From the point at which a tenant moves into a property, most communications between a tenant and their property manager are about things that have gone wrong. Principally these relate to repairs and unpaid rent.
In relation to repairs, tenants often do not understand (or care) that the property manager is an agent and cannot instruct certain works without authority. Some tenants are also under the misapprehension that all issues in a property are the responsiblity of the landlord.
That said, disagreements can be unpleasant for tenants and property managers. How many of you have been (or know a colleague who has been) shouted at by a tenant?
Property management is a relationship that must be conducted on give and take basis by both parties. Tenants, if they pay their rent on time and don’t cause trouble in its various forms, are worth looking after. Renewals mean that you get the fees, not your competitors.
A tenant may complain about seemingly inconsequential things that go wrong, but are they? What seems a minor complaint to a property manager could be considered a serious one by the tenant because they are living with it 24/7! In addition, complaints and repairs being attended to quickly create a good and caring image, which makes the tenant, appreciate his or her home and the rent they are paying.
We know that property management can be stressful. Days filled with conflicting demands and incessantly ringing phones.
Help yourself by getting systems in place to help you work smarter and to make sure that none of the balls you are juggling hit the ground. Prioritise tasks, schedule follow-ups and find out how works have been performed. A lot of this can now be automated so that you can spend your time resolving problems not organising your time.
Aside from systems always remember that you are in a people to people business. Build trust with tenants and manage expectations. You may try to do what you say you will but some things are out of your control. By keeping tenants updated problems can be nipped in the bud.
Above all remember that diplomacy is a key word in property management because at the end of the day it is all about income and looking after the best interests of the owner. That’s right, the owner the person who pays for everything and could be reliant on the monthly rent from his property.
No tenant is an angel and if too much slack is given by the property manager, then some will take full advantage of it and become the tenant from hell! Every property manager has one; if they haven’t then they are probably getting the job right.
Be fair and firm and if there is a dispute about a repair, a payment, refunding the full deposit when they leave, discuss it! Don’t assume that a tenant will just blindly accept losing money, not these days!
A manager must be explicit about why they are either not performing a required action, especially regarding deducting any money. They must be 100% familiar with the terms of their tenancy documentation and if they are not then watch out because the tenant could be.
There is a great saying about walking in another person’s shoes. Isn’t that what this type of job is all about, so enjoy it, don’t fight it.
Rajeev Nayyar is MD of Fixflo, a picture-based repair reporting system that makes life easier for property managers, landlords and tenants.
By guiding tenants to identify their precise issue, Fixflo gets you the information you need about a repair without time consuming calls, emails and inspections.
Fixflo also automatically alerts tenants to issues that they are responsible for fixing and steps they should take in emergencies to protect themselves and your property.
To find out more visit: www.fixflo.com