Property management companies, property managers, landlords and property owners wish they knew what was going on at their property at all hours of the day and night, but the reality is that they don’t. Some multi-family properties have issues with unauthorized dumping and trash disposal, vandalism, noise, domestic disputes, crime, burglary, drug dealing, and loitering. These problems can happen even in the best of locations. Even with video surveillance systems and paid security services, which can be very expensive, problems will still arise. Bay Area property management firm Fast Forward Property Management says that there is a free solution that can be very effective in monitoring property and reducing unwanted issues that come with managing real estate assets: building an informant network.
“Encouraging residents to report suspicious activities, as well as maintenance issues around the property and in their home, will allow you to effectively have informants working for you night and day around your property,” says Fast Forward, drawing from their wealth of experience with property management in Sacramento and the Bay Area. “Neighbors who live near the property are also often happy to help by calling a property owner when they see problems that may affect their neighborhood.”
Multi-family properties have eyes and ears everywhere, but many people are reluctant to call when they see problems. Some tenants have been unintentionally conditioned to not call the owner or manager with problems unless it is an absolute necessity. Many residents are worried that if they report something that needs repair, they will be pegged as a “troublemaker” and subject to retaliation like increased rent. Many have been conditioned to look the other way when they see suspicious activities.
It might sound like opening a can of worms to invite residents and neighbors to call with issues, but this is a chance worth taking. It can be refreshing to a resident to be encouraged to have contact with owners and managers. “The best way to proceed is to specifically select responsible residents who have had good tenure at the property, and personally invite them to keep you informed of any issues they see so that the property can continue to be a great place to live,” recommends Fast Forward Property Management of San Jose. Retired people or stay-at-home moms can be particularly valuable because they spend more time at home.
Many of the same tactics work with single family home rentals. Owners can canvass the neighborhood and meet neighbors to exchange phone numbers. When approaching neighbors in the surrounding community, Fast Forward encourages property owners to tell them, “I own (or manage) the apartments (near to where you live). May I give you my number in case you ever have any issues with our residents or see any suspicious activities? I am committed to doing my part to keeping this neighborhood a nice place to live.” Most people want to live in a good neighborhood and are happy to call a rental owner when they see a home that has an overgrown yard, abandoned vehicles, drug issues, too many residents living there, unauthorized animals, or a host of other issues.
The Santa Rosa property management experts at Fast Forward say that increasing the number of eyes and ears looking out for the property can be an asset. The great thing is that many people are eager to help, and it does not cost money. While it may be impossible to know everything that happens in every corner of a property at all times, having eyes on the inside will help reduce many of the problems that arise in the property management business.
Source:Fast Forward Property Management,March 10, 2011
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