Everyone makes mistakes, landlords included. However, the bigger the mistake and the more frequently issues occur, the more likely you are to lose residents and money. Make sure to avoid some common landlord problems so that you can be as productive and successful as possible while keeping your tenants happy.
Don’t Let Common Landlord Problems Trip You Up
One of the most frequently-breached rules within property management is that the manager doesn’t establish the right kind of relationship with his or her renters. There are a number of ways that this could happen, including: the landlord tries to be friends with the renters, they avoid confrontation by any means necessary, or they aren’t able to accurately assess the person’s financial situation. If, when screening a tenant, you aren’t able to really judge what kind of person the potential tenant is, then you may accept someone who proves to be big trouble later on. Remember that you’re basically putting your trust “into the hands of a stranger,” so you want to be politely wary of applicants and, most importantly, do thorough background and financial checks so you know as much as you can about renters before they come to live on you property. If not, you’ll find yourself dealing with one of many frequently-seen landlord problems.
Previously, we discussed the Cash for Keys strategy in trying to push out unruly tenants. However, if you have a new applicant who is offering a lot of money to you up front, they may be one such tenant who has recently left a property after a successful Cash for Keys exchange. Though they may have seen the error of their ways, it’s more likely that they were encouraged to leave after they were determined to be problematic or somehow unruly. Remember, the Cash for Keys concept is built around providing a cash incentive so that the person will not only leave, but will also not cause any damage to the unit itself. If you have an “applicant who has a lot of money up front and wants the keys right away,” it could be a sign that you will have issues in the future.
If you are renting out, say, an inherited property, it could be that you’re too “emotionally invested” in it as a landlord because of the person you inherited it from. Imagine you have a multi-level home with two tenants living in it besides yourself. Your renters are complaining because the place is falling into relative disrepair, but you’re afraid, or unwilling, to change anything in or out of the house because you want to maintain the appearance that the house has had over the years. Unfortunately, the sentiment may end up being the reason that you end up with more than one unhappy resident. It can irk those who already live on the property and deter those who might otherwise have been attracted to it, garnering more and more landlord problems for you.
It’s another fact that has been mentioned before, but landlords should make their professional, business relationship with tenants the focus and avoid trying to be friends. This can lead to the property manager being taken advantage of, because they “are susceptible to veering away from their lease agreement, making exceptions for every sob story they hear.” Also, it could spread to further impact other residents, if the landlord is somehow giving preferential treatment to his or her “friends” rather than treating all residents equally.
Similarly, issues can arise if the property manager is unwilling to initiate confrontations to solve necessary resident problems. Though a lot of people imagine “confrontation” to be a screaming match between landlord and tenant, “confrontations can be respectful and cordial, yet firm and businesslike, and still get results.” Use a written notice, such as an e-mail, to explain the dilemma and necessary changes. With this more peaceful method, your tenants will likely respond more quickly and with greater respect for you, considering that you also treated them with respect and in a businesslike manner.
Just as you need to be flexible to be the most effective landlord you can be, you need flexible business solutions to work with. That’s why Anton Systems offers training with Budgetrac Property Management software. It manages all aspects of your work so that you can reduce repetitive tasks and quickly assess information. There’s so much that you need to keep track of on a day to day basis, so let Budgetrac’s robust software options help you to get it all done.