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How AI Can Work With Property Managers, Not Against Them


Artificial intelligence is transforming how the world operates and, as a result, businesses are making serious investments into AI tools. 

The global AI market was valued at $196.6B in 2023 and is expected to see a compound annual growth rate of 37.3% through 2030. The commercial real estate industry is among those looking into adopting these tools to streamline operations, which may send up red flags for some CRE professionals,  including property managers, who are worried this technology may replace their jobs. 

Karen Key, certified property manager and a division president and leader of the Southeast region for Asset Living property management firm, said that instead of taking away jobs, AI tools can help property managers do their jobs better in today’s fast-paced world. 

“If you are not responding to inquiries immediately, you’re losing their attention,” Key said. “AI has given us the ability to provide that fast-paced service while allowing the team to truly focus on the components of our job that need that human touch. It hasn’t replaced anyone, it’s just allowed them to be more focused on customer service.”

AI can help property managers prioritize the myriad tasks that pop up on a daily basis. Key said that if property managers have an AI tool running the building information management system, they can walk in every morning and clearly see on a dashboard what needs their immediate attention, whether it’s traffic, work orders or delinquency. 

“You’re not having to go and pull 10, 15, 20 reports like we used to have to do to check the health of your property,” she said. “You can also have people monitor dashboards from anywhere and help with tasks that don’t need to be done on-site.” 

To help with quicker response times, property managers can utilize chatbots to answer questions for current and prospective residents and even help with rent collection, a task that can be notoriously tricky in the multifamily world. 

A bot can send reminders to residents that rent is due or overdue on set dates each month, Key said. Her company has utilized an AI tool for this purpose, and it has resulted in 35% more rents coming in before the 10th of the month and overall delinquency going down between 2% and 5% on a given property.

“When our property managers don’t have to spend time chasing delinquencies, they get hours back in their day to focus on resident retention, h​​osting great resident events and creating an engaging community atmosphere,” Key said. 

Key recognized that there are a lot of AI tools on the market and some management teams may feel overwhelmed about where to start. She recommended starting by looking at chatbots that can answer simple questions since those, paired with smart home technology and self-guided tours, can allow a building to be open 24 hours a day for prospective tenants without the need for a dedicated team physically there.

“From there, the next tool to invest in would be an AI component that can help with current resident delinquency and rent collections because it is a game-changer in terms of allowing us to get the rent collected faster, which is in every owner’s best interest,” Key said. 

Along with sending regular rent reminders, these tools have a chat feature similar to the prospective resident portals, where they can ask residents for updates on when they can expect the rent. If the resident replies with a simple answer or question, the chatbot can continue the conversation. If the response is more complex, the bot can flag it on the dashboard so a property manager can step in. 

There are also AI tools to help with lease renewals, though they are not as widespread yet. Key said in the future there will be greater adoption of AI tools that can forecast when the equipment that’s inside the units is wearing down and needs to be repaired, which could significantly reduce costs for building owners. Chiefly, these tools can be used to fill in the service gaps that persist as many building owners struggle to hire adequate staff to meet resident needs. 

Key stressed, however, that a chatbot is never going to be able to do what a property manager can. It simply functions to remove time-consuming administrative tasks so managers can focus on providing superior customer service. 

“If you look at the evolution of multifamily over the last 15 years, we went from providing housing to becoming a customer service-oriented industry, a hospitality industry,” Key said. “Now everything is about offering an exceptional experience and customer service, which only a human can provide.” 

This article was produced in collaboration between the Institute of Real Estate Management and Studio B. Bisnow news staff was not involved in the production of this content.

Studio B is Bisnow’s in-house content and design studio. To learn more about how Studio B can help your team, reach out to  

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