Top 3 Most Common Mistakes Property Managers Make - Property Vista

May 21, 2015

Top 3 Most Common Mistakes Property Managers Make

Running a property management company can be complex. You are constantly dealing with a diverse clientele with diverse needs. Then, factor in operations – from marketing to maintenance – and suddenly there are a lot of balls to keep in the air.

While property management companies do their best, sometimes mistakes are made that can impact resident relations and retention. Here are the top three mistakes that property managers make.

Communication: Too Little, Too Late

Every property management company understands the need for good communication with their clients, the residents. It’s a key factor to good tenant relations. Open lines of communication ensure that property managers preserve and protect the building owner’s investment.

Yet in the hustle and bustle of daily operations, there can be communication breakdowns concerning repairs or rent reminders:

  • Maintenance notices in the lobby are passed by without a glance.
  • Overdue rent reminders to the resident are missed (or avoided!).
  • Or the reverse, renters become frustrated as it may take several attempts to get a call back concerning an issue relating to rent or maintenance.

A lack of communication often results in a very high client turnover rate. And, despite best efforts, some property management companies end up over-promising and under-delivering on customer service.

A tenant portal serves both the resident as well as the property management company, ensure clear communication. It makes it easy for tenants to log in 24/7 and contact management, and keeps an archive of all communications.

Not Maintaining the Maintenance

The three most common ways property managers drive up maintenance costs and tenant dissatisfaction are:

  1. Failing to keep up with routine maintenance
  2. Letting tenants take care of fixing a problem
  3. Hiring unskilled workers/general “handyman”

It is the landlord’s responsibility to perform ongoing routine maintenance. When managers don’t, any small problems are not fixed and all too soon they become big problems. The cost of regular preventative maintenance is far less than the cost of having to replace an entire mechanism.

Sure, it may be convenient to say “Yes” when a resident calls and says there is a dripping faucet and he will fix it, and deduct the costs from his rent. However, allowing tenants, who are not plumbers or HVAC or other type of qualified maintenance people, to make repairs can lead to much bigger issues.

Equally as dangerous is “saving money” by hiring a cheaper general handyman rather than a professional tradesperson. While the hourly rate of an unskilled worker may be much less, typically it takes the person longer to complete the repair. And, just like allowing the tenant to take care of an issue, unskilled workers can sometimes do a poor job at fixing a problem. This means the problem will crop up again, and may be much worse next time.

To keep residents happy, and ensure the quality of the repairs, keep up routine maintenance using professional tradespeople and implement a tenant portal or other online system that allows tenants to rate their level of satisfaction with the repairs. This also streamlines and automates communication efforts for property management companies, reducing effort and increasing impact.

No Renters Insurance

While the percentage of residents who have renters insurance is growing, there is still room for improvement. According to the Insurance Bureau of Canada, about half of all renters don’t have insurance. As difficult as it may seem to get residents on board, it’s more than worth it for property management companies to make renters insurance a priority.

A fire from a burner being left on, or a candle not being put out properly, or children playing with an adult’s lighter – all of these can lead to terrible tragedy. Even if no one is injured, the loss to a building as well as other residents’ units and belongings can be significant.

A mandatory renters insurance program helps protect your property. It can also lower your out-of-pocket expenses and helps protect your renters’ belongings. Many lease agreements include a provision that advises the resident to carry renter’s insurance, yet too often it is not followed up on.

Lastly, it helps reputation management. If there is a burst pipe that displaces a resident and ruins all of their belongings, if the renter has renters insurance their belongings will be covered as well as hotel stay while their apartment is being repaired. In the same scenario without renters insurance, it is the worst experience for both parties. The resident has no “safety net” while repairs are being done, and most times can’t afford to wait out the repairs, giving their notice and telling people how terrible the landlord is.

Property managers that can offer their residents renter’s insurance as part of their lease signing process create a win-win scenario, with both parties being better protected.

Three Mistakes, One Solution

Property Vista’s property management solutions help you avoid these three common mistakes. Our resident portal allows residents to update their account information, pay rent, schedule maintenance requests, secure insurance coverage and communicate more effectively with your staff.

Why not give Property Vista a try? Sign up for your free 30-day trial.

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Jack Beaton Sterling Karamar, Property Management
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