Jan 31

Things I Hate About Being A Property Manager

 

While I love what I do, there are things I hate about being a property manager.

Managing rental problem or being a property manager can be a challenging job.  This is a people job and dealing with people can be difficult. Everyone has a different perspective and a different agenda.  Trying to do your job and keep everyone happy can be impossible some days.

While I love what I do, there are things I hate about being a property manager. Click To Tweet

Rosy Picture

People that don’t manage rental property have a glorified view of what owning rental property is like. They picture huge amounts of money rolling in every month, working only a few hours a month and taking long vacations to the beach.

The reality is far from this fantasy!  A well managed property with a great tenant who pays every month is the idea.  It takes work to keep your property in tip top shape and to find that great tenant. Then you have to keep that tenant happy!  If you screen properly and have some luck, this can be your reality as a property owner.  The reality is that problems are inevitable, even with great tenants.

Things That I Hate About Property Management

While I mostly enjoy what I do, there are things that I really hate about being a property manager.  I think that anyone who has rental property will be able to relate and perhaps have a good chuckle.

“If they are talking, they are lying.” Click To Tweet

Being Lied To

There is a saying in the rental industry and it goes like this:  “If they are talking, they are lying.”  Now, this is a bit of an over exaggeration, but the truth of the matter is that tenants lie.

Almost everyone that needs to rent a home, instead of buy a home, has at least one skeleton in the closet. Most have a closet full of skeletons.  Your job as the person renting the house is to figure out what each applicants skeletons are and which skeletons you can live with.

Applicants know when there is something really bad that they don’t want you to know. They know that when you find out what that bad thing is, you will turn them down. To be fair, every landlord has a different threshold of “bad” that he or she can live with. But, you need to have a clear picture of what the problems are before you can make a decision.

Be sympathetic without renting to an applicant who is not qualified. Click To Tweet

Real Story

I have an applicant that has been texting me non stop all week.  She has sent pages of texts explaining how bad her life has been.  She lost her job, she couldn’t pay her rent and was recently evicted (but it wasn’t her fault). Her many texts keep saying over and over that she really just needs a run of good luck.  She doesn’t have a job currently but has applied for disability.  

She is sure that this beautiful house that I have for rent is perfect for her, her two kids and two large breed dogs.  She keeps begging me to just give her a chance.  I ended up talking to her at one point and she told me she has the money for the deposit but not the rent. She wants me to hold the house until she gets her tax refund back and she will then pay for four months rent.

Reality Check

I am not unsympathetic.  I feel very sorry for anyone in this situation.  I wish I was independently wealthy and could afford to provide free housing for anyone in this situation. It is terrible to repeatedly hear these stories. Being a property manager means you have to learn how to navigate these situations successfully.

The problem is that, while many of these applicants are telling the truth, many are not. I have found out when I dug deeper, that many of them are just telling me a tall tale.  There is no easy way to tell if any of these stories are real or are complete fabrications.  Applicants will tell you just about anything in order to rent a home.

Your job is to find the best qualified tenant possible.  Have clear qualifying criteria and stick to it.  Not only will this protect your house, it is the law to treat everyone the same.  It is easy to get sucked into the drama of these stories but if you stick to your rental criteria, it will make it easier to not get guilted into renting to anyone that isn’t qualified.

Don't assume you are a good judge of people! Do your homework! Click To Tweet

Do Your Home Work

Don’t count on applicants to make your job easy! They need a place to live in and are not above lying to get into your house. It drives me crazy to be lied to when I ask questions like:

  • Have you ever paid your rent late?
  • Have you ever had an eviction filed against you?
  • Do you have any pets?

These are just three examples of questions that it is very easy to find the answers to!  When I run credit or talk to the landlord, I will find out the answers to these questions. 

Tenants That Don’t Pay Rent

Tenants that don’t pay their rent are a problem for everyone that has rental property at one time or other.  Some of them honestly have had some sort of a problem which I can understand.  I appreciate it when the tenant calls me, before the rent is late, and tells me what is going on.

However, I don’t like having to chase the tenant down and ask where the rent is!  Lying comes into play here as well because many times the tenant won’t tell you the truth.

  • I mailed it last week.
  • I dropped it in the drop box!
  • The dog ate my check book and I have to get new checks.
  • I will pay on Friday
  • My (insert family member) passed away and I have to pay for the funeral

Now, some of these scenarios can and do happen, but I have found that many times, these excuses are used time and time again by tenants who are consistently delinquent.  Sometimes the same tenant will reuse the same excuse two or three times!  The excuses just get old and I get tired of hearing them!

Inventive Excuses

I have heard some of the craziest excuses for not paying rent, why the (insert item here) is broken, why the roof is destroyed (Derby party . . .  on the roof), why there are 5 porta potties in the street in front of the house (again . .  .Derby party) why there are 5 extra people living in the home, why there are 6 dogs, 2 cats and a bird in the property, why there is a man living in a tent pitched in the truck in the driveway, etc. 

Some of the things I hear would be quite funny.  There are times when I actually laugh out loud! A good sense of humor is a must.  Many of my tenants have a way with words and are wonderful story tellers!  But, since I have to deal with all of these issues, it isn’t quite as funny.  I could write a book!  Maybe I will one day!  But, these wonderful stories can be exhausting!

Babysitting is just one hat most property owners and manager have to wear. Click To Tweet

Babysitting

When you are in charge of rental property, you become a baby sitter.  Even though every tenant signs a lease that specifically lays out when the rent is due, how much is due, what the late fees are, etc., it still falls to the person in charge of the rental property to make sure the tenant does what he is supposed to do.

You will have to remind / help these tenants:

  • Pay their rent on time
  • Remind them to clean their gutters
  • Explain that yes, they do have to pay late fees
  • Resolve fights with roommates / spouses
  • To clean up their trash

The first time you have to assist with these things, it can be cute. But, over the years, it can get annoying! Especially when you are dealing with the same tenant over and over again.  It is part of being a property manager and I expect to have to continue to do it. But, it does get old.

Evictions

I absolutely hate evictions. Most tenants are good people and I have gotten to know them over the time they have spent living in the property. It breaks my heart to have to evict most of these people. Evictions are most commonly the result of a job loss or a death in the family. It stinks to have to add to their problems and kick them out of the house. I hate having to be the one to do this.

At The End Of The Day

This is a people job and most people are good. Being a property manager means you must have great people skills. I have met some really nice people during my years of managing rental property.  Part of being a property manager is being able to communicate effectively with everyone that you come in contact with.  A good sense of humor does help a lot!  Even at the end of a really bad day, I have usually talked to at lease one person who has made me laugh. 

When dealing with an angry or upset tenant or just someone who is a few cards short of a full deck, I always try to remember that I don’t know what that person is going through. Maybe that person that is screaming has had a really bad day too and I am just the unlucky person to have to talk to him or her.

While there are things that I hate about being a property manager, most days I love what I do!

Having trouble finding a great tenant? Find out how to find tune your screening process. CLICK HERE!

 

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