AI: The Future of Property Management?
New digital platform AskPorter uses artificial intelligence to deliver a range of traditional property management services.
The future of property management services could lie in artificial intelligence (AI) – at least according to the founders of new property management platform, AskPorter.
Powered by artificial intelligence, AskPorter acts as a concierge for tenants and a personal assistant for property managers. And the platform is causing a buzz in the world of property management, securing over £500,000 of investment and counting PropTech’s Faisal Butt, former TV Dragon James Caan and executive director of LSL Property Services, David Newnes, amongst its key backers.
Property management encompasses a wide range of different services, including managing maintenance issues, collecting rent, dealing with rent arrears and managing the end of tenancy process, including resolving any disputes or conflicts.
This new platform’s digital assistant, ‘Porter’ will take on a lot of these duties, as well as acting as a concierge to tenants and guiding them through making enquiries and reporting any issues. There will be some things that the AI platform may not be able to deal with and, in these cases, the query will be passed to a human property manager or other approved service provider, such as Adiuvo – an out of hours operator that has already agreed a partnership with AskPorter.
“This new technology has useful, practical applications that will add to and significantly improve the service that managing agents are able to offer landlords and tenants – both in AST and block management” said David Newnes.
“It will augment existing property management systems, saving time and cost and it will also take some of the hassle out of the many processes managing agents have to follow”.
A personal touch
The services and benefits provided by AskPorter are almost certain to be welcomed by the property management industry.
As founder and chairman of start-up specialists Pi Labs, Faisal Butt explained, “AskPorter has cleverly recognised that the property management industry is better positioned than most to take advantage of the developments in communication and AI. What I find truly exciting about this start-up is that weaving AI into property management is an opportunity to totally transform the customer experience in this industry”.
However, it seems unlikely that such AI-powered platforms will completely replace people. Managing a tenancy is a specialist job and requires trained staff to ensure landlords and tenants receive the best possible service. Property Managers have to manage a wide range of issues, and their expertise is particularly needed when dealing with conflicts, complaints and disputes – something that would be beyond the capability of a machine.
So, what does the future hold for platforms such as AskPorter? With its ability to save time and money, AI certainly has a part to play in the property sector. But, as we see it, it’s main role will be to enhance existing property management services, taking on the more routine, straightforward tasks, such as maintenance requests and rent collection, and thus freeing up Property Managers to spend more time on more complex issues that require that all-important personal touch.
So, with this in mind, it seems that the predicted redundancy of human workers is somewhat premature, and people will still be needed in the property management industry for some time to come!