Success Story

Berlin’s Gewobag housing company implements fully integrated rental debt consulting with easysquare workflow

Rental arrears and losses are among the greatest business risks for housing companies: They diminish earnings and, at the same time, generate an added workload in housing administration. This can have a substantial effect, not least due to the small-scale tenancy structure.
IT&I Magazin Nr. 20 - "Berliner Gewobag setzt auf voll integrierte Mietschuldnerberatung mit easysquare workflow"

Landlords can, of course, terminate their tenants’ contracts without notice if they are two or more months’ rent in arrears; however, regardless of the legal possibilities, for large housing companies this is usually the last resort, taken only if no other options are available. Due to the large number of apartments they manage, these companies not only pursue economic business objectives, they also recognise their social obligation towards a large part of the resident population in the towns and communities in question. Thus, in the event of rental arrears, they usually first try to find another solution to avoid terminating the tenant’s contract. Providing well-founded consulting for rental debtors at the earliest possible stage is extremely important for this.  

Gewobag, one of the largest housing companies in Berlin has been using a solution developed by PROMOS consult for this since autumn 2014 – fully integrated rental debt consulting based on easysquare workflow. The company manages a total of over 70,000 rental units, of which around 57,500 are their own apartments, and greatly values a sustainable corporate philosophy. This also includes holistic support for tenants who have fallen behind with their rental payments. The great economic significance of this topic becomes evident, for instance, when we consider that more than 90 percent of Gewobag’s revenues, which were around 371 million euros in 2013, are generated from housing management with rental earnings making up the major part of this.

Informationstechnologie und Immobilien (IT&I) Ausgabe Nr. 37 / Mai 2024

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Through intensive consultation with tenants who are affected by rental arrears, the housing company aims to find solutions for reducing the rental debts before eviction becomes unavoidable. However, implementing a support process of this kind in a solution-oriented manner requires corresponding technical support in addition to intensive consultation for the individual tenants. Gewobag has developed and implemented a solution for this together with PROMOS experts. The close collaboration between Gewobag, as the user, and PROMOS, as the developer and software provider, was a key basis for the development within this collaboration of a consistent, practical IT solution that results in significantly improved efficiency when used at companies.  

In order to map the process of rental debt consulting appropriately, it was initially divided into individual process steps for easysquare workflow. Each of these work steps can be traced and processed at any time. The rental debt consultants at Gewobag receive the orders for processing outstanding rental arrears from the parent company. Order placement is performed directly in SAP® by means of an automated report when a specific minimum claim is outstanding. The previously specified individual work steps to be completed during order processing are stored in the responsible employee’s work basket in easysquare workflow. The easysquare application can be used to process all the sub-steps, from the initial contact with tenants who are behind on their rental payments to the consultation and identification of a feasible solution to the problem. The results of the individual sub-steps are documented directly in SAP®.  

This procedure not only provides crucial support for the process of rental debt consulting itself; it also creates a high degree of transparency throughout the entire Gewobag Group. Work volumes can be sensibly controlled on this basis and all involved employees – both in the parent company and the subsidiaries responsible for rental debt consulting – can view the work progress and all relevant data in the system at all times. This eliminates the need to keep and maintain Excel lists, which was previously necessary but comparatively time-consuming in practice.

Auftragsbearbeitung zur Mietschuldnerberatung in easysquare workflow bei der Gewobag Berlin
Figure 1: If a new order is to be processed, it is displayed in the work basket and processing can be easily traced based on the visualised process structure.

An automated report is created on a monthly basis to provide information regarding the processing status achieved as well as settled or still outstanding claims on defaulting tenants. As the entire process is executed fully automatically in SAP®, it is highly efficient. The process sequence is shorter and the error rate during processing is also significantly reduced. In addition, the high level of transparency significantly simplifies collaboration between the various parties involved throughout the Gewobag Group.  

A further benefit of rental debt consulting based on easysquare workflow is that this solution allows detailed time management with the aid of time specifications for completing the individual process steps. For example, every administrator has to complete the work steps stored in the process within a previously defined deadline. This includes calls to the tenants in question as well as clarification of questions regarding the reason for the rental debt or entitlements to social security in accordance with Hartz IV (unemployment benefit). If a processing step is overdue, this is displayed in the system. Based on the individual processes, the system determines what has already been completed, how much time this took and by what amount the original rental arrears could be reduced in this process. The latter also serves as a basis for measuring the performance-related remuneration for rental debt consulting employees. Manual Excel lists are now unnecessary for these reports, too.

ALV-Liste in easysquare workflow bei der Gewobag Berlin
Figure 2: The ALV overview lists the individual processes and sub-process based on previously defined criteria. Users can jump to the relevant process via the process selection results list.
Overall, rental debt consulting based on easysquare workflow unlocks vast potential for saving time and costs and, at the same time, contributes to noticeable reduction in diminished earnings due to rental arrears. Another factor in favour of practical use of the solution at the Group was, not least, the fact that the newly developed tool could be fully integrated into the existing IT structures at Gewobag and complements the existing ERP software from SAP® almost seamlessly.
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