When it comes to your relationship with your property manager, there are four specific areas where you know a change in management is required. We’ll explore each of these areas separately: accounting problems; maintenance issues; bad tenants; and, communication problems.
If you can’t make heads or tails of your statement, and you notice that the starting balance on your current statement does not match the ending balance of your prior statement, you have a problem. This is especially alarming if there is no explanation and no revisions.
Most maintenance problems stem from the property manager having too much discretion with your dollars. It’s one thing to have a management company go ahead and pay for a $120 repair bill without getting your permission first, but what will you do when it’s a $2,000 air conditioning bill? You don’t want your property manager to have the same discretion, and it shouldn’t be expected. Set a limit. We recommend a limit of $250 to $300. Anything above that, your management company should contact you first to discuss the issue and get permission. Make sure your management company knows you or your own maintenance man may be making some of these repairs. Then, they will know you’re watching your dollars. Don’t allow a property management company too much discretion with your money.
If you constantly have a high tenant turnover rate, or your tenants are paying late or not paying at all and they always have an excuse, your property manager isn’t doing a great job. It’s the result of poor screening choices. They are probably not doing background or credit checks and they are likely not calling past landlords and asking the right questions. Questions should include – did the tenants pay rent on time? Would you rent to them again? Did they get their entire security deposit back?
Bad communication is my pet peeve. Your Orlando property manager must be accessible and swift in returning calls and emails. If a call comes in or a problem is reported before noon, it should be handled by your property manager before the end of the day. If the call comes in after noon, it should be taken care of by noon the following day. We believe that’s timely. Managers who are sick or on vacation should have someone in the office who can take care of your needs. If there’s a message left on the answering machine telling you that your property manager is on vacation for the next 10 days, that’s bad service.
These issues demonstrate that your property management company is not treating your investment as if it was their own, and they need to. If you have any questions about how to know it’s time to change property managers, please contact us at Russell Properties and we’d be happy to help.
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- Rob Russell