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Wednesday, January 29, 2014

Dealing with Tenant Objections on Rental Property

One of the most challenging aspects of property management is without a doubt the 'balance'. In many ways the role of a property manager is more complicated than it seems. In the strictest sense, we work primarily for the homeowner (or landlord) and not the tenant (or resident). However, we also have to keep our residents happy (within reason) so they renew and remain happy, good paying tenants. As you can imagine, often the two opposing requirements of my role are at odds. What happens when a tenant wants something that the owner will object to? What happens when an owner wants something that will anger the tenant? It is a metaphorical tug of war.

Case in point, one of our current residents (Bill), has had a near allergic reaction to actually reviewing his lease agreement. This happens more frequently than you'd think. Residents in single family homes have a significantly larger responsibility to take care of the property than a resident who lives in a multi-family apartment complex. Often, this is something the resident is resistant to understanding so we have to redouble our efforts with those who are "stepping up" from an apartment to a rental home. In apartments, almost everything is done for you. They even come to change your air filters. Not so in single family residential.

In this case, Bill frequently does things that directly run counter to the lease and takes little responsibility for taking care of the home. Most recently he decided that the owner should trim his trees and that it's not "his responsibility". Naturally, the communication from Bill was especially nasty (such is the norm in this job unfortunately). What Bill failed to realize is that the lease agreement specifically and repeatedly states that the resident's job is to maintain the landscaping (yes, including tree trimming). All Bill had to do was read the lease (preferably when he signed it). So again we come to the balance ... by reminding Bill on his obligations and declining to trim the trees for him, we have a tenant who is probably less happy but an owner who is more happy. This is yet another situation where my role as the "in between" benefits the owner. Instead of them having to deal with Bill's nasty emails, they have me to be the person who (gently but professionally) reminds Bill of his obligations.

Despite the challenge of dealing with tenants like Bill, at least he is a good payer on the rent (like 98% of our tenants, by the way). I can deal with a nasty tenant so long as they pay the rent on time and don't abuse the property. Dealing with challenges is my stock and trade.

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