As a property manager, your work is literally never done. Depending on how many properties you handle, you could be dealing with dozens of accounts each day. Handling some of the obstacles that tend to come up can seem impossible. But it’s important that every “speed bump” be handled with caution and care or else that small speed bump could turn into an entire road block down the road if mishandled the first time around. Here are the biggest challenges for property managers and some ways to deal with them in the best ways:
Handling Resident Complaints
One of the biggest challenges for property managers is definitely dealing with resident complaints. You might have tenants that never make a peep; in general, the majority just pay their rent and you don’t hear from them otherwise. But there never fails to be a tenant (or several) who has complaints to add to your already mile-high workload. It is, however, your job to deal with them in a professional manner or you could end up losing the account.
First off, you need to make sure you document the complaint. Between all the things you do daily, you will likely forget about the complaint or let it fall by the wayside. Also, having the tenant submit something creates a process they must go through each time the need to complain; this will many times keep them from becoming serial complainers who bring up small issues that shouldn’t even be brought up in the first place.
Responsiveness is of utmost importance; don’t let a minor maintenance issue become the reason your client is getting calls or emails from tenants. Also important is investigation; it is your job to investigate the claims to ensure the legitimacy of the claim. Was there in fact a noise violation or is your complainer not aware of what constitutes a violation? Be sure everyone is clear as to what a noise violation is before either causing one or complaining about one.
Lastly, put your response in writing. Nothing will cover you better than documentation and it will give the tenant closure and a definitive answer. You should also give them a response either over the phone or in person; a written notice should be the last step. It is clear, handling resident complaints is one of the biggest challenges for property managers and you have to be prepared for it.
Remember that speed bump we mentioned earlier? In some cases, it will indeed turn into an entire road block. As a property manager, dealing with conflicts is just inevitable. It is important to make things clear on all levels; in the rental or lease agreement, there should be clear definitions of what constitute violations and what due processes should be taken. Clear rules regarding pets are a definite must have.
If a conflict continues to persists after several attempts to resolve are made whether they be in person interactions, notices, emails or calls, and the problem looks like it may continue on into court, two options before resorting to this are arbitration and mediation. Seeking legal counsel from professional mediators can keep the conflict outside of the costly courtroom and help you resolve issues more smoothly. A good mediator helps the tenant and landlord or property manager reach a voluntary, mutually beneficial agreement. The mediator him or herself does not typically make the decisions in the case. An arbitrator refers the case to an impartial third person who will make the final decision on the case. If the case is submitted to the arbitrator, the two parties will be bound by that decision.
South Florida doesn’t usually have to deal with a lack of renters or buyers, but lulls do happen, and when they do, you still have an obligation to keep your clients happy and it might becomes in one the biggest challenges for property managers. Here are incentives to consider that might be able to help fill them:Offering a 13th month of rent free if they sign a 12 month lease and are in compliance with regulations.
- Offering shorter leases like 6-month or 9-months.
- Offering/adding new appliances. Sometimes a refrigerator, a new dishwasher or an upgraded a stove or oven can be the dealbreaker for some renters.
- Consider pets. You can always dictate the restrictions and the pet deposit.
- Returning part of the security deposit after the first year after the annual inspection. List the annual inspection as part of the maintenance of the property.
Retaining good tenants is one the biggest challenges for property managers if they begin to feel that there are better places for them to be or if they find out about perks other places are offering. Here are some ways you can make your quality tenants feel appreciated:
- Around the holidays, consider giving tenants an annual gift like a gift card or certificate to a popular food store.
- Give residents rewards for following contributing, following rules or staying in touch. For example, a gift card for someone who pitched an idea that helped keep the laundry room cleaner or if someone helped put a green, eco-friendly system in place for the community.
- Consider keeping the rent the same for tenants that you’d like to retain instead of raising it; or at least offering them 3 to 6 months more than everyone else at the same price they were paying before, as a reward for being exemplary renters.