All property management types—single-family homes, condos, townhouses, multiplexes, and apartment buildings—may seem really different at first glance. After all, single-family home tenants tend to reside there longer and likely have outside maintenance that needs to be done. With condos and apartment buildings, the tenants can forget about lawn maintenance, but you may have several different tenants over the years and therefore extra costs for turning the apartment over. Some things remain the same, however. What are things that are true for all types?
You Need to Have a Paper Trail
Having a paper trail seems like common sense, until you get in a jam and realize you weren’t able to finalize that contract for your tenant to sign and here they are waiting for their keys to the new place. They need to sign the lease first, and for that matter, one thing that is true for all property management types is that you need to keep thorough records of everything. Their initial application, the signed lease, background checks, credit checks, income verification, stipulations such as wall painting and noise regulations, and maintenance records. All of these things are important and invaluable down the road, in case a problem or accusation results from something on the property.
Pets Will Be Issues
Pets will likely not be your most diligent tenants for all property management types. Many people like to rent these days, but many people have pets, too. Pets can mean scratched floors and doors, pests such as fleas and mites, extra hair that’s hard to get rid of, a lingering odor whether from the animal’s coat or urine, and to top all this off—they have the potential to bite people. If you’re the property owner and this incident takes place on your property, you’ll likely have some legal issues to deal with. All property management types may not be completely similar, but be assured that an animal has potential to cause you problems across the board.
Communication Is Key
One thing that remains true for all property management types is that communication is crucial to a successful tenant/landlord relationship, especially if it will be a long-term commitment for both of you. The communication that exists between you and your tenants (or you and your property manager) will be what enables repairs to get done, what makes rules and stipulations clear, and it also enables you to learn about your tenants—this to better foresee potential problems in the future. The better a relationship you have with your tenant, the more they’ll trust you and rely on you, and they may happen to mention they’re moving their boyfriend in too.
Maintenance Needs to Happen
Just because there’s not a yard doesn’t mean the maintenance will be at a minimum. Apartments, condos, and multiplexes need almost as much maintenance as a single-family home. Maintenance on apartment buildings can be a little overwhelming depending on how many units your building has. Make sure you or your property manager can accommodate the needs of all the units there and have services in place for when things do happen and repairs need to be done on a regular basis. Don’t forget the maintenance you’ll need in order to turn the house or the units over when the tenants leave. All property management types may have tenants who feel that the property is theirs to do with what they will—including painting the walls an eggplant purple or having their kids decorate the bathroom with crayons.
The Fair Housing Act dictates rules for all types of property that landlords or property managers cannot discriminate based on certain factors such as gender, disability, race, age, marital status, or sexual orientation. The same is true if you have a potential tenant who you believe will make requests for something to be reasonably accommodated—such as grab bars for the bathtub or a service animal when you have a strict no-pets rule. These types of things you cannot discriminate against—and this is true across all property management types.
Although differences exist in all property management types, there are many factors that are true across the spectrum of managing property. While owning or managing a single-family home, multiplex, apartment building, townhouse, or a condo is a specification you may choose to make throughout your property management career, some people find they end up dealing with all types of properties, so these similarities will help you broaden your spectrum of care!