Nowadays most rental properties are under 3rd party management i.e. landlords use property management firms and while this has allowed for greater objectivity i.e. landlords focus on the business of investing it also distances landlords from their clients; i.e. the tenants, and this can result in misunderstandings and important information getting lost in translation.
Landlords are in the People Business
Landlords are in the ‘people business’. Their clients are the tenants, and the property manager, a service provider, albeit the most important one. To get to the tenant, the landlord communicates via the property manager and as you’d expect sometimes important information is lost in translation and the aim is to avoid situations escalating so that they become costly. The most popular channel used to communicate with the property manager is email and they too also probably use email to communicate with the tenant so it’s really important to be very clear with your instructions. It’s so easy to say one thing and it’s interpreted as something else. There’s evidence communication break down between third parties and landlords in discussions on PropertyTalk.
New landlords now hand over their rental property to a property manager immediately so they’re guided by that firm’s management and communication requirements. However the transition wasn’t always this seamless. Landlords used to self managing found it really hard to let go and allow the property manager actually manage the tenancy.
Looking back at these discussions it’s clear it was communication or the lack there of was the tipping point for so many of the issues that arose. Being in the people business Landlords even now when they’re more comfortable with the whole third party property management thing still need to keep a keen eye on forging a strong relationship with the property manager and this is how it can be achieved:
- Commit – confirm your acceptance of rules and guidelines. e.g. set a $$ limit for maintenance requests. Give the appropriate notice before visiting the property.
- Respond – reply and in a timely fashion to your property manager’s requests for information or maintenance requirements
- Share Information – let your property manager any changes to your circumstances i.e. you’re going on holiday or you’ve changed your contact details etc
When it comes to your responsibility as a landlord avoid putting off till tomorrow what you can do today. Act immediately with clear communication and taking action not only shows respect; it ensures a healthy relationship with your most important service provider – the property manager.