A property can be well designed and located in a desired area, but unless tenants are managed properly and occupancy is maintained at a high level, financial returns to the owner will suffer.

When tenants are dissatisfied with their living situation, they will vacate at the end of their lease– or in some cases– before the lease expires.  The combination of lost rental income and increased costs for marketing to replace lost tenants take a toll on the profitability of a rental property.

Effective tenant management involves:

  • Solid rent collection practices:  Where in the the lease does it state when rent is due? When will rent be considered late?  What are the penalties for overdue rent?  When will drastic action be taken to collect rent?  The first rule of good tenant relations is to have a clear set of rules and instructions for your tenants.  Consistent enforcement of these rules is key in maintaining a respectful and professional tenant-manager relationship. Using modern rent collection techniques like automatic electronic payments from the renter account can help make this process more reliable.
  • Consistent and informative communication:  Whether it’s door flyers, email or text messaging, a consistent channel of communication between manager and tenant is vital to the long term success of a property.  Social media can also be utilized to create more efficient means of communication.  Facebook, Twitter, and Google+ are all mediums that assist property managers in strengthening tenant relations by forming a supportive community.  These platforms allow maintenance requests, building events, concierge services and other needs and concerns to be communicated in a more direct manner.
  • Responsive handling of repairs and maintenance:  Reinforcing the importance of communication and instructions, tenants need to know when and how to report a maintenance problem.  The easier this process the better.  Just as in rent collection, consistency is key in this area of property management.  Tenants need some kind of idea of how soon a manager will respond to a complaint– both during a regular workday and at night or on the weekend.  If outside contractors are hired to make repairs, a manager must remain informed on the situation and make sure the services are completed in a timely manner.
  • Concierge Services: For multi-family properties, a property manager also fulfills a residential services role from handling package delivery to booking amenities and managing common areas so that they are comfortable and inviting for all.

Failure in any of these areas will result in dissatisfied tenants, lower occupancy rates, increased marketing costs and lower return on investment. A property manager that does not consistently perform these duties will likely be replaced by the owner.