Property Management Gone Wrong!
A few years back I took over management of a single residence home. I remember the owner reluctantly describing to me the damage done to the home by the recently vacated resident. I agreed to meet the owner at the property for a walk through and inspection. The condition of the home turned out to be worse than he realized. The junk furniture left behind was the least of this owner’s distress. Broken windows from an obvious break in, garbage piled on the side of the home, bags of rotten food thrown into the garage and what appeared to be the leftovers of an illegal marijuana grow operation including 25 large containers of wet dirt and marijuana plants stacked against the siding behind the home. Although I’ve seen this scenario with self-managed properties this rental was “professionally managed”.
Almost every rental property owner has their horror stories about bad residents, damaged properties and the difficult process of trying to evict bad residents and recoup losses. Here are five things that may alert you to the fact that your management company is not doing what they are being paid to do and it may be time to look for a new property manager.
- If they stop communicating with you
Your property manager should know about any potential issues before you do. They should be on top of things at your property, and they should be reporting to you regularly. You shouldn’t have to ask them about your property and you shouldn’t have to spend time managing the property manager.
A good property manager will have regularly scheduled times to call or email you. If you are noticing a lack of communication it might suggest there is something your property manager is avoiding talking to you about. It may also be an indicator that it may be time to look for a new property manager.
- Inspections are not being done
Property managers typically conduct a yearly inspection inside the property and a monthly inspection of the exterior. Regular inspections are necessary to ensure your property stays in good shape. You should receive a report that lets you know what sort of repairs are needed, whether there are any code violations, if your residents are taking care of the property and anything else you would need to know about your property.
It is probably not a good sign if the neighbors are calling you to report that the grass is three feet high and the garbage hasn’t been picked up for months. If your property is not being inspected regularly it may be time to look for a new property manager.
- Maintenance issues are not being addressed
Not making needed repairs will strain the best landlord-tenant relationship. Not to mention if the repair is major enough to make the place uninhabitable, your tenant might have grounds to break the lease.
If a tenant needs something repaired your property manager should let you know immediately and then arrange for the job to get done in a timely manner. If your tenant contacts you because they can’t get any help from your property manager, it may be time to look for a new property manager.
- You are not receiving monthly reports
Every month, your property manager should send you a report of your income and expenses related to your property. The report should list how much rent was collected, how much was deducted in property management fees, how much was taken out for maintenance, etc. Other reports such as a rent roll, a delinquency report and periodic market surveys are also essential. If you or your accountant are not receiving the needed reports monthly it may be time to look for a new property manager.
- You are consistently getting bad tenants
Properly screening potential residents is critical for reducing risk to your property, avoiding legal issues and preventing vacancy loss. Happy, long term residents will also cut down on turnover costs. Your property manager should be responsible for screening applicants. If they are moving in tenants that do not pay on time, damage your property and generally cause you grief it may indicate they were not properly screened. If this happening it may be time to look for a new property manager.
At Kinetic Properties, we are always looking to improve and welcome your suggestions. We’d be delighted to work with you.