As a property investor, you face a variety of challenges each day. Maintenance, repairs, rent collection and – perhaps most importantly – ensuring positive landlord-tenant relationships can all be tricky tasks. Whether you opt to pay a property manager or go it alone via self-management, each approach has its own unique benefits and obstacles.
Justin Jefferies, CEO of Lodge, believes there’s an easier path, particularly for those who opt to self-manage. In his day-to-day role, he helps provide both landlords and tenants all over Australia with the tools they need to succeed.
“At the moment there are around 2.2 million property investors in Australia,” Jefferies explains. “About 500,000 of those self-manage their investments. Now, for some that’s a full-time role and they’re happy with it, but for others who want to play a more passive role it can be a significant burden.”
The key, Jefferies notes, is in consolidation of services and removal of hassle for the investor. For a flat fee of $19.99 per month – rather than the typical 6–7% of the rent per property – Lodge’s website acts as a facilitator between landlords and tenants. Lodge gives self-managing landlords access to a variety of tools they might not otherwise have access to, allowing them to do background checks through Equifax and find tenants on REA, and have tenants pay by direct debit and BPAY. It’s been a breath of fresh air in an industry that has traditionally been slow to embrace change.
“We see it as a way to provide you with tools you might not normally have access to if you’re self-managing the property,” says Jefferies.
Depending on a landlord’s specific needs, he explains, those might include finding tenants, background checks, looking after maintenance, or even just providing a place to collate tax paperwork. As one example, Jefferies points to Lodge’s rent collection service – one of the company’s most popular services for landlords and tenants alike. As a BPAY-owned initiative, Lodge’s finances are also protected by state-of-the-art encryption.
“Ordinarily, individual landlords can’t offer direct debit services, but through us they have access to automatic rent collection via direct debit or BPAY,” says Jefferies. “Once the landlord and tenant are signed up we’re able to send out notifications to both parties, advising when rent is due and when it’s been paid. It’s a ‘set and forget’ process.”
To secure a high standard of service across all of its channels, Lodge also aligns itself with a variety of providers. Jefferies points to ServiceSeeking for maintenance and H&R Block for tax in particular. The company also employs a variety of real estate professionals to ensure that advice given to clients is up to date and in line with industry best practice.
“We definitely see ourselves as disruptors in the property management space,” says Jefferies. “But to do that effectively, we need to make sure we align ourselves with effective providers.”
While just over a year into the journey, Jefferies is confident that Lodge has what it takes to bring about drastic change in the wider property management industry.
“Really, it’s about making things simpler and easier for everyone,” he says. “Who doesn’t want that?”
Beyond property management basics, CEO Justin Jefferies also sees Lodge as a tool that could help both landlords and tenants meet their investment and ownership goals. “Property investment in Australia is a bit of a ‘mum and dad’ industry,” says Jefferies.
“We run across lots of investors who’ve bought one property and want to buy more, but aren’t sure how they should go about it.”
Similarly, Jefferies notes, there are plenty of tenants who are also looking to own their own homes further down the line. “It’s early days yet, but looking ahead, I’d like to see the site incorporate more features that can help people with these aims,” he says.
WANT TO LEARN MORE?
Lodge is simplifying the landlord-tenant experience. We’re using technology to make it easy for owners to self-manage their property in Australia, increase cash fl ow without raising rent, and enhance the overall rental process. For more information, call 1800 945 266 or visit www.lodge.com.au
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