Monday, December 17, 2012

Gauging Tenant Satisfaction

As a property management company, one of your main goals is keeping your tenants happy.  Tenant satisfaction is a big part of what helps a property management company build a great reputation for themselves.  Ensuring that your tenants are satisfied is extremely important if you want your property management company to grow and truly prosper.  If tenants are unhappy, they may be inclined to leave, putting you right between a rock and a hard place.  Here are a few tips on how to gauge tenant satisfaction:

1- Tenant satisfaction surveys: Some property management companies will hand out a short, one page tenant satisfaction survey, similar to the one in the picture to the left.  Surveys could provide great inside information as to what your tenants are really thinking.

2-  Face-to-face chats: Speaking with tenants face-to-face is a good way to build a relationship with them and gauge their satisfaction.  A maintenance visit is a good opportunity to build a relationship with your tenants and engage in a face-to-face chat.  Ask tenants how everything is going and ask for some feedback.  You'd be surprised by what tenants will tell you and you never know, feedback may just give you some great ideas on how to keep your tenants satisfied.

3- Utilize print materials:  Sharing information with your tenants through print materials is another great way to gauge their satisfaction.  Consider leaving newsletters for them to read outside their door or even hand deliver the material.

4- Phone calls:  Encourage your property management staff to share their phone numbers with tenants so that tenants know who they can turn to if an issue arises.  Satisfaction will come from giving your tenants comfort knowing that if an issue comes up they know who they can turn to.

5- Create a tenant retention program: A tenant retention program is a great way to put forth effort to keep current tenants from moving out of your building.  All tenant retention programs are different, but typically they include things like identifying the tenants, services and amenities provided, and methods to measure success.  The plan needs to be a formal written document that has defined objectives and measurable goals for each tenant involved.

Looking for more tips on gauging tenant satisfaction?  Feel free to comment below or contact us.

Tuesday, December 11, 2012

Rent Collecting FAQs

In a previous blog we discussed how a property management company goes about setting the rental rate.  Whether you're a condo property management company, retail management company, or an industrial property management company, setting rent and collecting rent are the sustenance of your business.  This blog is going to switch the focus from the previous blog and instead of discussing setting the rental rate, we will answer some of the frequently asked questions tenants ask about the rent collecting process.

Q- How does a property management company typically collect rent?
A- While some property management companies may accept checks, most offer direct debit for tenants.  Direct debit tends to be a much smoother process and the old excuse "the check was lost in the mail" won't crop up.  The direct debit process lets you know if you have the necessary funds ahead of time, which is a nice bonus feature.

Q- What is the typical late fee?
A- The answer to this question will vary based on how the property management company decides to handle late fees.  Typically a property management company will have a late fee that falls anywhere from five to ten percent of rent.  Some companies will do a small daily fee as an incentive for the tenant to pay rent.  Whether you are working with a condo property management company, retail management company, industrial property management company, the primary function of a late fee always remains the same. The function is to get tenants back on track to begin making their payments as soon as possible.  The fees are meant to reflect the fee that a homeowner would receive in the event that he or she is late on a mortgage payment.

Q- How does a property management company handle delinquent payments?
A- Make sure you find a property management company that runs a tight ship and has a firm, but still fair, process on how they handle delinquent payments.  It is important that a property management company enforces all aspects of a lease, otherwise tenants will take advantage of the leniency.  Once a property management company figures out that a tenant has trend of delinquencies, they need to keep a close eye on the tenant to make sure they get back on the right track.

Q- How does a property management company deal with evictions?
A- A good property management company will have a well-documented process and will determine the very best course of action based on the circumstances.  They should have a checklist that they go through with you that explains the process they go through each time before deciding to evict a tenant.  As a tenant, you always want to make sure you are dealing with a company that acts fast and documents all of their actions.

Q- Do property management companies provide eviction insurance?
A- Eviction insurance is basically just a small monthly fee that insures the management company will pay for attorney and court costs that are associated with evicting a tenant.  This is not a service that is offered by all property management companies, but it sure says a lot about the confidence a property management company has in their tenant screening process.

Have a rent collection question that we didn't cover?  Feel free to leave us a comment or contact us.

Tuesday, December 4, 2012

Tenant Appreciation This Holiday Season

The holidays are rapidly approaching and whether you are a condo property management company, industrial property management company, retail property management company, or really any type of property management company, you are probably wondering what you can get your tenants as a holiday gift.  Showing appreciation for your tenants is always a good gesture to keep tenants happy, so the small gift is well worth it.  Here are a few ideas:

1- Decorate:  Why not bring a little holiday cheer to your rental properties and surprise your tenants with holiday decorations.  No need to go overboard, but a simple strand of beautiful outdoor lights could make for a very simple way to show your tenants that you appreciate them and want to help them celebrate the holidays.

2- Holiday Cards: A simple holiday greeting card is a great way to show your tenants you appreciate them this holiday season.  If your property management company has a logo and branding a holiday card would be a great way to incorporate that in.  Why not get a little marketing involved!

3- Gift Cards: A gift card is another great gift for tenants during the holidays.  Who wouldn't enjoy a gift card to a restaurant or store?  Whether it's a gift card for Jewel, Target, or the local pizza place, almost everyone can find a use for a gift card. For a property management company, gift cards are an easy gift to give to tenants.

4- Rent Discount: Consider giving your tenants a slight rent discount during the holiday season.  A rent discount is another easy gift idea for any property management company.  This is something all tenants are sure to appreciate during the holiday season.

5- Upgrades: Perhaps you are a property management company with only a few rental properties under your belt, then perhaps giving your tenants an upgrade is a good option.  It doesn't have to be an extravagant upgrade, it can be something as simple as new window treatments or a new ceiling fan.  Something more expensive such as a dishwasher, stove or refrigerator could be a good gift if you have found yourself having to repair those appliances for multiple tenants.

Are you a property management company looking for more gift ideas for tenants?  Feel free to leave us a comment or contact us.