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Property Managers and Landlords – How to Handle Tenants Repair Requests

Property Management Handle Repair Requests

Property management companies, landlords or property managers – try responding promptly to address the tenant’s requests. In some extreme cases, the tenant may be entitled to withhold rent and your property management company could be held accountable for personal injuries as well.

 

Property Management Handle Repair Requests


Guide to Handling Tenants Repair Requests:

1. If you’re not available by phone at anytime, make sure that you have some type of answering or paging service available at all times.
2. Provide all tenants with several copies of Maintenance/Repair Request forms when tenants move in.
3. Make additional forms readily available to your tenants. 4. For all telephone requests, complete the form and file it in the tenant's records.
5. In responding to all complaints, you may want to verbally follow up and then provide a written response. 6. As a rule of thumb, you should try to fix problems within 24 hours that may cause major inconveniences to the tenant and less serious requests within 48 hours.
7. Use a 24-hour repair service if required for personal security and safety problems
8. Be sure to comply with state and local laws and ordinances

It is important to take action at the earliest to address the tenant's repair requests.

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Making Time for "Me Time"

It’s a well documented fact that Americans take less vacation time than business professionals in any other culture. According to a disturbing analysis in a May 2007 Businessweek article, “Americans take even less vacation than the Japanese, the people who gave rise to karoshi—the phenomenon of being worked to death.” While it’s certainly admirable to be a hard worker, there’s also a fine line between dedication and over-doing it. The truth of the matter is, taking time off work is important—not only does it give you the chance to attend to the rest of your life, but it also provides the opportunity to mentally rejuvenate and the distance to remain excited about your job over the long haul. Both of these, after all, are ultimately integral to your business success. Even if you’re already sold on taking time off work, that doesn’t mean it’s always easy. Many property managers simply don’t have support staff. In other words, if you’re not doing the job, who is? When you’re dealing with tenants, work can come at any time on any day–it’s just not always as simple as a weekend or scheduling vacation time. So how do you take time off? Here are our five favorite tips to help make that “me” time more easily obtainable. Tip #1: Plan Ahead If you’re one of those personality types that has a difficult time relaxing when important deadlines are on the horizon, make sure you plan your relaxation ahead of time. Yeah, yeah—we know it sounds a bit counter-intuitive. But......
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Property Managers and Landlords – How to Inspect the Property With Your Tenants

Property Management inspecting Rental Property

Property Managers or Landlords and Tenants should perform a joint inspection of the rental property or rental unit before the tenant moves in. The objective of the inspection is to

a. identify and document the condition of the property
b. check the conditions of the appliances, security systems, heating, air conditioning systems
c. identify common areas
d. identify service areas such as trash, recycling,  newspaper delivery, mail box, club house and pool
e. provide information on utilities such as water, electricity, telephone and cable services

Property Management inspecting Rental Property


At the end of the inspection, Property Managers or Landlords and Tenants should review the check list and sign each page. Property Managers or Landlords should retain the original check list and provide a copy to the tenant. The check list should be updated as repairs are made to the unit, including what and when the repairs were performed. Both the parties should initial any changes to the original check list.
When the tenant moves out, this checklist serves as evidence as to why property management company, landlord or property manager can withhold all or part of a security deposit.

 

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To Sublet or Not to Sublet: A Tenant's Perspective

Throughout the course of my college and young professional years, I moved quite a bit — to new student housing, then back home for the summer, then to a new city for a new job. Throughout the course of these events roommates were shuffled and I encountered several different subletting scenarios, each of which was handled differently. For sake of better understanding a tenant’s reasons for subletting, I thought I would share a couple of the different scenarios that I encountered. Scenario #1: The Summer Sublet I first found myself subletting the summer following my graduation from graduate school. I hadn’t yet landed a job and wasn’t prepared to move back in with my parents, so I found an apartment to sublet in a condominium complex near a local University. I didn’t know the student whose room I was subletting or either of his two roommates, but the place was clean, spacious, and I’d have a balcony off of my room. I was psyched. In this scenario, I simply paid rent to the tenant whose room I was subletting. He asked for a $300 security deposit and then I mailed him a rent check every month for the duration of the summer. I wasn’t in my new place very much and was always quiet and respectful, so the situation worked out great — I even got my security deposit back. That said, I’m pretty sure the property managers had no idea that I was living in the apartment or that it......
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To Sublet or Not to Sublet: A Property Manager's Perspective

Chances are you put a lot of effort into finding just the right tenant to entrust with your unit: you run a credit and criminal background check, you verify employment, you speak with applicants’ past landlords, and perhaps you even require an additional personal reference or two. In short, you do everything within your power to make sure that your unit is rented to the most reliable, responsible tenant possible. Performing this due diligence protects your property, your financial well-being, and also generally makes your life easier by bettering the chances that you’ve selected a tenant who will be a thoughtful neighbor to other tenants on your property. Therein lies the biggest problem with subletting units: in such instances, you are typically entrusting this screening process to another party, essentially allowing a pre-existing tenant to select someone to occupy your unit on your behalf. Of course, it certainly works in the pre-existing tenant’s best interest to find a subletor who is responsible, who will take care of the unit, and who will make rent payments in a timely manner. After all, it’s the pre-existing tenant who will remain on the lease and ultimately be held responsible for any damage or financial obligations until the initial lease term has run its course. However, most tenants simply don’t have experience in property management or a complete handle on what it is that constitutes an ideal tenant. Because of this, problems can arise when subletting enters the equation. On the other hand, there are......
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Property Management New Year's Resolutions

New Year's property management resolutionsAs 2010 draws to a close, it’s a good time to reflect on lessons from the past year and apply them to the future. As you prepare to move into 2011, be sure that you know not only what didn’t work in 2010, but also what did. After all, the goal is not to create a cycle of constantly tweaking systems and procedures but, rather, to find methods that work optimally for you and your tenants and stick with them. For an overview of where 2010 leaves you, begin by honestly asking yourself the following two questions: What was the highlight of my property management year? What was the lowlight of my property management year? When you’ve answered both of these questions, you should have a good idea of where you stand. Say, for example, that the highlight of your year was filling 40 percent of your available vacancies throughtenant referrals. This indicates that you are doing a great job of keeping your units in good shape and keeping tenants happy—in other words, in both of these realms, you’ve already found a formula that works. Though you may want to make little adjustments in these areas here and there, for the most part, you should continue doing exactly what you’ve done in 2010 on into 2011. Conversely, once you’ve come up with the lowlight of your year, you’ll want to determine why it happened and what needs to be changed in 2011 to prevent a similar occurrence from happening again. Let’s say, for example, ......
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Happy Holidays Equal Happy Tenants

It’s the holiday season, and no one wants to be the neighborhood Scrooge. Those tenants that want to go all out when it comes to decorating for the holidays can do so in their own units, but it’s also nice to incorporate subtle bits of holiday cheer to the common areas of your property. Think of it as one of those little touches that demonstrates your ongoing investment in and appreciation of your tenants. Holiday decorations are a great low-budget way to make your property more cozy and cheerful for tenants. After all, tenants who truly feel like their units are “home” will be far less likely to move. Decorating doesn’t have to cost a lot of money, nor do you have to decorate with items that require a lot of upkeep (as we all know, Christmas trees, though fun to look at, can require a lot of regular attention when it comes to sweeping up and keeping them watered–not to mention the fact that a dry tree can be a fire hazard). Consider incorporating one or more of these simple items to jazz up your properties with some holiday cheer. Light it Up While hanging lights around the entire exterior of your property may be more effort than you want to exert, lights can provide a quick holiday fix when used in other ways–wind them around banisters or string them in pre-existing plants in common areas. A conservative amount of lights is extremely affordable at common chains like CVS and Target (a......
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Property Management Stories from the Front Lines

We need your help! Throughout the course of writing the Buildium Blog we’ve covered countless property management scenarios. We hope that our property management tips, advice, and best practices have been helpful to your company — at the very least we hope that they have provided you with an opportunity to reflect on the way that your company does business.

We constantly hear stories from property managers — those of you who are out there managing your properties day-in and day-out — pertaining to specific challenges, nightmares, or unique occurrences encountered on the job. Whether your story is funny, horrifying, or enlightening we’d like to give you the opportunity to share. Buildium will now be accepting submissions for our “Property Management Stories from the Front Lines” series of blog posts.

So what do you need to do? Send us an e-mail detailing your story and what you think makes it unique. The best stories will become a series of blog posts on the Buildium Blog, which can then be weighed in on by other industry professionals. In exchange for your story we will highlight your company, your expertise, and your company website at the end of each post. This will provide great visibility for your business, and great discussion points for all of our readers.

Please e-mail submissions to This email address is being protected from spambots. You need JavaScript enabled to view it.. We look forward to hearing your story!

-The Buildium Team


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Year End Tax Tips for Property Managers and Property Management Companies

Top 10 Tax Tips for Property Management CompaniesProperty managers running their own companies should prioritize for end of the year tax planning, and keep more money in their pockets by taking advantage of the tax benefits available to them. Unfortunately, 2010 is the worst year for end of the year tax planning due to the deadlock in Congress and the inability of Congress to act upon tax issues. One of the positive tax law changes affecting property managers and property management companies is the Small Business Jobs Act of 2010, which provides $12 billion of tax incentives – including bonus depreciation, enhanced expensing, and other relief for small businesses.   1. Accelerate or Defer Income: In 2011, tax rates are expected to revert to 2001 rates. The top income tax rate will increase to 39%and the lowest rate of 10% will be eliminated. If you are in the top tax bracket, it might be better to accelerate income. However, those in the lower tax brackets should follow the traditional tip of deferring income. Income timing is not easy, and you should be sure to consider its impact on various deductions and any tax credits. 2. Accelerate Expenses: Accelerate expenses to reduce your business’s taxable income. Purchase goods and services needed by the business. Pay early bills like cell services, subscriptions, rent, insurance, utilities, and office supplies. You can also stock up on any office supplies, like printer paper and ink cartridges.. The acceleration or deferral strategy depends on the projected profit and losses for your business and the......
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Finding the Right Multi-Family Property Investment

In many ways, the current economic climate makes for a great time to purchase a multi-family investment property. The prominence of short sales and foreclosures has given way to good purchase prices in many areas of the country. Add to this the fact that there are some incredible interest rates out there right now (even for investors) and the fact that many former homeowners have now found themselves back in the rental market, and there’s a very valid argument that this is a good time to get into the multi-family market. If you are considering making a multi-family property investment of your own, following are a few things to consider before taking the leap. Know what you’re looking for Before you even begin to look at properties, have a clear idea of what you’re looking for and what you’re willing to put into a property, both financially and in terms of your time. Of course, this is always subject to change if you find just the right place, but that doesn’t mean that you shouldn’t go into the house-hunting process without a fairly narrow baseline in mind. Aside from basics like location and size, you also want to have know whether you’re looking for a “fixer-upper” or a “as-is” property. Look at the whole package Looking for a multi-family investment property is different from looking for a single-family home and requires a bit more of a discerning eye. Remember that you will be renting multiple units out to different tenants. To......
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