With growing sizes of building complexes, apartment management is becoming one of the most challenging jobs. As an apartment manager, you are not only responsible for maintaining the building but the owner and tenants as well.
The main task of an apartment manager is to improve the client-tenant living experience. They need to reduce costs and increase profit whenever possible.
Many property managers often face many challenges when trying to manage rental property. It’s essential that the management of a property run smoothly just like any other business.
If you are an apartment manager or owner struggling to do your job, these quick tips will guide you through managing an apartment efficiently. So let’s begin then.
Important Points to Consider for Apartment Manager
1. Following the Housing Laws and Policies
Some specific laws and regulations govern the professionals responsible for managing properties. Every state has its own set of rules and regulations which needs to be strictly followed.
In recent years, there have been reported cases of property managers where their actions have resulted in the unauthorized practice of law. That’s why apartment managers should work closely with legal counsel. It will ensure that they don’t unintentionally violate the law.
Get in touch with the lawyers who are familiar with the housing field. They will guide you through relevant policies. Let them know about your intentions and what you plan to do with the property.
Furthermore, take advice on tax liabilities and potential credits related to renting properties.
We would suggest that meet two to three lawyers in the beginning. Talk to them about your renting plans and then, decide with whom you can work for a long time.
Hiring a good lawyer will ensure that you always stay on the right side of the law.
2. Securing Your Property
Owning a residential rental property is a wise investment. But at the same time, it can be quite risky especially if you are new to this field. Without the right building insurance, you can face severe financial loss if something goes wrong.
The primary concern for any apartment manager or owner is the protection of the property from catastrophic events. Your apartment complex insurance should protect you against losses, damages, liability claims, and other issues.
Property insurance can seem complicated at first. But you can always take the help of your lawyer and insurance agent to guide you through.
Also, you should know that the insurance coverage and its cost vary. It depends on factors like the building’s location, type of construction, and more.
Some of the risks that apartment building managers/owners have to deal with:
- Liability for tenant, employee, and visitor injuries
- Theft or vandalism
- Advertising liability
- Fire, storms, and other catastrophic damage
- Invading the right to privacy
- Loss of rental income
- Discrimination lawsuit filed by disgruntled tenants
- Any allegations of fraud or misconduct by tenants
You can tailor the insurance policies to one’s need to address the risks mentioned above. Home insurance secures your apartment against damage while a home warranty will provide security related to mechanical equipment within the apartment.
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3. Making the Apartment Desirable
You can’t ignore the fact that for each day your property stays vacant, you lose potential rental income. If you want to attract quality tenants, make your apartment as desirable as possible.
How do you do that? A few simple fixes to help you make your property desirable to prospective tenants.
- The first thing any tenant would look at is the exterior paint. If it is not at par, the tenant may not even want to come inside. A few ways how you can fix it:
- Add some quality landscaping to increase the property’s curb appeal
- Remove chipped paint and get a new coat of exterior paint
- Repair broken banisters and replace torn window screens
- Keep the compound clean. Remove trash, weeds, and debris
- Make sure the lawn and shrubbery are well-manicured
- If you want to charge a hefty amount in monthly rent, then, of course, you would have to go the extra mile. Provide luxuries that many tenants would be gladly willing to pay for. For instance, you can consider adding an in-house dryer, energy-efficient appliances and more.
These small tricks will help bring in the quality of applicants.
4. Selecting the Right Tenant
The next step in the apartment management process is selecting the right tenant.
Renting out apartments can be stress-free only if you have the right tenants. For that, you would need to advertise the vacancy to let people know about your rental space.
I. Advertise the Empty Space
Even in places with high housing demands, advertise your space stating all the facts and your requirements. This will help draw the right kind of applicants to your rental house.
The ad should contain information such as your contact number, details about your apartment, and what up are looking for. Some of the places where you can advertise it are:
- Post it on newspaper
- Display it on Internet classified sites
- Connect with a real estate broker
II. Screen Tenants
Of course, you are not allowed to discriminate your tenants based on caste, creed, race, sex, etc.
However, you should screen tenants before renting your apartment to anyone. Make sure that they are financially sound to pay your rent and do not have any criminal background.
Otherwise, unsystematic screening and tenant selection often result in some significant headaches. You might end up with a tenant who pays the rent late or not at all and poorly maintained the place.
Your screening criteria should be the same for all. It should include:
- Run a background check on each applicant to ensure that they won’t conduct any illegal activities in your apartment
- Obtain a credit report to see if they can afford your rent and will be able to pay your rent on time
- Ask for references from previous landlords or other personal references if any
III. Get it in Writing
Once you have chosen your tenant, make sure that you have a lease agreement in place. It should contain all the terms and conditions agreed by both the parties.
Having it in writing will protect both you and your tenants in case of any conflict in the future. The rental agreement helps create good relation by specifying things. It includes clauses like how and when you handle tenant complaints and repair problems, notice period if the tenant decides to leave, and more.
The lease agreement should contain the following information:
- The names and signatures of the tenant(s) and landlord
- The starting and ending dates that the property will be rented
- Rent costs and due dates
- Policies on security deposits and lease termination
- The tenant’s responsibility to maintain the unit and pay for damage caused by any neglect
- Strategy and procedure for dealing with tenant’s complaints and repair request
- Mention the restrictions if any on tenant alterations on their apartment without your permission
- Information on any environmental hazards present at the property
- Other optional policies as required
You can always find lease templates online or even talk to your lawyer about what information to put in one.
Furthermore, a written agreement helps in running the property smoothly and enhance resale value. Make sure that the tenants are aware of all the clauses included before signing the lease.
IV. Ask For Security Deposits
Security deposits are used to cover the expenses in the event of any damages or other faults with the apartments when a tenant moves out. To avoid any dispute over the security deposit when the tenant moves out, it’s better to inspect and document the condition of the unit before they move in.
Specific regulations are governing the policies regarding security deposits. With the help of a lawyer, establish a system of setting, collecting, holding, and returning security deposits.
Also, check with your state’s Landlord Tenant Act to know how long before you can return the deposit and/or a settlement statement.
5. Maintaining and Upkeeping the Society
At times it may become difficult for the apartment manager to choose between areas which need more focus than others. But thanks to the technological advancement, the apartment management software that comes to our rescue.
Using society software, you can streamline all operations and handle it from a single place. Following these five quick tips will help in a better apartment management system:
I. Automate Society Billing & Accounting
Financial issues are always a serious matter. When the apartment size keeps getting bigger, maintaining accounts can get too time-consuming and challenging at times.
The process of accounting and bookkeeping, penalty calculation, and income and expense tracking should be streamlined for smooth functioning. The best way to do that is to employ a society management software that automates your billing and collection efforts.
Some of the essential modules of tenant management include document depository, penalty calculation, maintenance charge payment, payment gateway, request for quotation, and more. It integrates with the current system in place without disrupting the whole operation.
II. Communicate With Your Tenants Effectively
As an apartment manager, it’s essential that you maintain a healthy relationship with all your tenants. For that, you need to find an effective way of communication.
The smart move would be to incorporate an apartment management software that offers communication tools. These tools can post notices and reach out to everyone. Furthermore, it assists in other activities like securely sharing pictures from community events, broadcasting essential messages, and maintaining functions calendar.
You can also create and publish articles on waste management guidelines, festival celebration forums, and more. It will help you create one active community with the ease of the housing software.
III. Manage Apartment Facilities and Staff Smartly
Again, you will often find complaints about how the apartment facilities are not well maintained.
You can save yourself some time by automating all your task such as asset tracking, inventory management, maintenance staff, and more. With the help of society management software, you can save yourself the pain of manually overlooking every activity.
Moreover, the software will also empower your tenants to book an apartment facility online. You can keep records of visitors for security purpose. These are a few of the many benefits a useful apartment management software has to offer.
Provide a superior experience to residents by managing all apartment facilities smartly.
IV. Skillfully Manage Society Data
One of the many benefits of using society maintenance software is that you can easily centralize all your data in one place.
You need to maintain a directory of residents, the number of flats in the apartments and more, to systematically reach out to them. Using maintenance software will save you a lot of time and help effectively manage the condo.
6. Resolving Resident Complaints Immediately
Resident complaints will always be an issue for apartment managers. It is therefore essential to have a system in place that will help resolve their problems immediately.
Having a central tracking of resident complaints or suggestions can be a good idea for efficient management. That’s why the whole process of filing complaints and the manager resolving the issue needs to be automated.
To immediately attend to the tenant’s problem, you can do the following:
- Use software that will help you track the complaints at various stages. It should also send alerts in case of unresolved complaints
- Give tenants a number where they can reach the management department 24/7, to handle any emergencies
- Always have a few handymen on standby who can repair your apartments when need be
It will help you manage the apartment much better and increase resident satisfaction. Thus, it will enhance their faith in the management committee.
Wrapping it up
Apartment management may seem like a daunting task at first. Especially when there are tenants who try to create menace in society.
Sometime you would also need to take legal actions when necessary. Some tenants do not pay rent on time or conduct illegal activities on the premises. Sometimes, they even cause damage to the property or violate the lease agreement. In such cases, talk with your lawyer and proceed in the right way.
Or you can take the help of a mediator to work with you and your tenant to reach out a settlement on the issue. Either way, make sure that other residents in society do not face any inconvenience.
To conclude, this guide will help provide a luxurious experience to your tenants.