Sometimes the property owners we work with come to us at the beginning of their investment property journey. These property owners know real estate is a great investment, but they don’t want to deal with the hassle of Atlanta rental property management. Others seek out property managers after they have acquired too many properties to manage efficiently on their own. Unfortunately, some property owners only decide to hire a property management company after they have had a bad experience that cost them hard earned money. To help you understand the advantages of professional property management at every stage we put together four landlord horror stories, and explain how you can avoid them.
Horror Story #1 – Toilet Trouble
Responding to plumbing problems is just part of the job as a property owner. Unfortunately, nature calls at every time of day or night. Property owners need to be ready to respond to plumbing calls, and work to fix the problem or call in an expert. But every once in a while you may encounter a situation like this. At 1am Tenant #1 calls frantically, explaining his toilet backed up and now it is overflowing everywhere with sewage. You tell him to turn the water valve on the back of the toilet and wait for you to come help. When you arrive at the rental home the sewage is several inches deep in the bathroom, and has seeped through the ceiling and into the downstairs living room, soaking the carpets. Cleanup takes several hours, and you leave with just enough time to get ready for the work day.
Solution #1 – Let Atlanta Property Management Services Take Care of It
Our comprehensive property management services include responding to emergency maintenance calls, even in the middle of the night. You never need to lose sleep because of a maintenance emergency. We will work to make sure the problem is addressed thoroughly and your tenant is happy with the solution. In situations like the one above we will assess the damage and bring in vendors, such as carpet cleaners, when needed. It is also important to look into why the toilet overflowed in the first place. If the toilet was faulty chances are the tenant knew it was acting strange and waited too long to call in a maintenance request. Our simple online tenant portal makes these requests simple and helps you to catch small problems before they turn into huge issues.
Horror Story #2 – The Cat Lady
Pets are a sticky issue with rental property owners. Most of the time a pet deposit or pet rent with cover the cost of any repairs related to allowing pets at your rental property. However, tenants sometimes break the rules when it comes to pets. Before signing the lease Tenant #2 asks if you can bend your one pet policy since she has two cats. Requests like this are common, and everything else in her Atlanta rental property management screening is fine. She signs a lease for two years and you perform an initial walk-through. Tenant #2 never puts in a maintenance request, and always pays her rent on time. Toward the end of her lease you drive by the property and notice a window is broken, so you contact her to schedule a time to fix it. When you arrive you see that instead of two cats she has closer to 40 living in the home. The carpet is filled with cat urine and the smell is terrible.
Solution #2 – Perform Regular Inspections for Lease Compliance
If you only visit your property at move in and move out you will most likely encounter situations like the one above. Regular property inspections, biannually or quarterly, lead to a higher rate of lease compliance. When our property managers inspect a rental property they perform routine maintenance, and check for compliance issues such as additional residents or pets living at the property. Tenant #2 most likely moved in with the original two cats, then added more cats over time without telling her landlord. At a routine inspection the property owner would have noticed the additional pets. The issue of too many cats could have been addressed quickly and respectfully before too much damage was done to the property.
Horror Story #3 – When Atlanta Rental Property Management is Lax on Screening
Vacancy days are expensive, but evictions can be even worse. Proper tenant screening can help you avoid situations like this. Tenant #3 fills out a rental application for your property, which has been on the market for six weeks. In order to speed up the process and reduce vacancy days you only perform a background and credit check. Two months into the lease the tenant asks to pay half the rent at the beginning of the month and the rest two weeks later. During routine maintenance and inspection you discover your tenant has trash littered everywhere and an insect infestation. By the sixth month of the lease your tenant has stopped paying rent and the pests are taking over, despite your warnings that the tenant needs to clean and hire an exterminator. You decide to evict the tenant for non-payment of rent, an expensive and time consuming process. Additionally, you spend thousands of dollars getting rid of the pests, repairing items the angry tenant broke before leaving, and getting the property ready for the next tenant.
Solution #3 – Thorough Screening is Part of Atlanta Property Management Services
Serving an eviction is every property owner’s nightmare. But one aspect of evictions that most owners don’t factor in is maintenance and repairs left from angry tenants. As experienced property managers we know that placing the wrong tenant is usually more expensive than waiting around for the right fit. Placing a tenant with poor credit, bad references, or insufficient income is simply a bad idea. At Specialized Property Management Atlanta we take care to properly screen every tenant with a background check, credit check, income verification, and employment verification. Additionally, if you’re going to bend the rules to allow for things like split rent payments you must agree in writing and enforce firm due dates with late fees.
Horror Story #4 – Move-In Day
Move-in day is a big deal for tenants and property owners. On top of getting their keys and moving boxes tenants should expect to do a thorough walk-through of the property, and receive instructions from the property manager. However, move-in day can sometimes coincide with other plans you have. When Tenant #4 moves in you happen to be out of town on vacation. If you don’t have a trusted Atlanta rental property management company you may ask a friend to cover move-in procedures. Your friend takes a check-list to go over, but skips through some important points, including the fact that the fireplace is not in working order. A few days later your tenant decides to light a fire in the fireplace. The home fills with smoke and Tenant #4 calls the fire department. Just when you begin to relax into your vacation you receive a call about the fire. The home is saved, but there are substantial damages.
Solution #4 – Hire a Property Manager and Enjoy Your Vacation
Property owners who self-manage often tell us that they feel worried about their property every time they go out of town. Murphy’s Law dictates that as soon as you begin to relax away from your property, something will go wrong. With professional property management you don’t need to worry about the state of your property. The property managers at Specialized Property Management Atlanta are available 24/7 for you and your tenants. We handle walk-in procedures, emergency calls, and every other aspect of property management. Our Atlanta property management services are comprehensive, so you can sit back, relax, and enjoy your investment.
How to Avoid Landlord Horror Stories
Managing your own rental property comes with a steep learning curve. In a perfect world, with perfect tenants, your property will succeed easily. You will never encounter a tenant who doesn’t pay rent, brings in too many pets, or breaks the law in your rental home. But that isn’t the world we live in, and more often than not you will experience the negative side of self-management. Every situation above could have been prevented by hiring experienced, professional property managers.
Contact Specialized Property Management Atlanta Today
When you’re ready to talk with our property managers call for a professional rental management quote. Our team of experts will help you make your rental property investment into a success, cutting costs without cutting corners. We take care of every part of the rental cycle, which includes inspecting, marketing, showing, screening, signing, collecting, maintaining, renewing, moving, and reporting. Whether you already own rental property, or you are just starting out in the business, working with our property managers will help you get a better return on investment. Let go of the stress and hassle of Atlanta rental property management by letting our property managers take over. To request your professional rental management quote call (404) 596-8454.