Renting out to flat groups, smart landlords may insist electing a Representative (Rep) for their flat group. Discover why it serves both parties.
When flat groups of internationals enquire for student accommodation, we ask the flat group to select and elect their Rep. This to engage in the exclusive contact with us (and/or the landlord). This Rep is often a friendly but strict person, practical and dynamic, trusted and reliable, looking to give positive energy to a year of synergy between tenants and landlord. As a contact person between parties, as a manager to lazy flat mates and as a friend to all. Win-Win to everybody.
Being a Rep is great! Why?
To us as desk and operational managers of the landlord, the Rep is our biggest friend. For receiving the same questions, remarks and complaints from 5 various flat mates is really no fun. Moreover, it suits nobody, it’s inefficient, it’s overcommunication and prone to mistakes. The Rep working with us one on one is the best guarantee for the best and quickest service. Additionally, along the rental period, a fine relationship will develop between Rep and us as well as Rep and landlord.
The Rep will then also understand what the landlord looks for and how he prefers to cooperate. This is the same in contacting the desk manager in charge of the rented apartment’s maintenance. When moving into the apartment all is new. Also, new tenants need to know how the systems in the apartment work and where for example the utility meters can be found. The Rep will get trained and coached by us to get to know all this step by step. This increases the service level and effectivity of technical support and maintenance.
The Rep’s proactive roll pays off!
Just asking questions, pointing at issues or asking for a favor is easy. In fact you are throwing your problem over the fence. Imagine you have to solve the problem. What info would you need or what help could you use? But also think of your flat mates who sometimes need to know about what is going on. The Rep is the linking pin! If our service manager is planned to visit your flat for a technical service, the Rep will be informed so that he/she can inform the flat mates, simple. Easy on efficiency, easy of communication.
Creating a win win situation will motivate both parties solving issues or challenges in a positive way.
When reported a technical fault, the Rep sending in a picture also works best! As then the service manager and/or landlord can get informed and suitable action can be taken. The Rep sending in proposals/suggestions to improve the flat groups stay in the apartment are always welcome. Feel free to let the desk manager know.
A rep about being a rep
Julius – May 2020
“As an international student at the Erasmus University of Rotterdam, I experience long days of self-study and educational interactions. The last thing I want to worry about is my living situation, as for many students this is a very stressful topic. m2 Student Housing (formerly known as Room-for-Rent) offered me an apartment in walking distance from campus. The team behind this operation is always very organized in sorting out issues of any kind and their response time is quick.
I live with 3 other roommates myself. I am the Rep for our group. Basically I am the communication channel between us and the landlord and/or his desk manager. This makes dialogue between the both of us very simplified and friendly. Whatever query we had, about the heating or fixing of a light switch, we were always helped very quickly, and if need be, even late at night. Of course we tried to fix most things ourselves before asking for help, which we learnt a lot from as well. As a Rep, I also learnt the important basics of being organized when it comes to important issues regarding my living situation. This is being on top of payments, such as utilities and rent, which can lead to unwanted and unnecessary situations. Luckily, my landlord was always understanding and helpful, and most importantly, they understand what it is like to be a student as well.”
Bianca – July 2020
“I had been a rep of our student flat (7 tenants) for more than a year. It was a nice experience. A representative serves as the connection between housemates, the desk manager of the landlord and the landlord himself. He/she is in charge of various tasks such as:
- paying the utility bills
- gathering the money for utilities from housemates
- keeping in touch with the desk manager
- making sure that someone is home to open the door for technicians or regular checks
- planning the cleaning schedule of the house
- planning house dinners, etc.
The reason why I became a rep is that I wanted things to get solved faster and not depend on someone else when it comes to communicating the problems of the flat to the desk manager. I knew this would be an extra responsibility. My flatmates would always come to me with any issue that appeared, but I was willing to do it as I am kind of a ‘control freak’ and enjoyed having the overview of our flat. My flatmates were responsive and collaborative when it came to my position as a rep. They appreciated my effort. Their responsiveness has made this role much easier for me.
Overall, being a rep was challenging, but I really enjoyed the experience. I had a nice collaboration with the desk manager and I learned so many new things (e.g. how to set up a thermostat, how to air a heater, how to set up a router, thinking along about the best way to reorganize the kitchen) which for sure will come in handy in the future.
In order to effectively cope with all these, the rep would need to have excellent communication skills as you should communicate clearly and concisely both to your flatmates and desk manager. Problem-solving skills for fixing problems yourself (remember that Google is your best friend 🙂 ), organizational skills, adaptability and flexibility, pro-activeness- whenever you spot a problem. Don’t overlook it, but try to either solve it or ask for help to solve it, and patience as sometimes things will not get solved as fast as you want, so you just need to be patient- communication greatly helps here as you should keep the desk manager updated on the progress and vice versa.
If you’re thinking about becoming a rep, I would just say to go for it as it will teach you great lessons and will gain you different skills, but also keep in mind that it can be quite time-consuming sometimes. However, looking back on this experience, I do not regret choosing to be the representative of our flat because I was surrounded by helpful people which made this journey very pleasant, starting from my housemates, to the desk manager, and the landlord.”