Adventures in Property Management Land
There are a number of things that could go wrong in Property Management no matter how well you screen your tenants. We are Property Managers and we don’t have the ability to see into the future. The difference between a good Property Manager and a bad Property Manager is how we deal with the unforeseen problems. I would like to share a recent adventure I had in Property Management Land with you. The names and places have been changed to protect the parties involved.
The owner of a property I manage in a very nice neighborhood had to change his counter tops. He decided to go with Granite. The owner lives on the east coast and his property is in Hawaii. He went to purchase the granite on the east coast from a home improvement conglomerate which we also have in Hawaii. We had great tenants who were aware that this work had to be done before they signed a lease. After much debate and coordinating the installation began. The work was supposed to take no more then 2 days. Five weeks later, we let the tenant out of their lease. The granite was installed just fine. The problem was the store had allowed the granite installers to do the plumbing work as well unbeknownst to us. Granite installers are not known for their plumbing skills. The store charged the owner for a plumber. Needless to say everything that could go wrong did. The brand new $400 sink didn’t fit, the dishwasher which worked fine before the install leaked all over the owner’s very expensive WOOD flooring. The store finally got it right after 3 different attempts at a new dishwasher.
Now I was on the phone with the owner 5 times minimum a day. We even joked we spoke more with each other then we did with our spouses. Tenants were demanding food credits of $500+ a day for their family, which by the way doesn’t fly in Hawaii. Owners are not required to cover food expenses of tenants. The store was dragging their feet and wouldn’t return calls, which prompted me to be at their store in their face, demanding answers.
It ended well despite the drama we went through. We let the tenants out of their lease and found new tenants who are delighted with the unit. The old tenants found a place on the other side of the island. The owner received from the store over 3x the amount the granite cost and a new dishwasher and sink.
I responded to every call, every request from the owner and advised him to get his insurance company involved as a backup in case they were needed. This involved many late night calls and weekends spent fighting with the store.
A bad Property Manager will let the owners handle things themselves as they purchased the granite as this was above and beyond the normal scope of a Property Manager. A bad Property Manager would also set perimeters of when they are available. Let’s face it, as Property Managers, our owners and tenants alike don’t care if we want our weekends for ourselves, they want you available 24/7. In situations like this, there is nothing more frustrating to an owner who works 9-5 and is thousands of miles away, not be able to reach their Property Manager.
Moral of the story, COMMUNICATE. The owners have hired you to take care of their properties. Treat their units as if it was your own!
By Kinani Fitzgerald