Property Management Mistakes to Avoid

By Ashley Paskill on May 13, 2024

Being a property manager can be overwhelming. You have a lot to handle and take care of and it can be challenging to handle it all. Even though it can be tough, there are mistakes that you should avoid as a property manager. Avoiding these mistakes can improve your property rental management experience for you as well as help your tenants out.

Taking on unnecessary maintenance requests

While some maintenance requests from tenants are your responsibility, some are not. Your tenants are responsible for things like clogged toilets and drains, changing lightbulbs, replacing batteries in detectors, and maintaining appliances they purchased themselves. Landlords are mainly responsible for other major maintenance requests such as visible mold, pests, heating and air conditioning, and major plumbing and electrical issues. Knowing what your responsibilities are and not taking on things that you do not need to will save you time and hassle.

Not screening tenants properly

Screening potential tenants is the best way to ensure you are getting excellent people renting from you. Your application should be thorough and require background checks and references. It is also important that you look into the employment history and credit scores of applicants to make sure they will be able to pay rent on time. Actually follow up with references and ask them questions related to the kind of tenants you want renting your property. It may be tempting to take shortcuts and go the easy route, but taking the time and measures necessary will make things easier in the long run. Be sure to avoid discriminating against potential tenants based on protected classes as this may cause legal issues in the future.

Rent too high or too low

The rent your tenants pay is your main source of income for your rental property. It is important that you are charging a fair amount so that you are making money while also ensuring your tenants are happy and can afford their rent. Do some research and find out how much the average rent is for where your properties are located. If your rent price is significantly higher, you may want to consider lowering it in order to stay competitive and bring in more tenants. However, if your rent is really low and you find yourself struggling to make money, you may want to raise the rent. Just be sure you raise the rent properly and legally. Check with local, state, and federal laws regarding charging rent to make sure you are handling things properly, and reach out to professionals if you need further assistance.

Image: Karolina Grabowska via https://www.pexels.com/photo/crop-man-counting-dollar-banknotes-4386431/

Not building community

If you have multiple rental spaces on a single property such as an apartment complex, you likely have multiple tenants. The tenants all have you as a property manager, so they already have something in common. This is a great launching point for a community of people to get to know each other and be great neighbors. Consider finding space for people to gather and spend time together. You may also want to host events such as holiday celebrations and barbeques. You can even do something as simple as a “Secret Santa” for those who want to participate. This will give your tenants a sense of belonging and make your property feel like home, especially if you are renting to students.

Miscommunication

Communication is so important in so many spheres, and property management is no different. It is crucial that your tenants know how to reach you should they have questions or concerns. You also have to communicate with tenants about things like rent increases and property updates and news. Make sure you have multiple points of contact for your tenants and let them know how and when they can reach you. You may also want to set up “office hours” so your tenants can reach you during a designated time. However, it is also important to occasionally check your points of contact outside of the set hours in case of an emergency. Having open communication allows things to continue running smoothly and can help reduce the risk of major issues down the road.

Ignoring tenant rights

While you are the manager of the property, your tenants still have rights. In fact, their rights are protected by law in most if not all cases. During the screening process, tenants have the right to not be discriminated against. They also have a right to privacy, so just because you own the property, you cannot just barge in unannounced. Tenants have the right to a habitable home, so if there are major maintenance issues, it is crucial that they are fixed immediately. There are many, many more rights and freedoms that your tenants are protected by, and it is crucial that you are familiar with these. If you are unsure, ask a lawyer or local elected officials for guidance for your specific location.

Being a property manager can be tough, but avoiding mistakes now can save you major hassle in the future.

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