Why ChatGPT wants apartment execs to try AI

With costs rising across the multifamily sector, efficiency and optimization are growing concerns for owners and operators...

Source: “Why ChatGPT wants apartment execs to try AI” by Mary Salmonsen for Multifamily Dive on June 1, 2023

With costs rising across the multifamily sector, efficiency and optimization are growing concerns for owners and operators and artificial intelligence tools would appear to be an answer to their problems. Property operation services, chatbots as a first point of contact for rental prospects and even generative design algorithms are among the AI-integrated tools on the market today.

OpenAI’s ChatGPT language model is among the most well-known and talked about of these tools. The program generates responses in a conversational way via the massive amounts of information on the internet, according to its creator.

However, it has limitations in terms of accuracy, potentially biased responses and what some detractors call a lack of common sense. And many lawmakers and experts, including OpenAI’s own CEO, are currently calling for regulation of AI-driven automation.

Here, Multifamily Dive “talks” with ChatGPT about AI’s applications in multifamily operations, its potential risks and the tasks it can and cannot do.

This conversation has been edited for brevity and clarity.


AI Tools Today

MULTIFAMILY DIVE: How are apartment companies using AI tools in their operations today?

CHATGPT: Apartment companies are increasingly leveraging AI tools to enhance their operations and provide better services to their tenants. [ Subsequently ] here are several ways in which AI is being used in the apartment industry:

  • Automated property management: AI-powered property management systems streamline various tasks, such as lease management, rent collection, maintenance requests and accounting. 
  • Tenant screening: AI algorithms analyze applicant data to predict tenant reliability. [ As a result ], this helps apartment companies make informed decisions about approving or denying applications.
  • Predictive maintenance: AI-based maintenance systems use data from sensors and [ IoT ] devices installed in apartments to monitor equipment health and predict maintenance needs. 
  • Chatbots and virtual assistants: AI-powered chatbots and virtual assistants are employed by apartment companies. [These tools] handle tenant inquiries, provide information about available units, schedule property tours and assist with lease applications. 
  • Energy management: By integrating with smart thermostats, lighting controls and other IoT devices, AI systems can adjust energy usage based on occupancy, weather conditions and other factors, resulting in energy savings and reduced utility costs.
  • Enhanced security: AI-enabled video surveillance systems utilize computer vision to detect and identify potential security threats in real time. [ Specifically ] these systems can differentiate between regular activities and suspicious behavior, alerting security personnel or automatically initiating appropriate actions.
  • Rent pricing optimization: AI tools analyze various factors, including market trends, competitor pricing and historical data, to recommend optimal rent pricing. 

Replacing Humans

Can AI replace humans in most multifamily operations roles?

While AI has proven to be powerful and versatile, there are certain roles in multifamily operations where humans are better suited than AI. 

[ Whereas ] human interaction plays a vital role in providing personalized customer service. Building rapport, empathizing with tenants’ concerns and addressing complex or sensitive issues require emotional intelligence, intuition and understanding that AI systems may struggle to replicate fully.

Evaluating unique tenant situations, negotiating lease terms, resolving disputes and handling exceptions and edge cases may involve nuanced decision-making that requires contextual understanding and flexibility. [ Therefore ] humans are better equipped to navigate complex scenarios and make informed choices based on a broad range of factors.

Do you think technology will replace multifamily executives or property managers?

While technology, including AI, has the potential to automate certain tasks and streamline operations in the multifamily industry, it is unlikely to completely replace multifamily executives or property managers. 

Multifamily executives are responsible for setting strategic goals, formulating long-term plans and providing leadership within the organization. They bring industry expertise, market knowledge and a vision for the future of the multifamily property. While technology can provide data-driven insights and support in decision-making, it is the multifamily executives who provide the strategic direction and guide the organization towards achieving its objectives.

[ Although ] technology can automate certain tasks and streamline processes, multifamily executives and property managers bring a combination of interpersonal skills, strategic thinking and adaptability that are essential for success in this industry. 

Risks of AI Tools

What are some of the risks associated with using AI tools in multifamily?

[ Consequently ] the use of AI tools in multifamily operations comes with certain risks and challenges:

  • Data privacy and security: AI tools often require access to large amounts of tenant and operational data. The collection, storage and processing of this data raise concerns about privacy and security. 
  • Algorithmic bias and fairness: AI algorithms are trained on historical data, which may contain biases and inequalities. If these biases are not identified and addressed, AI systems can perpetuate and amplify discriminatory practices. In the context of multifamily operations, biases in tenant screening, pricing or decision-making processes can lead to unfair treatment and discrimination. Regular monitoring, bias detection and algorithmic transparency are necessary to minimize the risk of bias in AI systems.
  • Loss of human connection: While AI can automate certain tasks, there is a risk of losing the human touch and personal connection that is crucial in the multifamily industry. Over-reliance on AI-powered customer service or interactions may lead to a diminished tenant experience and reduced satisfaction. 
  • Resistance to change and user adoption: Implementing AI tools in multifamily operations may face resistance from employees or tenants who may be hesitant to embrace new technologies or fear job displacement. Effective change management strategies, communication and training programs are necessary to address concerns, facilitate user adoption and ensure a smooth transition.

[ Therefore ] to mitigate these risks, multifamily companies should prioritize transparency, accountability and ethical considerations when implementing AI tools. Regular audits, monitoring and evaluations of AI systems can help identify and address potential issues. 

In Conclusion…

What do you think about the use of AI tools in the multifamily sector?

As an AI language model, I don’t have personal opinions or beliefs. However, I can provide an objective perspective on the use of AI tools in the multifamily sector.

AI tools can help reduce costs by automating repetitive tasks, optimizing energy consumption and streamlining maintenance processes. These efficiencies can contribute to cost savings and resource optimization for multifamily companies.

Overall, when implemented thoughtfully and responsibly, AI tools have the potential to bring significant advantages to the multifamily sector, improving operational efficiency, tenant experiences and decision-making processes.

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