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Best Nest creates innovative rewards program to ease tenant vacate costs

An innovative property management agency on Sydney’s far western outskirts is set to introduce a new tenant rewards program that solves one of renters main pain points – the added costs associated with vacating a property.

Best Nest Property Management Director Alison Hatch said from October, tenants would be able to earn “vacate dollars” if they passed their routine inspections with flying colours and all she needed to do was say “thank you” for keeping the property at such a high standard.

She said each voucher would be worth $25 and tenants could accrue them throughout the life of the tenancy, to use on gardeners, cleaners or other local trades, to help them return the property to entry condition when the tenancy ended.

“What will happen is, they will get a $25 voucher if the property is to an excellent standard, where I’m not educating, I’m just saying ‘Thank you, great standard, everything (is) on point, everything is tracking really well and I appreciate you’,” Ms Hatch said.

“Four times a year they can get a voucher and they can accrue those towards their vacate costs.

“Vacates are a huge pain point for tenants. They find them costly, they’re carrying two bonds, they’re going through the stressful process of packing and moving and they’re looking for another property when they’re already time poor.

“And the expectation of a vacate to have it (the home) returned back to ingoing condition is becoming more and more difficult as people live in properties longer.”

The cost of the vacate dollars is something Best Nest covers as a service to their landlords and tenants.

Ms Hatch said in the past, Best Nest had supplied tenants who kept their home at a high standard with $25 fruit and vegetable boxers, but when the supplier closed his business, they sought feedback from tenants on their biggest pain points in an effort to ensure they supplied a valued replacement reward.

“When we survey tenants or when we ask them for feedback about what’s most stressful, it’s always the same – vacates due to the financial pressure,” she said.

“We’re fixing a pain point through this rewards program and I think that’s the way to look at any reward program you put into your business.

“A lot of people roll out rewards programs because they think they should or because it looks good… but I’d love for people to see how they can roll it out and how they can think deeper and take it to another level so that it really serves a purpose.”

Ms Hatch said as well as helping the tenants financially, the rewards program helped strengthen the three-way relationship between landlords, tenants and property managers.

“We feel like it’s an investment into our community, creating quicker bond refunds, less bond claims, higher vacate standards and appreciation because we’re removing a pain point,” she said.

“For the landlords, it’s the fact that they get a better standard of cleaning, so we’re getting smoother vacates at higher standards.

“And for the tenants it’s removing that pain point, helping them, assisting them and supporting them at their biggest need.”

Ms Hatch said another new element of the reward program would be a written award for excellence for tenants who received an immediate and full bond refund at the end of their tenancy.

Such tenants will also become a “best nester for life” and they can use that award to apply for any future properties with Best Nest.

Tenants will also receive a copy of their ledger, which can often go missing when rent rolls change hands.

But don’t worry, Ms Hatch isn’t selling Best Nest.

“I would love for that to be looked at as a national standard,” she said.

“People really appreciate it. We’re a conduit of service and we work for our landlord, I don’t work for a tenant, and I understand that role really clearly.

“But we work for people in a customer service experience and they are a customer and they need to have that level of service, and they need to feel like it’s a relationship between three people, not the landlord and myself versus them.”

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Kylie Dulhunty

Kylie Dulhunty is the Editor at Elite Agent.