Depending on the property, apartment management can be very similar to managing a single family home.
…but that’s usually not the case.
Property management for apartment complexes tends to bring its own challenges for several reasons:
Even if you have a small complex, you’re going to be dealing with at least 2 tenants or upwards of 100. This brings a challenge to your apartment management because the more people you have living in a small space, the more likely you are to get complaints.
For example, almost any apartment complex that isn’t built out of solid concrete will have downstairs neighbors complain about their upstairs neighbors. All it takes is one person with a heavy foot, a dog that is constantly jumping around, or a few kids to thud on the ceiling all day long.
Another example is messiness. You may have 15 clean tenants in a building but then the 16th makes a huge mess. They leave stuff out in the walkways, garbage on the sidewalk, don’t clean up after their dog, etc.
When that happens, you have to lay down the law because…
You are the HOA
Homeowners associations tend to get a bad rap sometimes. They’re seen as too strict and overbearing, forcing homeowners to do certain things they may not want to.
But guess what- apartment management essentially means YOU are the HOA.
So when someone is causing a mess or being too loud or just not following the rules in general, you’re the bad guy!
There is a good side to this though. You get to screen the tenants as they come in, whereas an HOA can’t do that. Plus, you control how the complex’s rules are set up, and you can easily display them on a website.
When you’re working with a series of single family homes, physically going to the tenants to collect rent is a pain. You may be lucky with all of your tenants paying on time, but that’s rarely the case.
With apartment management, you can easily visit all of your unpaying tenants within an hour.
Either way, the best method to collect rent for apartments is with an online system. If you are manually processing those checks every month, you’re just adding a lot of unnecessary time and effort yourself.
If your apartment complex has even just 4 tenants, that’s 4 times the number of maintenance you can have compared to just one tenant! Appliances break down, leaks occur, bugs get into the building, etc.
Because a complex has more regular maintenance to deal with than a single family home, you’ll want a good way to track your maintenance projects. Something as simple as an Excel spreadsheet can work, but you want to consider a cloud-based application instead. That way you or your partners can access it from anywhere.
Local Laws and Regulations
Renting a single family home has different legal guidelines than renting out apartments. If you aren’t familiar with the local requirements, consider talking to a lawyer or at least look through your state and city’s laws regarding multifamily housing.