The property management industry is growing up. Business owners today recognize the necessity of investing in the right tools to promote professionalism and success. Many invest both time and money in a Property Management Policy and Procedures Manual for their office. I know because I have sold hundreds of Policy and Procedures Manuals to my peers through LandlordSource. I believe in the power of this document and its importance in this industry. I am proud to know I have helped many achieve this important task.
Sadly enough, I find that too often property management companies do not take advantage of this investment once it is completed. A good Policy and Procedures Manual is one of the best tools you can use in your company to educate your Personnel. Personnel are required to read the manual and sign an acknowledgement. This is a good step but you need to ask an important question – do your Personnel truly understand what they have read and what your policies and procedures are?
Is your manual sitting on a shelf or in your computer files unused and unread?
If so, it is probably outdated as you read this article. Increase the education of your Personnel by using it regularly in your office to train and review. Address problems in office meetings and have everyone refer to the manual for solutions. This will accomplish many things.
- You will find out who does not understand the processes and you can assist them with their training or education. This may even help you with Personnel reviews and/or terminations.
- You will find situations to add to your manual. Perhaps when a tenant death occurred, there was nothing in the manual. Your staff was unsure of how to proceed. Now you can add it to the document. Discussing it and reviewing the Policy and Procedures Manual can help this difficult situation. Then, if it occurs again, Personnel will know there are procedures to follow.
- You will find the “holes” or problems in your policies or procedures that need correction – this will help to keep it updated. You may have important information regarding lead-based paint in your manual. However, laws have been changing and your property managers may be unaware the requirements for vendors/contractors have changed. Therefore, they have not hired an authorized contractor to work on a lead-based paint problem, increasing the liability of the company. An outdated manual can be a dangerous tool – do not let this happen.
- You will have peace of mind that you have provided the company with correct policies and procedures and reduced your liability.
How can you know if your Personnel understand your policies and procedures?
Perhaps one way is to have an impromptu test during one of the office meetings to see what knowledge is lacking. Make it a positive experience for Personnel, emphasizing that it is only to help them with their work. Use a questionnaire to reinforce key areas, then review the questionnaire together so everyone can benefit from the right answers and help educate each other.
Use a Policy and Procedures Manual wisely for your company to educate and reap the benefits. If you don’t have a Policy & Procedures manual set up for your real estate / property management business, we can help. Why should you reinvent the wheel? Use one of our manual templates as a starting point and customize it for your property management business needs.
Jean 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.