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Property Managers have the Skills to Handle Tricky Tenant Situations

Image is two heads, one in blue and one in red, facing away from each other.Being a rental property owner can seem pretty straightforward, and a lot of the time it is.  But it’s not straightforward and simple all the time.  Inexperienced rental property owners can sometimes view being a landlord as a process of finding a good tenant, completing a lease agreement, and collecting rent until they move out.  On the best of days, that’s how investment property ownership can be.  Not every day is the best of days however.  Rental property ownership also involves dealing with complex maintenance issues, angry tenants, missed rent payments, rule violations, and tenant conflict.  This is why so many rental property owners choose to hire an experienced property manager like Martin Feinberg.  Professional property managers and their teams have the soft skills necessary to deal with tricky tenant situations.

Below are some examples of how property managers and the skills they bring with them can greatly impact tenant-landlord relationships.  These skills can help manage tricky tenant situations when they arise, and sometimes keep them from arising altogether.

Tenant Complaints

Tenant complaints can be anything from a faulty security gate to the amount of time the elevator takes to get to the first floor.  A good property manager will listen to the tenant’s concerns and validate them.

If the problem can be solved then property managers and members of their team should thank the tenant for bringing it up and outline what they will be doing to resolve the issue.  By encouraging tenant input, tenants feel they are a part of the solution and tend to leave the exchange happy.

If a problem can’t be fixed then the property manager should explain why and still thank the tenant for their feedback.

Missed Payments

Every experienced property manager knows that missed payments are eventually going to happen.  When they do, property managers need to be strict and follow the terms of the lease without being rude or confrontational.

The first time a tenant misses a payment the property manager should just notify them and include a copy of their lease agreement in the notification.  For good tenants, late fees are sometimes waived. If it happens again though, then property managers need to take these three steps:

  • Communicate to with the tenantthat missed payments will not be tolerated and outline what the late fees will be and what legal proceedings will follow if rent is not received by a certain date.
  • Remain professional and communicate with the tenant via email or phone.
  • Never confronta tenant at their home or in common spaces.Property managers should not call or email more than needed.  Tenants must not ever feel harassed.

Undesirable Maintenance or Construction

Maintenance and improvement projects are inevitable and every property manager should know how to handle them so they cause the least amount of inconvenience possible to tenants.

When a project is imminent, tenants should receive a notice through every available channel of communication possible letting them know what will be happening and when.  The notice should include a phone number or email address where tenants with questions can reach someone with answers.  Such questions should be addressed as soon as possible.

Tenant Conflict Resolution

Where there are neighbors, there will sometimes be conflict between them.  Property managers will occasionally need to help with conflict resolution in such situations.  This is especially true if both parties involved in the conflict are living in units managed by the same property management company.

Some conflict happens when one resident is blatantly disregarding the rules of the property or their lease. When property managers make sure that all rules are clearly understood and enforced it can help nip tenant conflict in the bud.

Some conflict comes about because of perceived ruleviolations.  Sometimes one tenant may feel that another is breaking a rule at their expense.  These are the kinds of tenant conflicts that can be especially difficult to manage.

If possible, such conflict should be handled by having all parties come together to work towards a resolution.  However, if one tenant is being unreasonable in their expectations (if they are asking another tenant not to use their patio, for example, because they don’t like the noise it causes) then it is usually best for the property manager to speak to that tenant privately without the other tenant around.

Property managers need to be willing to listen to both sides in an argument and always treat all tenants in a respectful, professional, and friendly manner.  When or if tenants become confrontational, professional property managers never respond in kind.  Taking the time to validate a tenant’s perspective, even if one doesn’t agree with their conclusions, can go a long way towards deescalating a situation with an angry tenant.

Tricky tenant situations will arise and rental property owners need to be ready to either handle them themselves or employ a property manager who can.  When tenants are treated respectfully while being held to the terms of their lease, both tenants and owners benefit from the relationship.

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