To Tow… or Not To Tow? Seven Tips to keep that from being the Question

Written by Landlord Property Management Magazine on . Posted in Blog

By: Nick Frantz |

tow truckI don’t know a property manager who doesn’t grapple with parking issues. At best, they’re a hassle. At worst, they threaten resident safety, satisfaction and retention. They can even send you to court.

Towing may alienate a resident… but failure to act on a parking problem could alienate many residents. The best solution is a proactive approach that maximizes compliance and minimizes your need to have to make the tough decision. Here are seven tips to help ease parking woes on your property.

1.  Understand the parking and towing laws and ordinances in your state and in your municipality.

If you don’t already know the laws, an Internet search should yield results. Illegal towing can do more than damage resident relationships. It can be costly. Some states allow the court to award loss of use damages for the illegally towed vehicle. Residents have to prove their case. But win or lose, it’s going to cost you time and money.

tow away(2)

2.  Have proper legal signage.

Posting parking permit and restriction signs on your property is one of the most important actions you can take to ensure and enforce compliance. With effective signage, residents, visitors, staff and vendors should never have any question about where to park.

3.  Clearly mark the parking lots and curbs.

Sometimes signs disappear, but parking lot stripes and curb paint is permanent. Mark restricted parking areas as clearly as possible; leave nothing to question.

4.  Create, publish and distribute a clear, well-defined parking policy.

Your policy should spell out—and itemize—exactly:

  • Where residents, visitors, staff and vendors may park
  • Where residents, visitors, staff and vendors may NOT park
  • Snow plow procedures
  • Your step-by-step procedure for handling vehicles that violate the parking policy (It’s a good idea to try to notify the owner, whenever possible, before a vehicle is towed. Document your attempts to notify; it will payoff)
  • Actions to take if someone finds that their car has been towed and how much it will cost

If there are seasonal issues in your area, such as snow or flooding, send timely reminders that reiterate the parking policies and procedures.


5.  Review your parking and towing policies with your snow removal and towing vendors.

Make sure they understand that only authorized personnel from your staff can request that a vehicle be towed.

6.  Personally address parking issues with problem residents.

Some parking infractions aren’t as defiant as they may seem to you or to other residents. When parking issues arise, one-on-one notices are far more effective than blanket reminders. It doesn’t have to be a nasty confrontation. Stay calm, refer to your parking policies and rules, and make sure the resident has a copy. Keep a record of your resident contact with the date, time and content.

7.  Communicate regularly and always document.

Managing your property is your job. But your residents have their own jobs, busy—often hectic—lives, and lots on their minds. Make sure your parking rules don’t slip their minds. Proper signage, marked parking spaces and curbs, a published policy, personal reminders and community-wide announcements all work together to minimize slippage.

It’s important to document all your parking compliance efforts.  Take photos of your signage, parking lot, curb markings and any instances of policy violations. Keep a record of all your communications to your residents, whether community-wide or one-on-one. Your documentation should show dates, times, and message content. It should also confirm that your residents received your communications. If a conflict or legal issue arises, all of these will work in your favor.

The name of the game here is to maximize parking compliance and minimize towing instances. It takes a proactive approach, vigilance and a commitment to regular communications with your residents.

For more information regarding resident communication solutions please visit, or call (877) 698-3262 to find out how our text, email and voice messages can work for your community.


NickFrantz2011Nick Frantz is the National Sales Manager for Property Management Solutions at One Call Now, where he has worked since March 2011. He specializes in Property Management solutions – commercial and residential – assisting in communications between property managers and staff/residents. Nick holds a Bachelor of Science degree from Miami University.


Introducing Rental Housing Network

Written by Landlord Property Management Magazine on . Posted in Blog

Sandy Adams | President and Co-Founder – Rental Housing Network

rental-housing-networkIt has long been a passion of mine to educate property owners and managers on how to be a good, responsible landlord.   I finally decided to take my passion to next level and develop a company that would provide information and resources to help owners and managers manage their rental properties more professionally.    From this desire came the Rental Housing Network.

RHN (Rental Housing Network) is a resource center for all landlords, whether you are a new investors or a long time fee manager.  With the help of a few other experienced managers, we designed it to offer something for everyone.  Some of the benefits are:


Forms/Notices/Tenant Correspondence – RHN offers a variety of free rental forms.  Each form is customized to the profile provided by the individual member.

Education and Training – We offer education for the amateur investor to the skilled property manager.

Operational Support – We are often faced with unique circumstances that just aren’t covered in the textbooks.  As a member of RHN you can submit questions to our experienced team.  A little guidance can go a long way in avoiding costly mistakes.

Credit Reports – Placing qualified tenants can be one of the most important decisions you may make as a landlord.  RHN has partnered with CIC, a tenant screening service, to allow you to set up your own account to run easy to read tenant screening reports.

Legislative & Industry Updates – RHN continues to update our members with on-going changes in the rental industry, Fair Housing Laws and new legislation.  It’s so important to be informed to avoid costly mistakes.

Network – We’re all in this together.  There is a wealth of knowledge that can be attained by spending time with other professionals and sharing experiences.

Rental Listings- Members can list and edit their available properties through the RHN site.  The rental is then posted on a tenant friendly site, Rental Listing Network, where tenants can search for listings that meet their criteria.  Tenants love it because it is more secure than other sites and there is a low risk of being scammed.  Only RHN members can list their properties on our Rental Listing Network.

Resources- RHN provides members with a list of public and non-profit rental housing agencies.  In addition, all the informational guides and helpful notices on the website can be downloaded for free to our members.

There will always be a few shady landlords, just as there will always be a few dishonest tenants.  For those few it’s not a matter of education.  It’s a matter of ethics.  But for the majority of landlords who take pride in their investments and in being professional, RHN has something for you.


Find us online at


Five Things You Can Do To Effectively Manage Resident Complaints

Written by Landlord Property Management Magazine on . Posted in Blog

By: Rommel Anacan | The Relationship Difference


Have you ever heard the statement, “Customer service would be easy if it weren’t for those customers?” Sometimes that is just too true, isn’t it?

After all we know that sometimes residents:

  • Don’t read their leases
  • Don’t think their leases actually apply to them
  • Cause the problem then get mad at you for the problem
  • Can be unreasonable
  • Can be dishonest
  • And on and on and on and on

The challenge that you face is even if a complaining resident is all of the above, you still have to deal with the situation don’t you? In other words, the fact that a resident may be all of the above doesn’t mean that you can just brush off their complaints. Well you could try but then you still have ‘Harold’ standing in the middle of the leasing office wondering why he can’t “speak to the manager!”

So what can you do…or what can you encourage your teams to do to manage these situations? After being in contact with thousands of people during my career, both onsite and at corporate, I have isolated FOUR effective things that people can do when someone complains.


One: Help the customer feel important

The most important “people-skill” that I believe all of us should learn is how to make other people feel important. If you are able to make an unhappy resident feel important, you will go a long way towards resolving any issues, even before you get to resolving the issue.

I cannot tell you how many times I spoke with people who just needed to vent and feel as if they were important enough to be heard. And even when I couldn’t give these people what they asked for,  I still got lots of “thank yous” and even some apologies after I took the time to make sure they felt important.

Two: Remember it’s not a battle

One of the most common mistakes that associates make is approaching a customer complaint as if it were a battle to be won or lost. How many times have you seen this when you’ve lodged a complaint with a company? Don’t you often want to say, “Look I’m not the enemy here, I’m just unhappy about this!”

A battle with a resident is battle you cannot win, even if you’re right. And the issue shouldn’t be about trying to prove who is “right” and who is “wrong” but how the issue may be resolved.

And the more you fight with a customer, the less important you make them feel . . . which means they will continue to do what they have to do to prove they are important!


Three: Lose the snark

Four: Use some warmth

When someone has a complaint, she often braces for “impact.” In other words, she expects the associate may give her some grief (especially if the resident secretly knows she was in the wrong), so she is prepared to dish it right back.

Remember that scene in the movie Top Gun when one of the pilots says, “I’m going to guns!” An upset resident is often prepared to go to guns…so when an associate fires a round of snark, the resident is prepared to pull the trigger.

Not the best way to diffuse a situation, huh?

When you’re genuinely warm and sincere with a customer, that can immediately diffuse things. I mean, how can someone argue with, “I’m so sorry. I see that we really fell short and I’d love to see what we can do to help you.”

business help or solution to problem isolated on whiteFive: Look for solutions

As I talked about earlier, associates often see these situations as battles to be won; so the search for solutions takes a back seat to putting the customer in his place. But the truth is, there are always solutions to be found aren’t there?

Sure, sometimes the solutions are not what the customer wanted initially, or what associates were able to do initially…but there are solutions everywhere. You just have to be willing to look for them.


RA picture 1ARommel Anacan is the president of The Relationship Difference; a corporate training, motivational speaking and consulting firm. His passion is helping people succeed by helping them improve the quality of their relationships. He is a multi-family housing veteran, having worked at all levels of the industry from onsite to corporate, where he developed a reputation for solving common industry challenges in an uncommon way.

You can reach Rommel at and on Twitter @rommelanacan

Apartment Gardening for Kids

Written by Landlord Property Management Magazine on . Posted in Blog

By: Nicholas Walker

Apartment living does not mean that you have to give up gardening; it just means that you have to be more creative with space and more thoughtful of what you choose to grow. The same goes for pint size apartment dwellers; tending to a garden is a great way for kids to learn about the earth and gain pride in themselves as they work hard to take care of something. Growing a mini garden sized just right for an apartment is easy and here are some ideas for a miniature plot:


1. First of all it is important to evaluate the amount of space there is available.  If there is no balcony or any outside area connected to the apartment then step inside, it is amazing where a garden can grow; kitchen window sills, bathroom shelves, tabletops, sunny corners where plants can thrive.  Once the decision about where to grow the garden has been made then what to grow comes next and the choices are many.

2.  Making a miniature garden that kids can tend can is as simple as purchasing a few small pots of indoor plants and flowers and clustering them together in one area, African violets, cyclamen, hibiscus and orchids are great choices and have color and yummy aromas which kids love.   Choose a container and fill it with succulents, add pebbles and rocks for a southwestern feel that will definitely bring some sunshine into a winter home. Avoid prickly cacti or little hands could get hurt when looking after their garden, stick to aloe plants  and smooth leafed desert cacti;  the great news about succulents is that they are hardy, low maintenance and look interesting, a triple whammy of miniature cool.

3.  Growing a garden from a seed is always a winner; it opens up a wonderful opportunity to teach kids all about where food comes from and the importance of looking after our planet.  As the plants grow, so will the joy that kids get from tending to their indoor plot.  It is a relatively inexpensive way to start a garden but it is more time consuming and seeds need a lot of care in the beginning to survive.

4. An indoor herb garden is a great idea as well and all you need is a window ledge and some light and you are in the miniature gardening business, which means big fun for kids. Herbs are fast growing and hardy, they smell yummy and taste delicious too so they are a wonderful introduction to sustainable gardening for kids; eating what you grow has always been very cool. Some good herbs to grow are mint, rosemary, basil, cilantro, thyme, lemongrass and oregano.

5.  Tabletop gardening is a great use of small space, all that is needed is a pot, soil and sunlight and you are good to grow. Growing a mini tropical garden is as easy as picking a coconut, plant some miniature bamboo, miniature palm trees and aromatic orchids to make a tropical jungle garden fit for an apartment.

Apartment gardening for kids is fun, affordable and environmentally conscious, three good reasons to get growing.


NickWalkerNicholas Walker is one of the world’s most accomplished garden designer- builders. Nicholas is a member of the Association of Professional Landscape Designers and the Garden Writer’s Association of America. His partnership in Jardin, of  kathy ireland Worldwide (kiWW), has established him as one of America’s most celebrated and innovative leaders, in the design community.  He speaks on sustainability, the environment and a healthy, greener lifestyle.

His stunning works of art have been featured in magazines, such as the historic Elizabeth Taylor gardens’ inArchitectural DigestMetropolitan Home, Sunset MagazineGarden DesignForbes and LA Times Magazine. He is also a contributor, to Good Housekeeping Do it Yourself, Woman, and

Media Apperances:

Oprah, HGTV | Forbes Magazine | Architectural Digest- The Private World of Elizabeth Taylor | Casual Living | Gardens of Inspiration | Sustanable Living Council Dwell on Design | Craftsman Radio | Bella Petite Magazine

Gotcha! Yelp Cracking Down on Paid Reviews, Making Review Management Critical

Written by Landlord Property Management Magazine on . Posted in Blog

Submitted by

Review based websites, like Yelp and TripAdvisor, have always been popular with customers when it comes to picking products and service. They give the customer the opportunity to read what people just like them think of something. They aren’t hearing the bias reviews of the company; they are hearing it from the people who actually use the product/service. 84% of Americans say online reviews have an influence on their decision to purchase a product or service. This statistic makes review management that much more important.

review websites

Although most companies do not like these types of review sites, they are necessary and are not going away, so they need to respond in an appropriate manner to negative reviews. Instead of investing in legitimate brand management companies, like chatmeter, some places like to cheat the system and buy reviews, which ultimately is deceitful and deceiving for the consumer. People will read the fake reviews, thinking that they are from real customers, and may make their decision whether to buy or not. These tactics are not only unfair to the consumer but they are also unfair to the competition. This is a form of “black hat” review management and Yelp is taking a stand against it.

Yelp has always had review filters, which weeds out fake reviews through an algorithmic process. Unfortunately, real reviews are sometimes picked out by this process and tagged as fake reviews. This can be incredibly frustrating for businesses because the filter deletes their hard earned reviews and makes review management even harder. Yelp’s first priority is ensuring that the customer gets the most legitimate information so sometimes it’s the business that loses out.

In an effort to stop these fake reviews, Yelp will start posting a “consumer alert” that will say, “We caught someone red-handed trying to buy reviews for this business.” The alert will be posted on the offender’s page for all to see. It will have a link showing the consumer exactly which reviews are fake, as well as the company’s emails trying to hire reviewers. Yelp says the alerts will be posted for 90 days (longer of the company continues to post fake reviews).

Businesses need to know that buying positive reviews is not the only way to improve your online reputation. Although they may think it will help them, being caught will hurt them even more.  Consumers will remember that they were a deceitful company and take that into consideration when looking for that product/service again. Ignoring the negative comments and trying to bury them with positive ones is only a quick fix to their online reputation and there ultimately a bigger problem with in the company. Companies need to understand that they can’t sweep their problems under the rug and pretend that everything is perfect. Companies need to respond to negative reviews and let the unhappy customer know that their comments will be taken into consideration in the future to help improve whatever needs to be fixed. By responding, it shows that you care about their feedback and that you are actually going to do something about it. This is what managing you online reputation and a business is all about.



As the first Local Brand Management (LBM) platform, we help large franchises and agencies with hundreds of locations measure and improve their marketing effectiveness. This is actionable local intelligence that has never been available before. With the fragmentation of local search marketing today, it’s become impossible for agencies and national retailers to properly manage the brand at the local level. The chatmeter service measures the online marketing effectiveness for each location by analyzing its online visibility and reputation, benchmarks its performance against other local competitors, and provides personalized recommendations for improvement via a simple dashboard and daily email alerts. Armed with this information, marketers can understand which locations and channels to focus their efforts. By taking ownership of online visibility and the customer experience, marketers can have can have a significant positive impact on reaching new customers.


Four Reasons to Ditch the ‘Gimmick’ Phone Greeting

Written by Landlord Property Management Magazine on . Posted in Blog

By: Rommel Anacan  |  The Relationship Difference

If your employees answer phones onsite with some variation of these greetings:


“It’s a GREAT day at Quail Run Apartments!”
“It’s a BEAUTIFUL day at The Enclave!”
“It’s an awesome morning at Eagle Creek. Home of world-class service, 24 hour apartment maintenance, Satisfaction Award winner for 3 years running, fresh-baked cookies, and the best coffee outside of Seattle…!”

After Sandy… Now What?

Written by Landlord Property Management Magazine on . Posted in Blog

7 Suggestions to help you plow through the Chaos

By: Nick Frantz

In October, Hurricane Sandy slammed the east coast and wiped out entire communities. Sandy, the largest Atlantic mega storm on record, caused 100 deaths; an estimated $50 billion in damages; demolished hundreds of thousands of homes and businesses; and left millions of households and businesses without electricity, heat, water and provisions.

If you’re struggling with the aftermath, there may not be a lot that’s within your control. But sometimes, even one or two adjustments to your recovery plan can make a difference. Here are seven ideas that may give you some command over the chaos.

1.  Do you have a crisis team? Although your entire staff may be in crisis, assemble a crisis team anyway and assign specific responsibilities: civil and resident communications, utilities and supplies, property repairs, street and transportation updates, etc. Bring your team together in a physical location, conference call or social media site for daily updates. Let them know your expectations and maintain regular contact with them.


2.  Get frequent updates from FEMA, state, and local recovery teams. Google “FEMA updates” and choose from several options. Do the same for your local municipalities and utility companies. Stay updated on:

– How long your area will be affected; when utilities and services will be fully restored and when to expect outages

– Local status of transportation, street conditions, tunnel and bridge openings, availability of provisions and supplies, etc.

3.  Commit to regular and frequent communications with your residents. Send short, direct messages to keep them updated on every aspect of the recovery efforts (for your property and your local area). Keep your messages simple, but provide specific details. Whether they’re on your site or not, your residents want to be kept informed.

4.  Use as many communication mediums as possible. Communications may be erratic for you and also for your residents. Use as many contact numbers and mediums as possible: land lines, cell phones, email, websites and social media sites.

5.  Set up alternative communication sites using social media. During Sandy, when communications were overwhelmed or failed, social media became the reliable go-to medium. Set up go-to sites on social media to ensure that you can communicate with your staff and your residents.


6.  Protect your records and your data. It’s your responsibility to protect sensitive data and documents (bank records, account numbers, social security numbers). Make sure you subscribe to a data backup service. This is a good time to rethink what types of hardcopies you really need to keep.

7.  Prepare for a long recovery period. Stay prepared for intermittent power, water and supply shortages and outages. Budget these resources and always keep your cell phone charged. Always get the important things done in case you unexpectedly lose power. Conserve your water and other supplies in spite of recovery progress.  Shortages may suddenly occur.

If your property is in a recovery zone, you’ll be facing enormous challenges in the months ahead. The steps you take now to take charge, stay updated and keep others informed will help your recovery and hopefully ease frustrations for yourself, your team and your residents.

About Nick Frantz

Nick Frantz is the National Sales Manager for Property Management Solutions at One Call Now, where he has worked since March 2011. He specializes in Property Management solutions – commercial and residential – assisting in communications between property managers and staff/residents. Nick holds a Bachelor of Science degree from Miami University.

One Call Now 726 Grant St. Troy, OH 45373 |  Phone: 937-573-2331