If you’re an onsite property manager, let us be the first to say, “Congratulations!”
After all, you are the proud “parent” of your apartment community. When there’s a question, you answer it. When there’s a problem, you solve it. Sometimes, you’re even called on to solve problems in the middle of the night. We get it, and we’re hoping to make your job a little easier with these three tips for onsite property managers.
Use an online tenant portal
When your renters have access to a tenant portal, you no longer have to collect paper checks and manually manage receipts. Yardi Breeze is ideal for onsite property managers who want to automate payment and work order processes that take up a lot of time.
Portals are easy to use. Tenants simply log in to their personal account. From there, they can pay rent, submit maintenance requests and communicate directly with you. Plus, all their data is safe in the cloud.
It’s not just tenants who benefit from portals. Property managers will see all maintenance requests in one place. This makes it easy to sort requests by level of importance and filter out completed tasks. Just imagine what you’d do with all the time saved with a tenant portal.
Study anti-discrimination laws
You don’t need to be a lawyer to be a property manager, but you still need to be familiar with anti-discrimination and fair housing laws. Since few managers double as legal professionals, it can be hard to keep current on tenant rights.
Onsite property managers are required to provide accommodations for tenants with physical, intellectual and/or emotional disabilities.
You also need to handle tenant complaints about other tenants, domestic abuse situations, noise violations, medicinal and recreational use of marijuana, etc. If the tenant has a disability, you must approach each situation with extra care and empathy. One bad decision can result in a housing discrimination lawsuit.
Scared of making a mistake? Don’t be! Study the Housing and Urban Development (HUD) guidelines to get familiar with anti-discrimination laws.
Set firm policies and stick to them
When you set the terms of a lease, you’re like a parent who sets expectations for behavior and respect. And what happens when parents don’t enforce their own rules? Exactly.
For instance, if you have a strict no-pet policy, stick to it. If you look the other way when one tenant gets a pet, others may decide to get pets too. At that point, you won’t be able to come back and try to enforce the rule. Tenants will be able to make a convincing case in front of a judge.
One exception to this rule: when the pet is an emotional support animal or service animal. Tenants with such pets are allowed to keep it, regardless of your pet policy.
Likewise, if you have a policy that defines how often an overnight guest may stay with a tenant, you need to enforce it. It can be a delicate situation, but non-enforcement may lead to unsigned tenants living on your property.
All your policies should be in the lease. Include information about what will happen if a policy is violated. It could be a one-time fee, monthly rent increase or even eviction of the tenant. As the onsite property manager, it’s up to you to put everything in writing before handing over the keys.