Posts Tagged ‘Property Management’

So Many Apps, So Little Time

Written by Landlord Property Management Magazine on . Posted in Blog

By: Nick Frantz

I have a friend who’s nuts about apps. He’s always downloading the latest and greatest. Whenever we meet, he tells me about a new one he’s found. The last time we talked, he said, “So many apps, so little time.” Now that was a comment that stuck.

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Apps… all these wonderfully creative little tools. Some are useful. Some are just fun. But for me, the best ones are the apps that save us time.

There are dozens of apps available to help property managers. But resident-specific apps would be a big help, too. So how do you cut through the clutter to find them?

Here are three primary functions that provide ample app opportunities for you and your residents:

Think “functions” first… then look for the apps.

1. Maintenance Requests. In a 2011 SatisFacts Research survey, residents reported that the quality of maintenance services is the number one factor influencing retention. Number one! You want— you need—to make maintenance requests, scheduling and follow-up easy for you and easy for your residents.

Your property management software may offer an app for residents to use to submit maintenance requests. Maintenance issues don’t always wait until you’re in your office. Use your message notification service to confirm appointments and satisfaction. Check for apps that allow you to communicate with residents and staff anytime, from anywhere. And apps that make it easy for message recipients to add appointments to their calendars.

2. Payment Processing. Online payment processing is good for your cash flow. Some property management software offer payment processing apps for residents. Use your message notification service to send automatic reminders that help keep payments coming in on time.

3. Communications. In the same 2011 SatisFacts Research survey, residents ranked the ability to easily communicate with the community staff fourth in nearly 50 items analyzed. A good message notification service helps property managers meet the challenge of timely communications with staff and residents. But managing the daily flow of incoming communications is challenging for recipients, too. Again, look for apps from your message notification service that are created specifically help recipients manage their messages and their calendars.

Time is a valuable commodity. With only so much of it in a day, it’s a struggle to keep up—to get everything done. Hassle-free time savers are always welcome. Make life easier for you and your residents with apps that shave minutes off your days and turn multiple steps into just a few taps.

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

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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.

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What is the OFAC Terrorism Watch Search and Why is It Important to Real Estate Professionals and Landlords?

Written by Landlord Property Management Magazine on . Posted in Blog

Elizabeth Whited, May 13, 2013 | ewhited@therrd.com, 1-855-733-2289

When choosing screening services have you ever wondered what the OFAC search was, and if it was really necessary to use for your company? Recent events like the tragedy in Boston have placed a lot of emphasis on America’s terrorist watch list, and what it really means.

OFAC_logoThe Office of Foreign Asset Control, or OFAC is part of the U.S. Department of Treasury’s Office of Terrorism and Financial Intelligence. It administers and enforces economic and trade sanctions based on national security goals against targeted foreign countries and regimes, terrorists, parties engaged with weapons of mass destruction, and other threats to the national security, foreign policy or the economy of the United States (US Department of Treasury).

So how does this search affect you and your business? In short: the list they administer and enforce tells you who and who you cannot do business with legally. The list they create of the restricted parties is known as the “Specially Designated Nationals List” (SDN), and is available on their website. A recent LinkedIn poll showed that 78% of Real Estate professionals use the OFAC search and believe it to be an important tool, while 5% used it, but didn’t really know what it was, or what they were getting, and 16% did not use it in their tenant or pre-employment screening at all, or knew what it was.

While the SDN list is extensive, it is important to note that you always need to perform due diligence with it (just as with any other report you get back with tenant or employment screening), as it can return with similar names to your applicants. If you do suspect a match has been found there are hotlines to call to verify that information, depending on what list you received the information from.

Most OFAC searches will return with information regarding the applicant at the top: name, address, filing state, social security number, birth date, birth country, and a best name, followed by the databases searched. It is important that every applicant to any property, be it small, large, class A-C assets, should be screened, and in light of recent events should be searched through the OFAC Terrorist Watch/Patriot Act Database.

Not only is it important to screen every tenant or employee applicant, it is also important to know and completely understand what you are receiving in your reports. It is also good practice to perform due-diligence before making any final conclusions.

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ElizabethWhitedAbout the Author: Elizabeth Whited is the Operations Coordinator at the Rent Rite Directory. She has written educational articles for multifamily magazines and Real Estate websites to help Property Managers and Owners improve their properties, in an effort to reduce crime in their communities. The Rent Rite Directory educates Property Managers and Owners at Crime Watch Meetings, and Crime Free Association Conferences, and works closely with law enforcement nationwide. For more information, visit www.therrd.com

‘Tis the Season… For Maintenance!

Written by Landlord Property Management Magazine on . Posted in Blog

Spring has sprung and so have leaks, cracks, weeds, you name it

By: Nick Frantz

BuildingMaintenance_iconSpring has sprung… it’s maintenance season! After the winter thaw come the winds, the rain, the leaky pipes and roofs, the cracked paint, the weed surge, the potholes, need I say more? It’s a time when property maintenance becomes a frantic rush to stay ahead of the routine schedule, so you can also tackle the unplanned issues.

This is also a time that puts your retention rates at risk.

Here’s why: the quality of maintenance services tops residents’ lists of all factors that influence retention (SatisFacts Research 2011 survey). Yes, you’ve got to get the job done, but keeping your residents satisfied with your maintenance efforts doesn’t take perfection. It takes communication and coordination.

When it comes to maintenance issues, nobody likes to be surprised!

People become dissatisfied when their expectations are not met. Now this is good news for property managers. With timely communications and follow up, you have more control. You set the expectations.

Put a maintenance communication plan in place and get your staff onboard. Develop a communication plan with specific steps and stick to it. For example, when residents request service:

  1. Acknowledge requests as soon as you receive them.
  2. Let the residents know the next steps: who will perform the service, when it will be scheduled, what will happen.
  3. Confirm all appointments with residents.
  4. Follow up with residents after every service call.
  5. Continue to follow up until the maintenance is complete.

For general property maintenance:

  1. Let residents know what will be happening, who will perform the service, when it will take place and if alternative actions are needed (e.g. “…park in the north lot until repaving is finished on Tuesday”).
  2. Notify residents when the maintenance is complete.

Electronic communications—your website, email, texts and phones—will make this heightened level of communication easier. Check out a message notification service. It can save you and your staff loads of time and be convenient for your residents, too.

Let your residents know that you are addressing their maintenance issues and that it’s important that they are satisfied. It will pay off in the high-quality condition of your property… and it will pay off at renewal time, too.

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

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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.

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Green is Sprouting Up Everywhere | 5 Practical Ideas to Green Up your Bottom Line

Written by Landlord Property Management Magazine on . Posted in Blog

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By: Nick Frantz

It seems that everyone is taking steps to go a little green. So what’s it mean for property managers? Is it worth your time and effort to promote a green agenda?

For individuals, going green is a personal choice. For some it comes down to situational decisions, “Should I buy my regular detergent or this green one?” For those more committed to the cause it’s a lifestyle choice. And still for others, the choices are financially driven, “I’ll buy my regular cleaning products because they cost less and this hybrid car because it uses less gas.” Participation spans all ages. But the 20–35 year age group is the most committed… and it strongly influences their decision making.

To Play or Not to Play?

It all shakes out to this: yes, the green movement is a trend. It’s a cause. But it’s not a fad. Businesses have seized the opportunity by producing fit-the-need products. Federal, state and local governments are responding with increasing regulatory requirements and restrictions. Green is a factor that affects purchase decisions… so it stands to reason that it plays a role in rental and retention decisions, too.

Here are five practical ideas to put a little green to work on your property.

1. Decide on your light bulbs. In 2014 you will be forced to make a light bulb decision. That’s when the federal government’s ban on incandescent bulbs goes into effect. For standard fixtures, your new choices are CFL (compact fluorescent) bulbs or LED (light-emitting diode) bulbs. Both deliver huge energy savings over their old fashioned predecessor. LEDs are superior in energy usage and quality of light, but are much more expensive to purchase.

2. Expand on recycling opportunities. In most municipalities, recyclable trash is picked up separately from regular trash. Although often voluntary, in some areas it’s mandatory. You may already have separate bins for recyclable trash. Are there enough of them? Are they convenient?

I know a managed community whose residents have curb-side pickup, but they take their paper products and aluminum cans to centrally-located bins for pick up. The vendor pays for the recyclable paper and cans and the funds go into the HOA. . It’s a voluntary program and nearly everyone participates.

3. Ask your utility companies to help. Contact all your utility companies and ask for onsite assessments. Some may charge for the service. However fees are usually reasonable and may qualify you for discounts on upgrades or repairs. They also should have energy-saving tips they can pass on to you, or available on their websites. Pull the ones that apply to your property and publish your own tip list.

4. Increase communications, but conserve your paper. It’s time—past time—to make a serious reduction in your paper communications. A message notification service can do the job better and save you loads of time and money, too. Look for one that sends voice and text messages to cell phones and also to email.

5. Foster a green perception. Lots of brands tout green qualities. But the ones that carry strong green reputations do a better job at fostering the perception. Make that work for you. Whenever appropriate, communicate your green efforts.

  •  “When you’re in the common areas, please use the recycle trash cans for your empty soda cans.”
  • “Now that it’s getting warmer, please adjust your thermostat when you leave, so your air conditioner isn’t running up your electric bill while you’re gone.”
  • Thank you for your positive responses to our messaging system. Last month alone it reduced our paper usage by more than 800 sheets. That’s nearly two reams!”

AptGreen(2)None of these ideas are large-scale initiatives. They’re small changes that collectively make a big difference. They also foster the perception that you’re proactively doing your part. Plus, you just might find that your efforts add some green to your bottom line.

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

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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.

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Income Property Management Expo Yields Answers to Uncertain Times

Written by Landlord Property Management Magazine on . Posted in Blog

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This is an exciting, dynamic, ever-shifting time for income property managers and investors.

Land values and rents are on a rapid upward climb – finally – but so too are operating and maintenance costs, legislative mandates and potential liabilities.

What does this uncertain mix of events mean to the future of the industry?

  • Will the collective assault on Prop. 18 succeed?
  • Will affordable rent become an enforceable mandate?
  • What impact does California’s energy policy have on commercial and investment property now and in the future?

The answers to many of these questions won’t be known until they unfold in the months ahead.

Clearly, the industry is in flux – poised between unprecedented opportunities, demands and uncertainties – and it will become increasingly important as we all move forward for income property owners and managers to stay informed.

How does a busy real estate professional stay current?

A collective resource of experts will provide a one-stop cache of information at the Income Property Management Expo May 7 at the Ontario Convention Center in Southern California. (Visit www.incomepropertyexpo.com for details.)

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Through a variety of presentations, workshops and face-to-face meetings, they will address current issues and trends in the industry, from finance and maintenance to energy efficiency, renewable energy and environmental laws.

FAIR HOUSING, LITIGATION AND OTHER LEGAL ISSUES:  Law firms and legal experts will be on hand to provide the latest information on new statutes, mandates and precedents affecting property managers and income property owners.

FINANCE AND TAX STRATEGIES: Today, 1031 exchanges provide more value than ever. Lending rates are at an all-time low. Experts will be on hand to discuss custom-made solutions for those in attendance, including low-rate cash flow loans.

MAINTENANCE: Frankie Alvarez, co-author of the “Dear Maintenance Men” column, will provide seven important tips and other details to keeping operations to a minimum.

GREEN MANDATES AND INCENTIVES: How do AB32 and other new pieces of legislation impact how you must do business? What kinds of incentives are available to income property owners to save energy or to go solar? Government representatives and service providers will be on hand to explain the many incentives that can help building owners save money on energy costs.

This is a great opportunity to catch up on the latest, to touch base with experts with questions specific to your situation, and to network with others in the industry who might be of value later on.

When it comes to staying informed and getting the most from the time invested, the Income Management Property Expo is an efficient resource that could bring about significant returns. A second expo is planned for October in San Mateo. Visit www.incomepropertyexpo.com for details.

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Deniene Husted is a longtime journalist and public relations professional with nearly 25 years of experience serving the Southern California region. Reach her at dhusted@sdrpr.com

Income Property Management Expo

Written by Landlord Property Management Magazine on . Posted in Blog

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Apartment News Publications Inc. is teaming up with the Income Property Management Expo to provide Apartment Owners/Managers & Commercial Property Management Companies with tools for efficient, cost effective management, operation and maintenance of their communities & facilities!

Join us October 30, 2013 for the Bay Area Income Property Management Expo at the San Mateo Event Center!
Click Here to Pre-Register Online

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Bay Area California Attendee Information:

  • follow-us-on-twitter2Apartment Owners
  • Property Managers
  • HOA
  • Commercial Property Management Companies
  • Service & Maintenance Staff
  • Industry Partners & Vendors

View Expo Floor Plan: Click Here

Seminar Line Up:

10:00 am:  The Eviction Process – Learn more about Northern CA Rent Control & Eviction Laws

11:00 am:  Your Business is Mobile Are You? Learn how mobile is impacting your vacancy rate

12:00 pm:  The Essentials of NFPA Code – 6 Primary NFPA Tests & Inspections required for your property

2:00 pm:  Construction Defect Claims – Take action upon notice of construction defects

3:00 pm:  Fair Housing & How it Effects You

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Visit Us Online!

To learn more about the Income Property Management Expo, or to reserve a booth for the Exhibitor Floor, visit IncomePropertyExpo.com!

Are Your People Ready to be the Face of Your Brand?

Written by Landlord Property Management Magazine on . Posted in Blog

brand_facesBy: Rommel Anacan The Relationship Difference

Until they merged with United Airlines I made a decision that I would NEVER again fly Continental Airlines. Ever. This was all because of one bad experience I had with a member of the Continental flight crew while traveling.

After this experience whenever I saw a commercial or marketing piece for Continental, I thought of this crew member and how she treated me. No amount of colorful airline livery or fancy marketing would ever replace the fact that to me that flight attendant was Continental Airlines. And since I didn’t like my experience with her, I didn’t like the company. Period. End of story.

What does this have to do with your company?

I don’t care if your CEO has degrees from Harvard, Yale and Oxford; or if your executives have every certification given in the multi-family universe; or if your regional managers are the most intelligent and articulate groups of regionals the industry has ever seen . . . to the average customer, they are not your ‘brand.’

The people sitting behind the leasing desks are your brand. The people answering the phones at your community, responding to emails, monitoring your social media spaces and taking clients on tour are the face of your company to the average customer.

Remember your first day?

My very first property was an ultra-luxury community in Newport Beach, California. Rents for a one-bedroom home started at $1,860 and went all the way up to over $4,000 per month. Now how much time and effort do you think was spent preparing me to be the face of this mega-multi-million dollar community and of the company’s brand before I met with my first client?

One hour!

On my first day I was given the tour, handed the keys to the model and golf cart, showed where my desk was and given the book of 23 floorplans and a site map. I shadowed the business manager on one tour and then was then let loose to help customers and become the face of this iconic community.

How good do you think I was in my first 30 days? Not very. The adjustment to the property management industry was tougher than I expected. While I was a “nice guy” to everyone, I just wasn’t very good as a leasing agent in my early days. Our office was very busy, with everyone having multiple things on their plates, so I was really expected to figure things out on my own until I received my formal training a month later. Thank goodness the senior leasing agent showed me some of the ropes!

When I got the chance to manage my own community I didn’t want my people to go through what I went through. I didn’t want someone to become the face of my community and company (and me!) without preparing them for the role.

Here is what I did:

  1. I developed a leasing on-boarding program. I walked my people through all aspects of the leasing process, giving them all of the tools, techniques and secrets that I learned during my career. (Eventually my company adopted some of these ideas and created an on-boarding program for all associates.)
  2. I didn’t allow my new hires to help clients until they went through the program and felt they were ready. This period lasted anywhere from one week to two weeks, depending on the person.
  3. personally worked with and trained my new team members because I wanted to be the dominant influence in the early stages of their careers.

I’m not going to lie, doing these meant more work for me! There were times I thought I was nuts to do this. But when the first shops came in at 90% or above, I knew it was worth it! When my leasing agents achieved things in their first couple of months that took me much longer, I knew it was worth it.

When the office could essentially run itself and I didn’t need to be involved in the minutiae, I knew it was worth it!

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RA picture 1ARommel Anacan is the president of The Relationship Difference; a corporate training, motivational speaking and consulting firm based in Orange County, California.  He is a multifamily industry veteran, having worked at all levels of the industry from onsite to corporate, where he developed a reputation for tackling common challenges in an uncommon way.

You can reach Rommel at www.RelationshipDifference.com and on Twitter @rommelanacan

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 | OneCallNow.com

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.

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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.

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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 www.onecallnow.com, or call (877) 698-3262 to find out how our text, email and voice messages can work for your community.

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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.

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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:

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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.

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Find us online at www.rentalhousingnetwork.com

 

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

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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.

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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!

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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.

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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 www.RelationshipDifference.com and on Twitter @rommelanacan

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