Challenges and solutions for North American property owners

Unexpected Maintenance. Repairs bills are never fun to pay. But an emergency fix is especially undesirable’and can be a lot more costly. That’s why it’s always wise to maintain a reserve account with substantial funds for these kinds of situations. Plus, creating a scheduled, preventative-maintenance plan and sticking to it can go a long way to drive down surprise repair bills.

Bookkeeping. Not setting up your accounting software properly can lead to costly year-end reconciliation charges from your accountant… not to mention, the potential expense of unanticipated taxes.

Property Damage. Maybe they left you with holes punched in the wall… or severely stained carpets. Either way, damage caused by residents can be costly to fix. You could send the repair bill to the tenants, but they might refuse to pay. And legal action could triple the total cost of the repairs (or more!), so this route isn’t always a viable option.

The best way to prevent damage in the first place is to choose worthy and responsible renters. Thoroughly screening prospective tenants before you approve their lease is essential. If you’re not currently making the most of Resident Screening, consider learning more today. And re-evaluating your security deposit fee to make sure it’s substantial enough to cover tenant neglect or destruction can also help mitigate damage expense as well.

Click here to find out how AskforFix can help you keep up with your maintenance requests.

Resident Complaints. We all know that property managers don’t just manage properties… they manage people, too. This includes handling a broad range of complaints. While you’re probably not going to stomp out every issue, you might be able to come up with a more productive way of handling them… which can save you time, money, and energy.

Create a written plan on how your staff should deal with complaints. First, try to diffuse the situation over the phone. Should the complaint require more attention, the next step is to get it in writing. Requesting that the resident with the grievance appear in person and fill out a formal complaint is a good way to identify real problems from nit-picky neighbor discord. This process also helps eliminate relentless anonymous whiners.

But the best plan of attack is to address the complaints up front. Because dodging them can quickly cause the situation to escalate into much larger problems… and potentially even legal action. Ignoring valid grievances can result in distrust between you and your tenants if they don’t feel that you’re handling it in a professional manner.

Payment Problems. One of the biggest headaches for landlords is the all-too-frequent problem of late or non-payment of rent. Sure, you can write a late-rent fee into the lease agreement in hopes of motivating your renters to pay on time. But if that isn’t as effective as you’d like, here are a few ways to facilitate prompt payment:

  • Lower the rent. For every tenant who pays on time for the entire year, let them know the following year they’ll receive a $50 (or a denomination of your choice) deduction off their monthly rent.
  • Automatic debit deduction. With ePay, you can have your tenants set up automatic payments online. Entice them to choose this route by offering a 5% to 10% deduction per month.
  • Report monthly payment history. As an incentive for paying on time, and a way to help your tenant establish credit, you can report monthly payments to one or all three of the main credit reporting agencies: ExperianTransUnion, and Equifax.

Source: RentManager


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