Technologically speaking, property management is a far cry from what it was just a decade ago. A business that used to be ruled by paperwork, filing cabinets, shredders and fax machines has been so radically transformed by sophisticated technology that the manager of an apartment complex needs little more than his or her laptop to effectively run a 200 unit building. And today, the name of the game is integration. Everything integrates with everything else. This is the gift of XML.
From a single property management platform, property managers can track an applicant from the time they fill out an apartment inquiry form online to the point that an alert pops up to notify the manager that the tenants' last rent check just bounced. The rental application? Filled out online and transferred through XML to the software's data extraction mechanism. Without punching a key, you have the tenant's name, phone number, references, and credit identifiers fully organized and sitting right at your fingertips. Need to perform a credit check? Integration! More and more of the popular property management systems provide a direct connection to the credit bureaus to perform an instant credit check. Tired of waking up every morning to a new service request for a broken light bulb? Do not worry, support ticket integration will take care of that and forward the service request directly to your maintenance team. Integration!
Yet, despite the obvious advantages that integrated property management software offer, far too many of these programs fail to incorporate – or property managers fail to utilize – background screening technology. Background screening used to be term quasi-synonymous with private investigators. That's not the case anymore. If you apply for a job with virtually any sizable corporation, you will have a background check performed. That urinating in public misdemeanor you got when you were 24?
Yeah, they've got that. In all likelihood that type of infraction would not keep anyone from getting a job, but corporations greatly understand the value of background screening and heavily reliably on the services provided by the countless background screening networks across the country. But when it comes to tenant screening and allowing people to live in someone else's property in close proximity with other people, criminal background checks still are not considered part of a routine tenant screening process. With XML integration, there's simply no excuse for this oversight. Dozens of nationwide criminal background research firms have adapted to the dominating HR-XML standard and are easily compatible with virtually every popular property management system on the market. The ongoing development of the HR-XML standard and its data interchange vocabulary for human resources is helping to facilitate this communication and foster faster system integration, but it is not enough. The human actually needs to use the resources in front of him. At this point, all you have to do is push a button for a criminal record check, a scan of the sex offender registry, and a quick review of active warrants. But that button's not gonna push itself.