Creating sustainable communities – How to inspire tenants to take action

Sustainability issues are a growing concern across all age groups. Among younger generations in particular, this concern is playing an increasingly important role when it comes to purchasing decisions. Research reveals that Generation Z (Gen Z) place high importance on brands that reflect their values, with up to 72% willing to spend more on goods and services produced in a sustainable way. The same applies to Millennials who are just as eco-conscious, with 75% at the point of changing their buying habits to favour environmentally friendly products.

There is also emerging evidence that the priority placed on sustainability by Gen Z extends to accommodation decisions. Recent research into what Gen Z wants from their living environment found that “80% of Gen Zs said it was important that their home has sustainability credentials when considering a new place to live.”

With 25–34-year-olds making up 62% of all tenants in Build-to-Rent, there is an opportunity for operators to harness this collective concern to create more sustainable communities.

Barriers to change

Our recent research report entitled Changing Behaviours investigated the barriers to change and identified the main reasons why tenants did not make the effort of becoming sustainable, from feelings of powerlessness, social norms and comparisons to mistrust.

Individuals often feel powerless to take action that can make a difference in mitigating an issue as serious as climate change, and this impacts their behaviour. Both our research and our discussions with tenants highlighted that in many cases, individuals believe that action at an individual level is unlikely to make a difference, especially when others around them aren’t doing the ‘right’ thing.

Furthermore, as humans, we frequently compare ourselves with others. This includes a comparison of our actions with those of others to determine the “correct” behaviour when it comes to the environment. If individuals believe that those around them are not engaging in pro-environmental behaviour, then they themselves are less likely to engage in pro-environmental behaviour. The opposite is also true – individuals will also change their behaviour to “match” others in a positive way, in order to avoid the disapproval of their peers – for example, altering energy consumption to replicate the reported usage of their neighbours.

Finally, if pro-environmental behaviour change programmes are perceived as lacking authenticity or ineffective, then individuals are unlikely to participate. Our discussions with tenants highlighted repeatedly that the way their accommodation provider approaches recycling, for instance, influences the level of trust that they have in their accommodation provider when it comes to wider sustainability initiatives. If recycling programmes are perceived as being tokenistic or ineffective, then tenants are likely to have reduced trust and reduced motivation to engage in pro-environmental behaviours.

The role technology plays in inspiring tenants 

Technology such as tenant engagement portals not only provide tenants with a centralised platform to access information about their building and communicate with management, but also provide an opportunity for tenants to engage with their community. By helping tenants to feel better connected to where they live, this increases the likelihood that they will feel more attached and responsible to their local community, and ultimately more likely to behave in a way that benefits the collective good.

Tenant engagement portals also offer a central place where operators can easily share information and advice about recycling, energy and water conservation, and sustainable transportation options, helping to better inform tenants. We’ve seen clients share tips on reducing food waste and provide guides on how to create your own compost bins. By providing easy access to this information, tenants become more informed and inspired to take action.

Tenant portals, like Spike Living, can connect tenants with other like-minded neighbours via various online clubs and forums. By creating a place where tenants can share their own useful tips, organise their own community events such as neighbourhood clean-ups or volunteer days, this helps to instil a sense of togetherness and collective focus.

Furthermore, operators can also use this as an opportunity to report on their own impact and the initiatives they are undertaking, such as switching to environmentally friendly cleaning products, replacing communal lights to use energy efficient light bulbs, as well as openly responding to feedback from tenants.

Additionally, Spike Global has worked with Utopi to enable tenants to view their own energy usage and track their progress towards reducing their consumption in the Spike Living portal. While a tenant might look at their smart meter and not grasp what a kilowatt-hour is, showing they are using more energy than their neighbours will make them instantly better informed. Examples include the amount of energy used compared with others living in a similar-sized apartment, the amount of carbon used, or how much energy is saved by turning the heating down by one click.

Operators are also able to use this data to set targets for reduction in consumption and spot outliers and poor performing tenants, allowing them to offer advice and support, as well as highlight potential maintenance issues.

Working to change the behaviour of tenants can reap significant rewards. For example, strategies that tap into the natural human instinct to conform to social norms – such as providing feedback on consumption and comparison with others – can result in behaviour changes that reduce carbon emissions in the region of 7%-35%. And that’s just according to some more conservative estimates!


Tenant engagement portals can be a powerful tool for inspiring sustainable behaviour among tenants. By providing information and education, encouraging competition and collaboration, and offering greater transparency, this can create a more environmentally conscious community.

It’s easy to imagine a not-too-distant future where a property’s environmental credentials and the property operator’s ethos around sustainability may be the deciding factor for sustainability-savvy prospective tenants.

Want to learn more? Then download our Changing Behaviours report below.

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The role tenant engagement plays within BTR Developments 

Tenants who are engaged with their local community are often happier than those who are not, so connecting tenants to one another and allowing them to form meaningful relationships with their local community has now become a necessity rather than just a luxury. 

It’s also far more cost-effective to retain happy tenants. Average turnover costsfor an apartment within the industry is around £1,200, however this number can often be significantly higher, depending on a wide variety of factors specific to the property.  

Although turnover to some degree is inevitable, in many instances, developments lose tenants because the living experience falls short of their expectations. Property managers should be striving to encourage tenants to consider the entire building as their home instead of limiting the idea to just their apartment. 

While it’s relatively easy to provide trendy amenities, great designs, and flashy décor, what really attracts tenants to a building, and keeps them staying year after year, is creating a sense of community and belonging that supports their wellbeing.  

Why engage with the community?

When a new tenant moves into a building, they may be unfamiliar with the surrounding area. Connecting them with others in the building, local shops and services, or details that can bring convenience to their lives is a great way of ensuring tenants feel engaged from the offset. Many of our clients team up with the local businesses to offer exclusive discounts to their tenants on anything from cleaning services, dog walkers to local restaurants.

Holding regular social events is also an important way in allowing friendships between tenants to blossom – whether that’s online or in person. Research by Apartment Life found that the more friends a tenant has within their building, the more likely they are to renew their tenancy. Without any friends living in their community, tenants only have a 29% chance of renewing. That number jumps to 38% if they have 1-3 friends, and if they have 7 or more friends, there’s a 47% likelihood that they’ll renew. Facilitating safe and easy communication among members of the community allows people to get to know each other more easily.  

The power of community

Investing in developing a community not only enhances the tenant experience – it can also lead to better outcomes. Tenants are more likely to behave in a way that benefits the collective good if they feel an attachment to the people, place and community in which they live. 

Although the link between a sense of community and pro-environment behaviours is an under-researched area, there is evidence that supports these observations. Fostering a sense of community and attachment to a place and to others increases the effectiveness of behaviour change campaigns in relation to both energy saving and recycling, for example.  

This is because when individuals feel that they belong to a community or want to fit in to that community, and their identity is partly attached to it, they are more likely to act in a way that benefits the collective good. 

The role technology can play in engaging tenants

Tenant engagement portals such as Spike Living can help to foster a sense of community and attachment, as well as empower tenants by providing relevant, relatable information. Research highlights that the presentation of data in terms of direct energy units such as kWh or in terms of CO2 emissions is difficult for users to understand. 

However, a tenant engagement portal that can present usage information in relation to others, demonstrate impact and employ gamification techniques to motivate tenants is more effective at creating engagement and driving change. Whilst a tenant might look at their smart meter and not grasp what a kilowatt-hour is, showing that they are using more energy than their neighbours will make them instantly better informed. Examples include the amount of energy used compared with others living in a similar sized apartment in the building, the amount of carbon used in a 10-minute shower, or how much energy is saved by turning the heating down by one click.  

Furthermore, having the ability to send out personalised, weather-appropriate tips to help tenants reduce consumption, as well as keeping the community engaged with useful information, can make cutting their carbon footprint seem like a positive achievement rather than an enforced misery. This mixture of education and competition creates a feedback loop of positive reinforcement that will keep the issue front of mind. 

At the end of last year, Spike Global, ASK4 and Utopi released Changing Behaviours, a joint research report highlighting how working to change the behaviour of tenants can reap significant rewards. For example, strategies that tap into the natural human instinct to conform to social norms – such as providing feedback on consumption and comparison with others – can result in behaviour changes that reduce carbon emissions in the region of 7%-35%. And that’s just according to some more conservative estimates. 

The report also explores and investigates the reasons why tenants, despite good intentions, behave in ways that are often at odds with these values. The reasons why tenants often fail to follow up on values with concrete actions are many and varied – ranging from feeling powerless to making a difference (especially when others around them are not doing the ‘right’ thing), a lack of comfort, a mistrust that their accommodation provider is genuine and authentic in their sustainability efforts. A lack of information on personal consumption in comparison to others also plays a crucial role. 


As the BTR sector continues to grow at pace, tenant engagement will play an increasingly important role in retaining tenants as well as driving down carbon emissions.   

You can learn more about the role that community can play in achieve net zero and other sustainability targets by downloading our Changing Behaviours Report below.


Spike Global selects Dorset Mind as its Charity of the year For 2023

Spike Global is proud to select Dorset Mind as its Charity of the Year for 2023. 

Mental health affects so many people from all walks of life; our friends, families, colleagues and neighbours. According to Mind, 1 in 4 people will experience a mental health problem of some kind each year in England. With 1 in 6 reporting experiencing a common mental health problems (such as anxiety and depression) in any given week.

Whilst many of us are fortunate to have a support network, not everyone is so lucky, and mental health can often go untreated and undetected.

Based in Bournemouth, Dorset Mind educates, challenges mental health stigma and inequality; and encourages recovery by empowering people to develop resilience. Their 1-2-1 and group support includes befriending, counselling, groups, and mentoring for adults and young people. Their training team delivers educational wellbeing for workplaces including the official Mental Health First Aid (MHFA). There are also volunteer opportunities across the charity.

Connecting communities and bringing people together is at the heart of what we do here at Spike Global. This year, as a company, we are committing to taking part in a number of fundraising events and charity initiatives to enable Dorset Mind to continue to raise awareness and provide support for mental health in our communities.

Keep an eye out for our collaborative blogs with helpful advice on how property managers can raise mental health awareness in their communities, updates on the various challenges we will be undertaking as a company, and the positive impact that Dorset Mind is having.

You can learn more about Dorset Mind and find ways to support the work they are doing here.


How operators can help residents tackle ‘Blue Monday’ 

Combine post-Christmas blues with the rising cost of living, and you have a recipe for a rather dismal January!

Taking inspiration from our clients, we’ve come up with some ideas that can be used to encourage a not-so-blue January and bring more positivity into your developments.

1. Establish online wellness clubs and forums

Across our client base, we’ve seen online meditation clubs, forums encouraging gratitude and positivity, to general social clubs, enabling residents to build real-life support networks right on their doorsteps. What’s more, research by Apartment Life found that the more friends a resident has within their building, the more likely they are to renew their tenancy.

By utilising our award-winning resident engagement portal, Spike Living, property managers can provide a secure and safe place online that is only accessible by genuine residents, ensuring that residents are not at risk from scammers and strangers. 

2. Digitally bookable fitness classes 

According to Mind UK, there are numerous studies that reveal how physical exercise can improve mental health, from lifting moods, to improving sleep and a great way to connect with others. It’s no surprise that fitness classes were the most popular events to take place across our client developments last year! 

By utilising Spike Living, residents can view and book available fitness classes within a few taps, all from the comfort and convenience of their homes. Spike Living also allows events and fitness classes to be ticketed and chargeable, providing an additional revenue stream for property managers.

3. Hold wellness events and workshops

Yoga and meditation workshops became the norm during the pandemic and have continued to grow in popularity ever since. One of our clients introduced ‘Meditate Mondays’, which had an attendance of over 1,000 residents in 2022 – yoga classes in total across our client base were attended by over 6,000 residents in the same year!

To combat loneliness and isolation, property managers could hold coffee mornings, Mindfulness Mondays, or provide in-person social networking opportunities to bring residents together.

Spread awareness of these events and workshops via our Spike Living portal to increase attendance!

4. Virtual or in-person mental health sessions 

Often having someone to talk to in a professional setting can make it easier to discuss anxieties or concerns. In some of our client developments, on site counselling sessions were offered for free or at a discounted rate, and all bookable via the Spike Living portal

Partner with local or established psychologists to connect residents to licenced professionals, whether via virtual consultations or in a dedicated on-site room.

We also worked with clients to implement a dedicated area within their Spike Living portal to provide residents with quick and easy access to a wide range of content from advice around mindfulness, managing emotional wellbeing, as well as providing a simple way for residents to ask for help, alerting on-site teams of anxiety attacks or residents needing immediate help.

5. Amenities dedicated to mental wellness

Provide residents with a dedicated area within their building, such as meditation rooms or wellness studios, giving residents the opportunity to get away from everyday stresses and find peace within their own buildings.

To raise awareness and encourage use of these dedicated rooms, property management regularly promoted availability of these amenities on the Spike Living portal.


Turn January from a sombre period to a month of new beginnings and opportunities, ensuring that residents feel supported and cared for. With resident experience arguably the most important element of any property offering, and a key factor when it comes to retaining residents, many property managers are now looking at how to provide additional value to ensure their developments stand out within an increasingly competitive rental market.

Download our 2023 Community Engagement Guide for more suggestions on what you could be doing to boost resident engagement this year


4 ways to enhance communication within your building

Effective and transparent communication is an essential component in any successful relationship, and when it comes to property management, it’s no different. Having an easy way to communicate with residents ensures you are keeping them engaged and increasing the likelihood that they will renew their tenancy.

With this in mind, here’s four ways to enhance communication within your building.

1) Clubs and Forums

One of the easiest ways to ensure resident satisfaction and reduce resident turnover in your development is to provide opportunities for residents to engage by connecting them to their neighbours. Unlike traditional social media, Spike Living can only be accessed by residents, ensuring that they are talking with genuine residents in their building, without being at risk from scammers and strangers. 

Research by Apartment Life found that the more friends a resident has within their building, the more likely they are to renew their tenancy. Without any friends living in their community, residents only have a 29% chance of renewing. That number jumps to 38% if they have 1-3 friends, and if they have 7 or more friends, there’s a 47% likelihood that they’ll renew.

The Clubs feature in Spike Living gives residents the opportunity to meet others within their building who share similar interests. From book clubs, to gaming clubs or even cultural clubs, residents can find a sense of belonging – often leading to longer tenancies. Through Forums, residents are able to engage in community discussions, share recommendations and further promote a sense of community within the building.

 2) Events

A great way to encourage in-person communication in buildings is through organising events. Spike Living enables both staff and residents to organise their own events to encourage gatherings and social interaction between each other.

From icebreakers for university students to Christmas parties, organising events can bring residents together and further boost resident engagement, helping residents to feel truly part of the community.

Spike Living also allows events to be ticketed and chargeable, allowing staff to easily understand what events are getting the most engagement, and how many residents to expect, as well as providing an opportunity to raise additional revenue.

3) Staff Communication

According to NMHC and Kinglsey’s 2020 Apartment Resident Preferences Report, 31% of residents who do not choose to renew their tenancy are seeking better apartment management. 

Communication with residents can be enhanced through a variety of features within the Spike Living portal. From push notifications informing residents about important maintenance and safety announcements to enabling residents to directly message the concierge or reception staff, encouraging faster responses.

By offering residents a mobile portal, you are providing them with a central place to communicate with you. Rather than being constantly bombarded with phone calls or emails,  you can simply review and respond to all queries that have come through via the portal.

4) Maintenance Communication

Having an easy way to report issues was seen as a key contributor to resident satisfaction, as referenced in almost 1 in every 5 reviews according to HomeViews 2021 Build to Rent report.

One of the most time-consuming parts of a property manager’s job is the handling of maintenance issues, with minor issues turning into major ones if they aren’t dealt with quickly and efficiently. Without an easy and simple way for residents to report maintenance issues, they can often go unreported.

Resident portals like Spike Living speed up the communication in these instances and allow residents to quickly provide your maintenance staff with a clear picture of the task ahead, with residents even able to attach photos of the issue so maintenance staff can diagnose the fault ahead of time, increasing the likelihood of fixing the issue in their first visit.


As competition within the rental sector increases, communication and customer service will play an ever-important role. Developments that do not offer an easy way for residents to easily communicate with staff and each other run the risk of falling behind. Spike Living makes communication within developments much easier and more efficient than ever, ultimately improving resident satisfaction and reducing turnover.

Want to learn how our award-winning Spike Living resident engagement portal can enhance communication and resident satisfaction in your property? Request a one-to-one demo below!


Changing residents’ behaviour is the key to meeting net zero targets

Latest research has revealed that encouraging residents to make more sustainable decisions in their accommodation can help to reduce a building’s carbon emissions by up to 35%. An independent study entitled Changing Behaviours, conducted in collaboration by ASK4, Utopi and Spike Global, investigates the behaviour of residents living across a range of residential housing to determine how their energy use can affect net zero targets. The research focuses on the barriers currently preventing residents making a switch to more sustainable behaviours, the importance of education, and the role behavioural science and technology can play in reducing energy consumption.

The research reveals that 65% of millennials and 70% of Gen-Z, would be prepared to make major changes to their own lifestyles to combat climate change. The report also looks into the challenges the wider residential sector faces when it comes to energy efficacy and examines the best methods to reduce excess energy consumption. Strategies that encourage residents to conform to the wider group can be used to promote sustainable behaviour too. Delivering energy usage statistics and data directly to the end user in comparison to their neighbours’ energy consumption can result in a more considered approach to the amount of energy they use, ultimately leading to a reduction in carbon emissions.

As part of the research, Utopi compared two identical electrically heated student flats, one of which was heated between 18-22 degrees Celsius, with the other heated between 25-30 degrees. At the end of a six-month period, data revealed that the overheated flat used 1670% more electricity – equivalent to an additional £1474, or 1.65 metric tonnes of carbon dioxide.

Ben Roberts, Co-Founder & CMO of Utopi comments: “Excess energy consumption is a longstanding source of frustration within the residential market, and in particular within the PBSA sector which is why it’s crucial to communicate residents’ own energy use in a way that is clear and easy to understand. For example, students will often open a window or turn on a fan before turning down the heating, leading to unnecessary waste. Our own research reveals a real need to balance student freedom of behaviour with the need to meet carbon emissions and energy costs targets, and it is clear that turning the heating down by just a few degrees can save hundreds of pounds and reduce our carbon footprint.”

Jonny Wootten, Marketing Director at Spike Global, comments: “Industry net zero targets are inextricably linked to residents’ own energy and water consumption. As we enter a cost of living and ecological crisis there is a real emphasis on how we begin the conversation to empower residents to take positive action and reduce their energy waste. Not everyone may fully understand all the jargon, such as what a kilowatt hour means. We use resident portals to engage and educate residents directly, in a way that’s easy to understand.”

The report found that turning the heating up by three points in an average apartment can double the amount of electricity consumed. This poses a serious challenge for the PBSA sector, which relies on the ‘all-inclusive bills’ model to attract students. While 70% of students found all-inclusive bills to be a key desirability factory in their property search, damning data shows that students use up to 35% more electricity than accommodation where utilities are billed separately.

Jess Glover, Head of Marketing at ASK4, comments: “Clearly there is an ‘out of sight, out of mind’ attitude. There is a stark need for education in the PBSA sector, and the solution begins with raising awareness of residents’ energy use via easy to access data.”

This data helps residents recognise and understand their patterns of energy and water usage, and crucially compare their results to others. As one resident cited in the research: “we can only know [how to reduce our consumption] if they make us aware of [it] and the operators don’t do that”.  The research found that this approach is most successful when data is presented in an empowering manner that is easy, attractive, timely and social. One resident added: “You need to compare with something or someone. Without comparison of how you are doing, you don’t know how to interpret your usage.”

Furthermore, there is mounting evidence to suggest that investing in developing a community not only enhances the resident experience – it can also lead to better outcomes. Research revealed that residents will behave in a way that benefits the collective if they feel attracted to where they live. If people feel like they are part of a wider community tackling climate change, they are more likely to join the movement. The use of resident portals offers an effective way to foster a sense of belonging within a building.

Jonny Wootten adds: “Resident portals can be customised to include handy tips such as location of recycling bins, alongside energy use messaging, making it easy for residents to make small sustainable changes to the way they live. Pair this with personalised messaging to motivate the end user, and timely prompts are provided when residents are most likely to be receptive, and residentially providers could make great strides to meet their own ESG targets”

                                                                   Download your free copy of the report below:

What to look for in a Residents’ Portal?

With the Build to Rent sector expected to increase fivefold over the next decade, operators will need to ensure that they have the right technology in place to meet the growing expectations and demands of residents.

With 92% of residents preferring digital communications, it has become a necessity to provide an easy way to manage their tenancy. In fact, developments that already have a residents’ portal in place typically achieve higher ratings as referenced in HomeViews’ 2022 National Build to Rent Report.

It’s not only residents that benefit – The Samanage State of Workplace Survey found that workers spend an average of 520 hours a year on repetitive services and tasks that could easily be automated. Having effective property management software in place can help alleviate redundant tasks, reduce inefficiency, and put more productive hours into your property manager’s day.

With that in mind, here are the top five features your Residents’ Portal should have:

1. Maintenance Management

One of the most time-consuming parts of a property manager’s job is the handling of maintenance issues, and without an easy and simple way for residents to report them, maintenance problems can often go unreported, with seemingly small problems at risk of turning into serious repairs.

Having a residents’ portal like Spike Living in place can speed up the reporting of issues, with residents able to quickly provide maintenance staff with a clear picture of the task ahead, and even attach photos of the issue so maintenance staff can diagnose the fault ahead of time, increasing the likelihood of fixing the issue in their first visit.

Property managers can also benefit from Spike Living’s powerful reporting module, allowing them to spot any building-wide issues to do with material defectives or poor workmanship such as faulty taps or leaking showers.

2. Bookings Tool

With onsite gyms, games rooms, dining spaces, and a host of other amenities becoming the new norm in residential developments, having an easy way for residents to book and interact with these spaces without requiring staff interaction increases the probability of them being used. Feedback gained by HomeViews for their 2021 Build to Rent report gave examples where residents were frustrated about having to email reception to book onsite amenities, which makes accessing them a lot more laborious than it needs to be.

Having the ability to access a residents’ portal via a smartphone app allows a room to be booked with a few taps, turning what could be a cumbersome process into a seamless experience. Furthermore, these spaces can also be chargeable, with payments being taken at the time of booking, helping to increase additional revenue for an operator.

Finally, on-site staff are likely already running regular social events for residents. With Spike Living, community managers can communicate and promote the details of the event, and drive all bookings via the residents’ portal, providing an easy way to understand how many residents to expect and helping to understand what events are getting the most engagement.

3. Parcel Management Solution

Although often overlooked, parcel rooms and delivery management solutions play an important role in the resident experience, with 13% of reviews specifically talking about how useful this was in the 2022 HomeViews Report.

Having an easy and efficient way to manage deliveries is becoming increasingly important as global online retail sales are expected to reach £515 trillion by 2023, with the growing volume of packages now being delivered to homes.

With Spike Living, staff scan packages as they arrive which then sends a notification to the relevant resident informing them that a package is ready to be collected. This saves staff from having to manually message residents individually.

What’s more, Spike has formed a strategic alliance with Quadient, a major global parcel locker operator and leading customer communications technology provider. By integrating Parcel Pending by Quadient lockers into the Spike Living portal, there is no need for residents to have two separate apps if their building has lockers installed. Instead, residents will receive a notification through the Spike Living portal with a unique code to gain access to their parcel, giving them peace of mind that their package is secure.

4. Streamline Resident Communication

Great communication between residents and property managers is important to making everyone feel welcome. Property managers should consider the effectiveness of sending emails and physical flyers which can be easily ignored. Instead, having a residents’ portal that allows for push notifications to be sent directly to a resident’s mobile phone is a more effective way of keeping residents updated and engaged.

Feedback gained by HomeViews for their 2021 Build to Rent report found that residents that had previous experience using resident portals instantly recognised how useful they would be in their new buildings. Residents who did not have access to a portal also believed it would help issues be resolved quicker.

The benefits aren’t just in allowing residents to have instant access to property managers, resident portals also provide property managers with an opportunity to be proactive, such as notifying residents when a lift is out-of-service, promoting onsite events, or more importantly, sending out an urgent push notification informing tenants within minutes about an immediate danger, such as a fire in their block, so they can take the necessary action like evacuating the building.

Creating ongoing, positive touchpoints with your residents helps you to build a sense of belonging, improve resident satisfaction, and increase the likelihood of renewals.

5. Community Engagement

Research by Apartment Life found that the more friends a resident has within a building, the more likely they are to renew their tenancy. Without any friends living in their community, residents only have a 29% chance of renewing. That number jumps to 38% if they have 1-3 friends, and if they have 7 or more friends, there’s a 47% likelihood that they’ll renew.

Spike Living allows residents to create their own clubs and forums, allowing residents to find like-minded people who share similar interests. We’ve seen residents start their own book clubs, and even arrange communal BBQs and beer tasting classes, to questions being asked on utilities and hairdresser recommendations to where to find the best pint.

Unlike traditional social media, Spike Living can be building-specific, enabling residents to meet like-minded people in their building, without being at risk from scammers and strangers. By utilising the ‘around me’ feature, much-needed visibility can be provided to smaller businesses, encouraging residents to explore what’s on their doorsteps. Property Managers can also partner with local shops and restaurants to offer residents exclusive discounts and incentives, all via their residents’ portal.


As the Build to Rent sector continues to grow at pace, it has become imperative that operators have the right property management solutions in place. By providing a centralised platform to manage all residents’ needs whether that’s handling package deliveries, booking the onsite amenities, or raising maintenance issues, this ensures operators are providing a level of service that residents have become used to and now expect. With an average engagement rate of 87% across its portals, Spike Living is proven to help residents truly live their best lives.


Streamline and enhance the tenant experience with Spike Lettings

The UK annual rental growth has now reached a 14-year high, with the average lettings agent processing in excess of 127 new applicants each month, according to a recent survey by PropertyMark

With such an increase in demand for rental properties, landlords and managing agents are under pressure to process each application as quickly and efficiently as possible. With the average tenant application taking up to several days to review, process and approve, often requiring a large number of manual steps, from performing credit checks, gathering various information on the prospective tenant to physically issuing paper contracts and waiting for both parties to sign, this can cause a lot of unnecessary stress and delays for prospective tenants eagerly waiting to hear if they have secured the property they want.

It doesn’t have to be this way – end-to-end tenancy management solutions like Spike Lettings can take the stress and strain out of the rental experience for both tenants and landlords or managing agents.

Spike Lettings streamlines and simplifies the initial process of moving into a rental property, empowering prospective tenants to easily find and reserve their ideal apartment straight from their phones. And because all the information about available properties is live and constantly updated, even when routed through third-party sites like Zoopla or Rightmove, tenants avoid the crushing disappointment of finding that every property they enquire about has already gone.

From a property management point of view, using Spike Lettings eliminates many of the manual processes that come about when someone phones and enquires about a rental property – instead, residents can do a lot of the work themselves online.

From the marketing of available properties, taking initial payments and reservations, sending and signing contracts and approving references, to managing the ongoing management once tenants have moved in, the whole process can now be performed digitally, reducing costs, and creating a seamless and stress-free experience for both parties. Spike Lettings also integrates with a number of third party finance management systems to automate the raising of monthly rent invoices, eliminating the time staff need to spend performing administrative tasks and allowing them to focus on value-add activities.

Once moved in, the advantages continue with the Spike Living resident engagement portal, where tenants can view financial information such as rent or see their payment history, book amenities, interact with their neighbours and much more, all via a smartphone app.

Meanwhile, property managers can review business-boosting information from the reporting aspects of Spike Lettings, allowing them to easily access reports, such as rent achieved, voids and debtors. This can be done for individual buildings and across a whole portfolio. They can also see at a glance, on our assets dashboard, the number of properties reserved, occupied and unoccupied, showing which property types are more popular, as well as viewing the scheduled move-ins and move-outs for that week or month. Key tenant information such as gender, age and salary can be captured and used to ensure relevant services and events are provided within a development, even allowing for tenant communications to be tailored based on certain demographics.

Jeremy Heath-Smith, CEO of Spike Global, comments: “Finding and securing a rental property, especially for the many graduates who will be looking at the moment, can be a really stressful experience.”

“We believe the whole process can be made significantly less confusing and less stressful by digitalising the entire applicant journey, so that prospective tenants can view the progression of their tenancy in real-time, communicate with the lettings team, sign contracts, and make payments, all online. Spike Lettings can even guide tenants through the process by giving examples of accepted documentation and a constant update on which documents still need to be produced, avoiding frustrating hold-ups for both the managing agent and perspective tenant.”


How PBSA operators can help international students settle into university life

Going to university for any young person is a huge step, which although comes with excitement, for many it can also be accompanied by anxiety. International students face an additional level of apprehension; moving hundreds or even thousands of miles away from their homes and loved ones, often dealing with the struggles of a second language and differences in culture, not to mention the pressures of academic success.

With over 605,100 international students residing in student accommodation across the UK (and growing), according to research by the House of Commons, providing a sense of belonging to those recently arriving in the UK to study has become imperative.

According to Student Minds’ latest report, a staggering 81% of international students reported mental wellbeing as a top concern, with 68% stating that making friends was their biggest issue at university. Loneliness has been found to be one of the leading causes of students dropping out, however, PBSA operators have the opportunity to improve resident retention by putting measures in place to mitigate the pressures faced by the international student cohort.

Additionally, acculturative stress is also a challenge that many international students have to grapple with, on top of the regular pressures of university life, all whilst dealing with culture shock and language barriers.

So how can PBSA operators help mitigate these pressures to improve the university experience of international students? 

1) Host events

PBSA operators can host events to help them settle in, from providing informative events specifically for international students to ice-breaker events in order for them to have a few familiar faces to kick off their university experience with.

By using Spike Living, operators can easily and efficiently promote their onsite events directly to their residents, even understanding in advance how many attendees to expect.

2) Create communities through clubs and forums

Allow students to find and engage with others who share similar interests within their building, such as creating a gaming, football or book club. By using our Spike Living portal, accommodation providers can ensure students are able to feel part of the community and make friends from the offset. Once students get to know each other online, they can then branch out and make plans to meet up in the real world. As Spike Living caters exclusively for building residents, it offers a safer alternative to groups on Facebook or other prominent social media, which are more easily infiltrated by spammers and strangers.

Additionally, through developing cultural societies, international students can develop a sense of a home-away-from-home, and the ability to feel close to their roots even in a different country. Celebrate cultural holidays such as Eid, Diwali, and Chinese New Year to ensure students still feel the same excitement for cultural holidays as they do back home.

3) Allow stress-free communication with the onsite team 

Moving to a different country can be a daunting experience for those who particularly struggle with confidence when speaking a different language. Having the ability to message staff directly without needing to speak face-to-face can take away the stress that can sometimes come from trying to engage in conversation. Spike Living enables these students to confidently contact reception or log a maintenance request all via a smartphone app. This reduces the likelihood of maintenance issues escalating due to a miscommunication between students and staff.

4) Introduce students to the local area

Much like local students moving to a new city, international students have often reported feeling ‘lost’ in their first year due to not knowing their new area. To make the experience less stressful, and to help them settle into their new home quicker, the ‘Around Me’ feature in the Spike Living portal allows students to easily see how to get to their campuses, local GPs, university facilities, and other points of interest around them.

Operators can even team up with local businesses to offer special discounts to their residents on anything from hairdressers, and coffee shops, to local bars and restaurants, all of which can be promoted to residents and driven through the Spike Living portal. This can help international students feel special and part of a community.


With the number of international students expected to continue to grow over the coming years, PBSA operators must find new ways to engage and help them feel at home. Spike Living can help turn what can be a stressful experience, into an experience they can enjoy.


Spike Global forms strategic alliance with Quadient to streamline package delivery as e-commerce grows 

Industry-leading property management and resident engagement software provider, Spike Global, is pleased to announce it has formed a strategic alliance with Quadient, a major global parcel locker operator and leading customer communications technology provider, to streamline the delivery of packages via its award-winning Spike Living portal.

With global online retail sales expected to reach £515 trillion by 2023*, and an increasing volume of packages now being delivered to homes, this forward-thinking alliance has been formed to simplify and enhance delivery to residents.

Parcel Pending by Quadient lockers provide a secure, contact-free way for residents to collect their packages. Whether they are working from home, commuting, or running errands, parcel lockers make packages available 24/7 so they can be collected at a time that suits the resident.

By integrating Parcel Pending by Quadient lockers into the Spike Living portal, there is no need for residents to have two separate apps if their building has lockers installed. Instead, residents will receive a notification through the Spike Living app with a unique code to gain access to their parcel, giving them peace of mind that their package is secure.

Not only do parcel lockers offer convenience for residents, but they also provide benefits for property managers – not least through relieving them of the burden of dealing with the fall-out from lost, stolen or damaged parcels. Deliveries are made directly to the parcel locker by a shipping carrier agent, eliminating the need for intervention by a staff member – saving time and cutting operational costs. As the recent rise in the volume of packages being delivered to homes shows no signs of slowing down, mailrooms are at risk of being overwhelmed. Having lockers in place can reduce the need for large mailrooms, with the space being put to better use.

Jeremy Heath-Smith, CEO of Spike Global, comments: “The alliance with Quadient will help streamline the delivery of packages for residents across the country. With the backdrop of growth in the e-commerce industry, we are thrilled to be working with Quadient to offer this service to our clients.”

Ian Caminsky, SVP & MD Parcel Locker Solutions, Quadient, adds: “People grew accustomed to ordering items to their homes during the pandemic, and it’s proving a permanent shift for many of us. The strategic alliance streamlines the process for residents with a unified solution, simplifying and enhancing package delivery. This minimises the amount of digital clutter to give the best possible experience to residents picking up their parcels.”

The Spike Living portal is perfectly tailored to each individual building and its facilities, providing residents with one simple, intuitive portal that allows them to communicate with the management and with each other – making life easier in a multitude of ways. From booking laundry services, reporting a maintenance issue, the portal makes routine communication quick and easy. Not just for the practical things in life – Spike Living can also help new residents to meet each other, make friends, find activities and get to know their local area by receiving targeted offers and discounts from nearby businesses. With the additional option of integrating parcel lockers, it is now more useful than ever.