Legal Compliance and Customer Service Drive Powerful Partnership

Aug 10, 2021
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In 2019, New York City passed new legislation requiring landlords to send out monthly late rent letters to all late-paying residents. The update represented a new hoop for Owners and property managers to jump through, as well as a potential payment loophole if operators fail to remain compliant.

ELK Investors – a real estate owner and property management company that operates approximately 1,000 residential units and 700 commercial spaces in New York City ­– initially tackled the requirements internally. But the company quickly realized a better solution was needed. Even though the company has stronger payers, according to ELK Investors Director Celeste Zervas, the new law still added a significant time burden to the day-to-day operations for the firm.

“When you looked at everything necessary to send out the letters to meet new legislation, it was simply too time-intensive to prepare a letter for each and every resident,” Zervas said. “You can’t just send a form letter. It has to be itemized for each outstanding item. It needs to be certified, so our teams were spending time printing the letter and going to the post office to mail them. It was labor intensive and costly.”

ELK Investors engaged Resident Interface’s Possession Partner solution in 2020 to manage the entire late rent letter process, which includes personalized letters to each resident and a corresponding confirmation certificate to the ELK team. Zervas said the value and time savings for ELK property teams has been tremendous.

 “The convenience of Notices is unbelievable, and it is so cost effective,” said Zervas. “With a simple click of a button, I can order the letters and the Notices team turns them around in roughly 24 hours. We are no longer spending hours or more sending out each individual letter.”

Zervas said the attention to detail that Resident Interface’s Possession Partner solution delivers also enables ELK property teams to more effectively capture revenue and navigate the loopholes presented by the new legislation.

“If you miss sending a letter the month of May, based on the current legislation you might forfeit the right to that month’s rent,” said Zervas. “Laws and court rulings have become extremely pro-tenant, and this scenario is one of many. It is important to have Resident Interface help ensure we are compliant and that we’re not allowing anything to slip through the cracks.”

Zervas said she would recommend Resident Interface not only because of its ability to meet legal requirements, but for the level of customer service it provides.

“It’s not every day that you can say you have a high confidence level in a supplier partner,” said Zervas. “Our direct account person, Laquia Bell, is phenomenal. I hear from her within minutes and she really goes above and beyond to be helpful. The Resident Interface team is totally efficient, and responsive.”

That service level helps ELK properties to stay on top of late payments, and limit negative interactions with residents based on delays in the process. Zervas said that leveraging Resident Interface Notices has helped to keep ELK compliant with the new laws, and also on solid terms with residents.

“As landlords and property managers, we’re always going to have some negative interactions with residents on late payments,” Zervas said. “But when the correspondence is delivered in a timely manner and we consistently present an itemized list of charges right from the start, it allows our teams and our residents to work through the process more effectively.”