The Homeowner-Property Manager Relationship
October 1, 2021
By: Troy Smith
Accountant & Leasing Agent
Green Valley Rental Properties LLC
Many new homeowners or just those new to the rental industry often believe that once their property is under management that they are no longer involved. Many think that once they enlist the help of a property manager their only other obligation is to pick up paychecks once a month. This is vastly misunderstood, and often can cause frustration, especially with long term tenants. When establishing a new relationship for property management, it is important to inform the owners of several overlooked aspects of renting their property in order to mitigate many hidden issues.
As a homeowner, firstly, you must review all potential tenants to your property. Within appropriate fair housing guidelines, homeowners have the final say whether to approve a tenant or not. Homeowners, as expected, want assurances that the tenants will treat their property with respect as if it was their own home. However, age, lifestyles, socio-economic factors, even cultural differences all play a role in the way someone treats the residence. Arizona requires a background and credit check performed on all tenants over the age of 18. Unfortunately, nothing in the credit report will tell you whether or not the person is a good tenant. Not even references or inquiries to previous landlords can promise to provide thorough vetting of a tenant. Of course, all references are going to be glowing, otherwise, the tenant wouldn’t have provided the names and numbers, and landlords may be motivated not to disclose problems so the tenant can move out and become someone else’s problem. Many factors contribute to a tenant’s reliability. As a property management company it is very difficult to properly vet tenants with the limited means we are given, because of this reason homeowners need to be prepared for a certain level of wear and tear expense.
Many long-term tenants in the Green Valley area remain at their residences for many years at a time, and often avoid moving as much as possible. When this happens, and a tenant finally moves out, the two primary costs that a homeowner should expect to incur are the carpets and painting. These items, unless damaged in a way attributable to the tenant, often need to be addressed due to extended wear and tear. Often the carpets need to be replaced and the interior painted at a cost to homeowner. In addition to obvious wear and tear, some tenants unknowingly defer maintenance on a property, which turns small problems into larger ones. For this reason inspections are critical not only from a maintenance perspective, but also to encourage open lines of contact, as well as personable faces that allow tenants to share even the smallest concerns with management. All the repair requests are presented to you as a homeowner for your approval.
Even with all the above pitfalls, some tenants may act in ways that are out of compliance with CC&R’s, HOA’s, or the lease itself. Often compliance components fall in a grey area of activities that have no way to police or regulate especially given that we must notify the tenant 48 hrs prior to any visitation. Property management may face a myriad of potential threats; however, if homeowners and property managers are informed and proactive, the benefits will outweigh the negatives. Keep in mind these are people’s homes or people’s places of residence so emotions and stressors can be heighted. No matter the issue encountered start with calm-level head, seek information and expertise, and then act on informed decisions.