Apartment property management is getting more complex. It seems almost daily, there are new laws, regulations and rules to contend with. While the pace of change can be overwhelming, the following are five simple techniques to help ensuresuccessful property operations.
- Stay Organized
As an apartment owner, make sure you’re managing your investment like the “business” that it is. First and foremost, maintain pristine property records that are routinely updated, organized and securely stored for future access. On the tenant front, create and save individual files that include all leases, rental payment ledgers, rent increase notices and lease expirations. It’s also important to create and save a written log of all tenant communications over phone, email and text messaging.
- Know Laws & Key Dates
California landlords must stay abreast of a dizzying array of laws and regulations at the federal, state and local levels. To keep pace, it is recommended that owners routinely educate themselves on basic land lord-tenant laws and fair housing guidelines. The AAOC provides a great service to its members in this area, including best practices for maintaining compliance. Additionally, it’s advisable that an owner create a trusted relationship with a lawyer before any legal issues arise. By hiring a qualified legal professional, an owner can rest easier knowing that potentially complicated legal liabilities can be quickly resolved.
- Embrace Technology
Technology tools for apartment owners have greatly improved over the past several years. Online pay ment, screening, advertising, maintenance, resident communication and document storage now allow real-time owner visibility into property operations. These tools also allow tenants to easily engage with owners and create a more streamlined resident experience. There are several fullsuite property management software providers including Buildium, AppFolio Property Manager and Yardi Breeze.
- Proactive Maintenance & Inspections
Keeping tenants happy and containing maintenance costs are both key ingredients of successful property management. For starters, performance of regular property maintenance and interior inspections insure that property and resident needs are addressed quickly and satisfactorily. Focus areas should include oofs and gutters, common area landscaping and lighting, interior smoke detectors, HVAC and plumbing systems. A basic maintenance and interior inspection checklist is also invaluable for documenting findings and follow-up items.
- Hire A Professional
If you love owning rental property but dislike dealing with the complex nuances of property management, an owner should hire a professional. Property managers come in all shapes and sizes, from single individuals (usually real estate agents) who also handle rentals to fullservice companies that exclusively specialize in property management. A good property manager will act as an outsourced “partner” that ensures property operations match an owner’s wants and long-term property goals. A selected manager should handle advertising and lease administration, resident screening, move-in and move-out inspections, rent collections, maintenance and preparation of monthly/year-end accounting. In a nutshell, a great property manager should make the entire process of apartment ownership transparent, effortless and profitable.