliances, and then as a tenant, you’re coming in with a smart TV and smart speakers and laptop and gaming systems and all the various tablets and connected equipment.” (Credit: Antonioguillem/Adobe Stock)

Property managers and tenants want a seamless move-in-to-move-out experience with easy sign-up for renters insurance and tech support, according to Assurant consumer insights research. Companies such as Assurant are working to provide just that with easy “pay with rent” options for renters insurance, deposit alternatives that free up funds for costly moving expenses and 24/7 tech support for all connected devices. These benefits may bring in new tenants and get them to stay long-term.

“[Technology] is making it so much easier, like so many things we do today,” said Joe Settimi, senior vice president of Assurant Renters Solutions. “If the PMC (property management company) has put together technology that is seamless… integrating various technologies or working with partners that can provide a single source or an end-to-end solution, I think it’s having a great impact, and not just [on] the lease process.”

Assurant surveyed 1,000 renters from various age groups and community types to learn more about what tenants need from their property management company or leasing agent and found:

  • 86% of respondents said a tech-support service would improve their perception of the property management company and brand.
  • 56% of surveyed renters said a connected ecosystem could influence their choice of rental property when comparing their options.
  • Nearly 20% reported needing technical support from their building regularly.
  • 62% of respondents said having access to unlimited and personalized tech support in their lease agreement would be “highly valuable.”
  • 57% of surveyed renters indicated personalized tech support services with a low fee through their property management company would be “highly valuable.”

“Renters’ priorities are changing as the demand for work-from-home amenities and other connected features become the norm,” said Ryan Lumsden, president of Assurant Renters Solutions, in a release. “As a result, 24/7 technical support modernizes a building’s maintenance support to address the new problems renters face without having to add additional headcount.”

Refocusing on maintenance

Newer buildings often feature connected locks, IoT thermostats, property-wide Wi-Fi and various appliances with smart features. Tenants typically bring in more IoT devices, such as smart TVs, speakers, laptops, tablets and gaming systems, and most property managers and their staff are not equipped to handle the various issues arising from these connected devices.

“About 20% of maintenance tickets are tech-related, which frankly is unsustainable for probably any property because they need to be providing the maintenance for things that happened to the property, not like ‘Hey, I can’t get on the Wi-Fi,'” said Settimi. He shares that a cross-platform connected living system can provide that tech support for residents and free up maintenance employees to focus on property-related tickets, like a leaking faucet. “It’s a perfect complement to the more technical buildings.”

Seamless journey, longer stay?

A tenant who has an easy experience moving in, connecting their devices and signing up for renters insurance could be more likely to stay on the property, says Settimi. That goes beyond tech support and starts at the lease signing with offering deposit alternatives for the security deposit to reduce the cash burden required to move in and incorporating renters insurance premiums ($15 per month on average) into their monthly rent. These small steps can go a long way for brand perception and tenant retention.

“As there’s more of these units coming on, often it gets more competitive,” says Settimi. “Occupancy rates will probably fall, and so they’re looking for things that can help them continue to create great living experiences and retain high occupancy.”

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