Do I need a company to manage my rental unit? You might say, no way, I can do it myself. Can you?
Having a rental property can be a rewarding experience but can also very challenging. A steady monthly rental income is great BUT, a rental property can only generate income when a landlord has good tenants who pay their rent on time and do not damage their property. Once there is a problem tenant, owning and managing a rental property can become stressful, time consuming, difficult, and costly. Using a professional property management company with a good vetting process, inspection process and years of experience can benefit and save homeowners a significant amount of time and money. This also keeps things professional in turn giving an investment property owner peace of mind.
This past year, we had a worst-case scenario for one of our newer property owners.
These homeowners were certain that they rented their newer property to a dream tenant that was a “super nice person” and “we had a great feeling about him”, and “he looked fantastic on paper!” Sound familiar? This tenant was delinquent in paying their rent, did tremendous damage to the property, and ultimately abandoned the property after many months. Not only did the property owner lose months of rental income, they also could not reach the tenant to access the property to inspect. When they hired us to manage the unit with the tenant in place, we contacted the tenant (we have our ways) and let them know with proper notice that we were coming in to inspect. The unit was dreadful! The only option was to proceed with eviction. We were able to secure part of their lost rental income, continued to inspect the property, and let the tenant know that the repairs were required at their cost, and that the rent must be paid on time and in full. Within one month the tenant abandoned the unit.
The tenant left the unit damaged. Dirty carpets, walls damaged, cleaning not done, food left behind, cabinets damaged, garbage left. Not only did the homeowner’s lose rental income they also incurred additional cost for numerous repairs and cleaning so the unit would be in live-able and rentable condition. Although the tenant lost their damage deposit, it was not nearly enough to cover the cost of the repairs and cleaning. It could also have been much worse if the tenant had not abandoned the unit. If there had to be court orders and bailiffs involved, the time frame would have been much longer, and the additional costs could have been in the tens of thousands of dollars. There could have been additional costs as well, however this homeowner decided that they would not go to small claims court or arbitration to recoup some of their costs.
Because we were able to assist the homeowners with access to good trades as well good marketing, we were able to rent the property within one month.
Would this have occurred if a professional management company were used? I would have to say no.
One of the best things when hiring a reputable property management company is that they can handle all tenant screening also known as vetting to find a responsible tenant. Some property owners do not do proper background checks because they do not have the time, or “get a good feeling” about a prospective tenant. Renting to people without the proper vetting is often the way to end up with problem tenants. Property management companies manage the entire screening process so that landlords get tenants that pay on time and take better care of their units than those who were not screened.
We also do a move-in inspection, which allows both the homeowner and tenants a snapshot of what the property is like on move in. We require the tenant to sign this document and give them a copy. This ensures that “it was like this when I moved in” does not work.
We handle all the “day to day” aspects of dealing with tenants and keep the property well maintained. It is important to know how to handle problem tenants and other rental issues properly and in a timely manner. Property managers handle evictions, property inspections, provide the tenancy agreements, deal with tenant moves, terminations, and the rent collection. They also make sure that each property complies with municipality and government mandated safety requirements. These services can help property owners avoid costly lawsuits and legal problems. When a property manager asks an owner to make a repair, it is in the homeowner’s best interest to keep the property in good condition to avoid costly repairs further down the road.
Landlords need to receive the rent on time every month to ensure that any expense that the property owner has, can be paid on time. On-time rent collection is also the only way to ensure a property owner gets reliable income. Unfortunately, property owners are often taken advantage of and do not control the rent collection process well because of the personal relationship. They listen to excuses from tenants and allow people to pay their rent late. In some cases, tenants bounce cheques, and the property owner is stuck with bank fees among other issues. Property managers control this entire process so that property owners do not have to deal with tenants who do not pay their rent as agreed. A property manager will contact a late-paying tenant until payment is received. If a tenant does not pay, a property manager can start the eviction process.
Our job is to keep you worry-free! We know what it takes to ensure your property is well looked after, 24 hours a day, 365 days a year.
Tammy de Diego Mott
VP - Operations