Property Management Time BombThe Property Management industry is a busy and sometimes chaotic business. Often there are not enough hours in the day to solve every situation or problem. That’s when property managers and business owners may choose to delay solving ongoing problems or miss seeing new ones. By failing to do so, they are unwittingly creating possible “time bombs.”

What constitutes a time bomb in your property management business?

Frankly, ticking time bombs can come in many shapes and forms but ultimately, they have one thing in common – trouble and usually, big trouble. Below is a list of potential time bombs that can lead to major problems, possibly even lawsuits. Review them to see if any apply to your company. Even if they do not, take a moment to imagine what problems and liability could potentially happen. This may cause you to think of similar problems.

  • Unlicensed personnel are answering questions only licensed personnel should answer.
  • The policy and procedures manual is out-of-date, particularly regarding service and support animals.
  • The trust fund has not been balanced in several months.
  • Security deposits are not handled in the required amount of time dictated by the state governing agency.
  • Property owners are constantly questioning and complaining about the expenditures on their monthly statements.
  • Personnel are not aware of new legislation concerning hoarding.
  • Property Managers are discussing company management fees openly with other property managers.
  • There are unresolved problems between personnel regarding their respective office duties.
  • There is a constant problem with the cleaning and carpet cleaning vendors; tenants complain upon moving in and there is no resolution.
  • An employee is terminated without supporting documentation.
  • There is consistently poor communication with property owners concerning repairs exceeding the amount allowed in their property management owner contract.
  • The required posters in the breakroom are four years out of date; in addition, there is no equal opportunity signage anywhere in the public office of the company.

The above list is just a drop in the bucket of what could potentially happen. But don’t despair, most problems can be avoided and resolved – you just have to recognize them first.

So how can you recognize and sidestep a ticking time bomb?

Everything has a cause and effect. Think about what caused the problem, what consequences resulted, and then plan a solution.

Step back and listen. It is human nature to block things out when we are busy and concentrating on our own immediate problems. However, it is important to develop a habit of “hearing” what is going on around you even when you are immersed in your own problems. Are calls being returned? Do you “hear” a lot of anger when people come into the office? You must be aware at all times!

If you don’t look, you cannot see. Look at what is actually taking place in your office. Learn to read the body language of all personnel. Take note of problems with showing, renting, and moving tenants in. Do you see the same recurring problems with owners, tenants, and vendors? If you don’t see anything, that is great. However, it is too easy to ignore problems because you just don’t have the time and it is easier to ignore.

Stop and take the time to right the difficulties of what you see and hear going on in your business. If you don’t, you will have much less time (and probably less money) in the future when you have Fair Housing complaints, personnel problems, missing trust funds, licensing issues with government agencies, loss of property owners, and more.

I am sure you have heard Miss Scarlett’s famous quote, “tomorrow is another day – I’ll think about that tomorrow.” While it is true tomorrow is another day, don’t take that blasé attitude with business problems. Take action today or as soon as possible to eliminate or prevent ticking time bombs.

Jean Storms - Owner and Author of LandlordSource ProductsJean Storms, MPM® is the founder/author of LandlordSource and has been a NARPM® member since January 1993.

Disclaimer: LandlordSource does not represent the article content in this website as legal advice. It is shared information only and up to the reader to use this information responsibly, seeking legal advice as necessary to their business.

The Office Package - Policy and Procedures Documents for Real Estate and Property Management