The Truth about How We Handle Tenants

Did you know the Huffington Post, a well-respected online news source has an entire page dedicated to news about bad landlords? After reading a few of their articles, it is really no wonder landlords are often shed in a negative light.

However, we landlords and property mangers understand that many of these stories are told from the perspective of the tenant, which isn’t always the most valuable resource. How many bad tenants are willing to admit they are slobs, criminals, have no intentions of paying the rent or have every intention of vandalizing the apartment before leaving?

This isn’t to say there aren’t bad landlords. Likewise, this also isn’t to say there are good and even great tenants. The bottom line is: there are two sides to EVERY story. As landlords, it is important for you know exactly how your property manager handles various situations and how information is delivered.

In February, the Huffington Post published the article, “9 Things Your Landlord Won’t Tell You.” I’ve decided to respond to this article for our landlords and perspective landlords, so there are no questions in regards to what we do and do not tell tenants.

1. “If you live in an area without rent control, there’s nothing stopping your landlord from increasing the rent by the hundreds – even is you have paid on time and the building hasn’t had any improvements.” – Ok, first, if you did not already know, we are not located in an area with rent control. We actively work with our landlords to keep rent prices as competitive as possible for the area. If rent is increased on a unit, the tenants are given plenty of notice, and I don’t believe we have ever increased rent “by the hundreds.”

2. “A lot of the time we call upon our landlords to fix broken utilities around the house. But the truth is, most have no clue how to stop a leak…or have any intention to fix that stopped drain.” First, we have our own maintenance team that can fix just about anything. Second, anything we can’t fix ourselves, we get fixed. We never ignore maintenance issues. Doing so would result in dissatisfied tenants, a bad reputation and potential for unneeded damage to the unit.

3. Although you need to tell your landlord if you are making improvements to the property, you do not need to share ever detail…such as the color you paint rooms. While in most cases the first part of this statement is true, for us the 2nd case is not. It is important that tenants get approval even for paint as we have seen some very expensive costs to fixing a bad paint job as well as covering over a poor color choice. Tenant will always be responsible for returning the property to the condition they found it.

4. “While you may think it’s great that you’re helping out by letting a friend crash on your couch after a bad break-up, your landlord is probably upset he or she isn’t paying rent.” Since in most cases, the rent is set by the unit, opposed to the number of people living in it, an extra person would not necessarily increase the rent.  However the standard lease is written such that a non registered tenant will cost automatically an extra $100.00 per month to discourage this practice. For important legal reasons, we need to know who is living in the units we manage. If we feel a tenant has allowed someone else to move in, we will talk to them about adding the additional person to the lease, which will allow us to do the appropriate background checks. This also makes it easier to evict the extra person, if an eviction becomes needed.

It has been said that as much as 2 billion dollars each year of security deposits are illegally not returned to tenants. We do accounting at move out to make sure that any moneys held are held for legal reasons.

It has been said that as much as 2 billion dollars each year of security deposits are illegally not returned to tenants. We do accounting at move out to make sure that any moneys held are held for legal reasons.

5. “No matter what they say, there’s a good chance you are never going to see that money again.” If a unit is left clean and ready to re-rent and the tenant fulfilled the terms of their lease, they will absolutely receive all or part of their security deposit back. The problem, which tenants often do not understand, is that unless the unit is literally left move-in ready, there are costs involved in getting it rent ready. Even if all we have to do is clean the carpets, we are spending money to have one of our employees do that.

6. “If another tenant is rude, loud or disrespectful, your landlord might act like they are concerned…but they won’t do anything about it as long as they pay their rent.” We do our best to maintain the peace between tenants. However, unless one tenant is violating the rights of another tenant or violating the terms of their lease, there is not always something we can do. We have been known to give 30 day notices to tenants in multi family buildings (who are not in a lease) and who appear to be chasing off good current and prospective tenants. Ultimately however tenants don’t always realize being annoying is NOT legal grounds for an eviction.

7. “You may not think anything of the fact that they let themselves in to make repairs while you’re at work. But, they’ve likely surveyed your belongings (or worse) in the process.” Unless it is an emergency, we do not enter units without giving the tenant 24-hour notice. The tenant has the option to make arrangements to ensure we are not entering the unit without someone there. That aside, we never use maintenance work as an opportunity to invade a tenant’s privacy.

8. “The landlord wants to make the most profit from their property and will not volunteer a discount.” This is true. Landlords are not in the charity business…they are in the business to make money. While some people see this is a bad thing, it is important to remember that landlords have bills to pay too. This simple fact aside, we have worked with potential tenants and landlords to negotiate a new rental rate depending on specific circumstances.

Soooo…there we go. Hopefully, this answered some questions for you about how we handle things. If you have any questions, you are always more than welcome to contact us.

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With more than 60 years of investment property management experience, and a current portfolio approaching 500 units, our expert team can relieve you of the burden of managing your rental property while saving you some serious money! Call us today at (440) 220-7300 to see how we can help you!

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