How to Minimize Property Management Headaches

Posted by Chris Clothier on Thu, Aug 21, 2014

propertymanagement-anger-2Whether you’ve taken on landlord responsibilities yourself as a real estate investor or you’ve hired a property manager, there are things people dislike about property management

It’s not all petty griping —there are some good reasons to complain. When you invest in real estate, It's a job that takes enormous patience, sacrifice and interpersonal and organizational skills.  Add the responsibility of managing your properties and it’s not for the faint of heart.

So how can real estate investors make the burden of property management responsibilities a little easier to bear? Let’s look at some of the most common complaints.

Bad Tenants

One of the more common complaints is that of bad tenants. Bad tenants come in many forms, and all of them offer unique frustrations and challenges for both the property manager and the real estate investor.  There are some tell-tale signs of a possible tenant challenge when you first meet someone looking to rent your property.

If they show up late, they may not be a good future tenant.  If they want to sign a lease without making a deposit or payment or offer a delayed first payment after move-in, they might not be a good future tenant.  If they give you a current address and you drive by their current residence (which you should always do) and they keep it in dissaray or it shows signs of them not up keeping the property, then they probably are not a good prospect as a future tenant.

You have to be careful when you vet your tenants and follow all of the national, state and local laws, but no law says you have to rent to a tenant who clearly gives you the impression that they will not respect you as a landlord or the property you own.

Tenants who don’t pay rent.

Real estate investors feel this one, too.  Chronically late payments are a problem, but they can be dealt with if the tenant is giving good communication.  Property managers don’t like to have to chase down delinquent payments., but they really hate working with a tenant only to have to chase them all over again.  This process shouldn’t be like pulling teeth.

How do you help prevent late payments?

Don’t be lax. While you can forgive a late payment in an emergency, don’t let it continue. Make sure that a system of reminders is in place, and that there are penalties for late payments (such as fees) or rewards for paying consistently early or on time. Make it clear from the beginning that late payments are not acceptable. 

Being lied to.

Lying is a problem many property managers face while dealing with tenants. Whether it’s lies about rent (“the check is in the mail!”) or the condition of the property (“it was like this when I moved in!”) or breaking the rental agreement (“I don’t have a dog”, “No one else lives here”, “I’ll be out in two weeks”), lies can make for a big headache.

The best thing you can do to prevent the frustration of being lied to is to screen tenants diligently and keep thorough records. Document the condition of the property before a tenant moves in with video or photos to prove damages.

Unfortunately, it also means you need to assume the worst (that you’re being lied to) until you can verify facts. Finding honest, good tenants isn’t always easy, but it gets easier over time.

Unexpected, urgent repairs.

As a real estate investor, you know it’s not fun to have to shell out a large sum to fix a big problem. Sudden repairs are always a downer and hassle, even if they’re unavoidable.

The best thing you can do to keep repairs from inducing a migraine is by being prepared for them. Make sure there’s regular maintenance on the front end, before problems start. You’ll be able to catch issues before they become urgent. By the same token, have reserves ready to cover repairs so that it doesn’t take a blow to your finances that you can’t afford. Always have some money set aside from emergencies.

There are plenty of other things that irk your landlords, and most of their hassles can be avoided with planning ahead of time. Don’t let property management become a pain!


How can you help ease the burden of property management responsibilities? Share your ideas with us in the comments.

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Topics: property management, landlord responsibilities