In our time in the Norfolk property management business, we've seen our fair share of wonderful renters - thoughtful, prompt residents who respect the properties we manage. However, there are always a few folks who choose to behave in ways that disrespect the property itself as well as the owner who works hard to keep it in good condition. The renting relationship is one that requires trust and patience on both sides, but here are some of the renter issues that your property management company can help you navigate, should they (hopefully very rarely) crop up.
Unfounded Poor Reviews or Complaints
It is, of course, essential to follow up on complaints and frustrations expressed by residents since property managers take pride in their work and want to make sure that their own contracts are fulfilled to the greatest extent possible. However, if you look under the surface, there are times when someone is making a complaint in good faith and other times when the complaint may not be trustworthy. That person may have a track record of complaining either because of their personality or in order to break the trust between property manager and owner. This is why it is important to screen tenants, in particular checking past property owner references; by screening, you can find out if a potential renter was a frequent complainer whose complaints were found to be without support.
Property Damage and Disruption
Of course, it requires a particularly brazen renter to deliberately damage your property. Still, neglectful behaviors, from leaving messes that ruin carpets to rowdy parties where things are broken by accident, do result in strained relationships between property owners and their renters. The key is to establish from the beginning the consequences of damages to the property. If the property damage is clearly the renter's responsibility, most of them will either make the repair themselves or expect for it to be taken out of their security deposit. While a very occasional renter could deliberately refuse to pay for their own damages, most of the time, it's easier to settle these issues when your renters are crystal clear on the rules that will be applied based on the lease.
Excuses Rather Than Action on Making Payments
When it comes to rent collection, property managers can recognize someone who is making a one-time late payment versus someone who has a litany of excuses and doesn't intend to pay at all. Creating payment plans is absolutely a valuable option when retaining excellent residents who are almost always on time but who have fallen behind. However, payment plans must be very clear on the consequences of not completing them, because renters who don't intend to pay are counting on you to not follow through with even very necessary evictions.
Norfolk property management is going to be a valuable set of eyes and ears when it comes to renters who aren't making their payments. They will usually have an established protocol that they use to treat all residents fairly, giving latitude when people fall on temporary hard times but not letting some people live rent-free. In contrast, others have to comply with the terms of the lease. You will hopefully have very few renters who push you on payments. Still, if they are consistently late or missing their payments, your property manager can help you move forward with clear communication and firm action when necessary.
Pushing Boundaries With Staff
It's important, as a property owner, to keep a clear mental image of what is your problem to solve and what elements of a renter's life cannot be your business. It can be tempting to be compassionate when, for instance, a couple or a set of roommates have a conflict that makes them want to break the lease or change the terms. However, the contract everyone signed together is actually a blessing: it is your chance to stay impartial when a renter tries to blur the boundaries with you. If an individual asks you to give them special treatment because of a friendly rapport you've developed, you may inadvertently deny that same privilege to someone else who rents from you. Word travels, and letting that one boundary down results in multiple angry residents who feel that they should be afforded the same treatment.
The key across all the potential bad behavior from renters is that you've done the up-front work of establishing your expectations for people to reside at your properties. They'll need to treat staff with respect and not leave unnecessarily critical feedback, do their best to maintain the property in good condition, pay their rent on time, and keep things professional by not asking for special outside-the-lease treatment. Your Norfolk property management team is ready to help you establish and hold these protocols as you become more and more experienced as a property owner.