Imagine a world where all your renters pay their rent on time. For investors, this is certainly an ideal scenario. However, we know as the experts in property management: D.C. property owners and residents alike are struggling right now. In these 'uncertain times' we keep being told we live in, that world can start to feel distant. This is no less true if you find yourself on the challenging side of the relationships you have with your renters.
Fortunately, there are many ways to deal with problematic residents in your properties. Whether your residents are delinquent on rent, disrespectful of your property, or lodge frequent (even unrealistic) complaints, there are ways to approach each situation to ease the tension and preserve the working relationships you have with your renters. The following are strategies we use as experts in the district to manage such challenges.
Listen to Your Renters
You can ease a great deal of tension by simply caring about what your renters have to say. Be calm and patient, and offer genuine empathy. It's arguably the best tactic to prevent a conflict from spiraling out of control and becoming hostile. This is especially the case in situations where your renters are having a hard time paying rent because they've lost their income due to COVID-19. In these situations, you can work with your residents to reach a payment plan agreement.
- In many cases, your renters may also have legitimate questions or concerns, and it's important not to dismiss them.
- This can lead to disputes and increasing difficulties—and possibly even litigation.
Situations in which two residents have a dispute with one another can be more challenging: it's not your responsibility as the property owner to take sides. This is one moment when referring back to the leasing agreement or utilizing the expertise of property management, D.C. investors, can greatly benefit you.
- Even with residents you genuinely like, it's always best to keep your professional relationships professional.
- Avoid establishing deep personal friendships with your renters, as this can lead to problems down the road.
- These kinds of relationships can easily become 'one-sided' with investors on the losing side of the equation.
You don't want to end up in a situation where renters missing payments say, 'But I thought we were friends!'
It's never a good idea to rent a unit to your friends and family members in a market like D.C. This opens the door to potential complications that will be injurious to your long-term returns, and can even present some potential tax complications. Let your friends be your friends, and your renters be your renters.
Of course, this does not exempt you from courteous interactions with your residents! If you find that the 'human element' of owning rental property is the most challenging, we recommend turning to professional property management, D.C. investors.
Watch Out for 'Serial Squatters'
Some renters will always be difficult and purposely look for opportunities to 'game' property owners. Some renters demand repairs, threaten to withhold rent until repairs are made, and respond to eviction notices with threats of legal action. Some constantly disrespect you, your property, and their fellow renters.
Many in the renting and property management business refer to these troublemakers as 'Serial Squatters,' or 'Professional Tenants.' The best way to weed them out is with a thorough renter screening process, but every once in a while, one can still get their foot in the door. As an expert in property management and association management, we have the experience needed to discover and expose these kinds of renters before they enter your properties.
Avoid the headaches, expense, and legal problems that Serial Squatters can cause and rely on the professionals!
Accurate Record-keeping Is Crucial
Another way to nip issues in the bud is to keep well-documented records of everything. If you have the know-how (or resources), use a ticketing system to receive work orders and mark them complete to avoid disputes.
This is an area that a lot of property owners have an understandably hard time with, but it's also an essential part of running a successful business. Having proof that you've upheld your side of the lease through detailed logs of every transaction can benefit you in the future.
When you have rental homes that fall under strict community guidelines in D.C., it's impossible to overstate the importance of accurate bookkeeping. This is exactly why we offer such services as both property managers and association management providers.
Advantages of Working With the Professionals
Dealing with difficult renters can be one of the most challenging parts of being the owner of condos or rowhomes in the Washington, D.C. area. Not only is it emotionally draining and financially challenging, but it takes away from your ability to follow your true calling as a property investor.
That's why it's helpful to work with property management, D.C. investors, who can step in and put some distance between you and your residents. EJF is unique among property management providers in that we also work with co-ops, condo associations, and similar organizations to manage the workload of a diverse array of properties.
For rental property owners, we address:
- The collection of rent and fees
- Leasing enforcement and evictions
- Bookkeeping and administrative management
- Property maintenance and repairs, including 24-hour, on-call service
- Resident relations and eviction support
- Site inspections and vendor management
Among our many skills!
Allow EJF Real Estate Services to be your guide to a more profitable rental experience! We have established roots in D.C., and we understand the unique needs of investors here.