Direct online handling of landlord references increases efficiency and shortens lead times

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Implementing direct online requests and response submission for Landlord References enables faster verification, tenant acceptance, and move-in.

Client Profile

A leading full-service property management company with a vision to transform the landscape of property management services in the Pacific Northwest. Managing properties of all sizes, single-family, and multifamily, with the objective to streamline processes and cultivate relationships between neighbors.

 

Project Needs

As part of the rental applicant screening process, our client needs to check with prior landlords to determine how their experience had been with the applicants. Quickly and efficiently collecting and reviewing this reference information is important to making a decision about which prospective tenants will be the best fit for the rental property, and letting the selected applicant know they have been approved. This increases the likelihood of finding good tenants and minimizes the time the property will remain vacant.

Our client had a standard questionnaire to gather the necessary information and a well-established process for contacting the prior landlords. This process utilized email and other mechanisms to communicate with the references efficiently, but it still required manual intervention at many points in the process. These included preparing the reference questionnaires with the specific information required, monitoring outstanding reference checks to see if they had been returned, and entering the response data into other appropriate files after they were received.

The client partnered with ESN to identify areas where already known information could be auto-populated into forms, reduce the effort for correspondents to respond to the reference questionnaire, and automate notifications when the response was received.

 

Technology and Tools

  • Power Apps
  • Power Automate
  • SharePoint 365 Document Sets and Lists
  • Outlook 365
  • JotForms

 

Results

  • A SharePoint 365 based custom document set library and associated tracking list were developed allowing our client to set up the multiple reference checks needed for different applicants in the same property. A Power App was developed that enabled applicant and landlord information that had already been collected in separate lists to be selected and auto-populated into the reference check questionnaires. This eliminated the need to reenter information making it more efficient and reducing errors. When the reference check questionnaires were completed, the respondent could easily return them with a single Submit button click.
  • ESN developed the Power App to generate a JotForm specific to each reference check and send a tailored email with a link to the related JotForm. This link allowed the respondent to open and complete the reference questionnaire online quickly at their convenience and easily submit it when they are finished. The feedback information was populated into the appropriate document, so it is immediately available to our client for further processing.
  • ESN used Power Automate to monitor the reference check status and send a notification to the proper person as soon as the needed information was received. This allowed the next steps to take place immediately. eliminating the need to monitor whether the questionnaire had been returned yet.
  • The ESN solution eliminated duplicate work reentering the same information multiple times, increased response rates, and decreased response times for reference questionnaires allowing people to focus on completing their tasks, instead of checking whether the required responses had been received. This resulted in better screening for prospective tenants and faster confirmation to the tenant that they had been confirmed for the rental.