Top Features to Look for in a Cloud Based Property Management System

Property management is a complex process that involves managing multiple properties, tenants, maintenance requests, and financial transactions on a daily basis. Using an outdated or inefficient property management system can make this process extremely difficult and time-consuming. A cloud based property management system centralizes all property and tenant data in one secure online platform that can be accessed from anywhere. This article outlines the top features to look for in a cloud based property management system.

  1. Online Tenant Portal 

An online tenant portal is a crucial feature that every property management system should offer. It provides tenants with round-the-clock access to their rental account details, property information, and a direct line of communication with their property manager. Through a secure website or mobile app, tenants can log into their personalized portal from any device.

Within the portal, tenants have self-service options that allow them to view their rental and lease agreements, payment history, maintenance requests and resolution status updates. They can make maintenance requests for any issues in their unit by simply filling out an online form and uploading photos if needed. The portal also enables tenants to make rent and other fee payments electronically through options like credit/debit cards or bank transfers with just a few clicks.

This makes payments more convenient and reduces the risk of late payments. Additionally, the portal offers a messaging center where tenants can directly contact their property manager to ask questions, get updates or address any concerns regarding their rental in a centralized location. Overall, a well-designed tenant portal streamlines communications, provides payment and information access from anywhere, and adds transparency to the rental process from the tenant's perspective.

  1. Maintenance Request System

A robust maintenance request system is one of the most important features of any property management software. This module allows tenants and property managers to efficiently log any issues, repairs or maintenance work needed at a rental property. Tenants can submit requests through a user-friendly online portal, describing the problem and optionally attaching photos. This gives property managers clear visibility into all open requests.

The system should allow requests to be categorized by priority or type of work needed (e.g. plumbing, electrical, landscaping etc.) This makes it easy to route similar jobs to the appropriate vendors. Integrations with a vendor database let property managers easily assign requests to qualified contractors, set delivery dates and monitor progress. Contractors are also able to view assigned jobs, provide status updates and upload completion documents like invoices or warranties.

Status updates within the maintenance module notify tenants and property managers when a request is received, assigned, in progress or completed. This provides transparency. Property managers can generate work orders from the requests with pre-populated details to track parts, labour and costs. Automated reminders help ensure no issues fall through the cracks. Comprehensive reporting on request volumes, response times, and vendor performance helps optimize property maintenance over time.

  1. Rent Collection and Accounts Receivable  

Rent collection and accounts receivable functionality is critical for property managers to efficiently manage tenant payments. An effective cloud based property management system should integrate robust tools to simplify the collection process and provide visibility into cash flow. Ideally, the system would allow tenants to make rent payments online through the tenant portal.

This provides convenience and ensures on-time payments. The system should accept popular payment methods, transfers, credit/debit cards, and e-checks to accommodate different tenant preferences. Automating late fees for missed or partial payments is useful for enforcing lease terms without additional admin tasks. Similarly, rent payment reminders via email or text help reduce delinquencies. Non-payment tracking with details on amounts owed and payment plans keeps managers informed.

From the property management side, comprehensive accounts receivable reports give instant visibility into tenant balances and property cash flow. Managers can quickly identify late or non-payers and monitor payment trends over time. Drilling down into specific tenant records allows auditing individual payment histories as needed.

  1. Financial Reporting and Analytics

Financial reporting and analytics are critical components of an effective cloud based property management system. They provide property managers with data-driven insights into the financial performance of their portfolios. Managers need real-time visibility into key metrics like rental income, operating expenses, cash flow, vacancies and tenant payment history. A system with robust financial reporting and analytics capabilities allows managers to access this crucial data in an organized, customizable and easy-to-understand format.

Advanced reporting functionality should include the ability to generate standard reports on income and expenses by property, unit, month or year. Drill-down features allow managers to view more detailed transaction information with a single click. Comprehensive tenant-level reporting on balances late and NSF payments is also important for monitoring accounts receivable. Powerful analytics and dashboard views help identify trends in expenses, rent collection and occupancy over time.

This helps anticipate cash flow needs and inform strategic planning decisions. Forecasting tools that project future income, expenses and cash flow based on customizable assumptions help managers plan budgets and financing needs. The ability to easily compare current performance metrics to historical data and budgets provides insights to maximize profits.

  1. Lease and Document Management

Proper lease and document management is crucial for property managers to stay organized and in compliance. Physical filing cabinets take up valuable office space and make locating documents a time-consuming process. A cloud based property management system solves these issues with a digital document management module.

This module provides a central online repository for all legal paperwork, applications, tenant files, and correspondence. Property managers can bulk upload documents from their computer or mobile device in just a few clicks. Documents might include lease agreements, background checks, property records, maintenance records, invoices, and more.

The system then allows tagging each document to the relevant property and tenant for easy retrieval later. For example, a manager could tag a tenant's application to their rental unit as well as the tenant's profile. This saves significant time spent sifting through physical folders. Additionally, integrated e-signature capabilities streamline the leasing process. Standard lease templates can be generated and then sent digitally to tenants for an electronic signature directly within the system.


Choosing a cloud based hotel system with these essential features allows scaling operations, streamlining communications, and gaining valuable business insights. Evaluating options based on core functionality, ease of use, reporting capabilities, and price ensures selecting a solution that meets current and future management needs. A fully-featured cloud PMS is a worthwhile investment for professional property managers.

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