Out of all the relationships we have, perhaps one of the most important but most forgotten is that of a property owner and their tenant. When you think about it, it’s really very personal: on one side is the tenant, who is choosing to live in the unit and needs it to survive. On the other side is the landlord, who must respect the tenant’s privacy but must also trust that the tenant will take care of the unit and pay the rent on time, guaranteeing the landlord’s livelihood. It’s a delicate balance, one that is often disrupted by falsified (or “fudged”) rental applications, late payments, damage to the unit, and shoddy maintenance. “Your business is not going to flourish unless the customer-vendor relationship is strong,” says Nathan Levinson, the Founder and President of Royal York Property Management (Royal York), a leading property and rental firm, and Mateem, his top property management software. “You can have all the bells and whistles and a beautiful unit to rent out, but unless that relationship is rock-solid, you’re going to struggle. That’s one of the benefits of Royal York – we dig into all the reasons that relationship goes off course and provide solutions.”
Nathan said he first learned about the problems experienced by landlords and tenants when he was around 7 years old. “My grandfather owned properties, and my father would have a hard time collecting the rent,” he remembers. “That was enormously frustrating for him, and I never forgot that. I’ve also heard stories over the years about tenants that wait weeks for maintenance requests to be fulfilled, if they ever are. I created Royal York as a solution.”
Strengthening the landlord-tenant relationship begins with Royal York’s extensive tenant screening process. “We have screened hundreds of thousands of applicants for our clients, who are more assured that they are choosing tenants that are good fits for their properties and reliable,” says Nathan. “So, already that relationship is getting off on the right track. Why choose a tenant who is only going to cause you headaches and perhaps even significant financial problems down the road?”
Through its realistic virtual tours, Royal York also helps the tenant understand the condition of the unit prior to occupying it. “This is vital for the tenant, of course, as so many complaints I have heard over the years have involved tenants not being satisfied with what they are renting or leasing. In our pandemic world, virtual tours of properties are now the norm, but tenants understandably want to see firsthand where they will be living. With our virtual tours, we include the properties’ deficiencies,” Nathan explains. “I have found that this actually increases occupancy rates because most deficiencies are not serious enough to cause a rejection. On the contrary, tenants trust their landlords more because they are being transparent about the condition of the units.”
Royal York further solidifies the tenant-landlord relationship by taking operating hours beyond the usual 8:00-5:00 p.m. “It is frustrating on both sides when there is a limited time to contact each other,” Nathan thinks. “Life in a unit does not stop when the office closes, of course. If there is a flood in the unit at 2:00 a.m., for example, the tenant obviously will want immediate assistance, and the owner will want to respond as quickly as possible to minimize the damage. With Royal York’s 24/7/365 services, landlords can react quickly, and tenants can receive the help, which keeps their relationship strong.”
Efficiency, he believes, is at the heart of what both tenants and landlords are seeking. “Tenants want to walk into the main office and get out as fast as possible,” he says. “Increasingly, they also want to just be able to do everything on their phones and not go into the office at all. Property owners, for their part, want their employees to work quickly and effectively, maintaining a well-organized operation that ultimately makes tenants happy. Royal York has designed its services to support this dynamic, as landlords and employees can do all of their work on one centralized, cloud-based platform, including background checks, monthly financial projections, inventory of vacant and occupied units, rent check processing, and more.” That efficiency, Nathan continues, creates a seamless operation that satisfies tenants and leads to fewer issues.
People are imperfect, of course, so there will never be the one platform that eliminates all problems. “That’s true,” Nathan says, “but at Royal York, we never stop shooting for that ideal. Why should we? We will always keep it in front of us as we work to provide landlords and tenants with the tools they need to be happy in their relationship with each other.”