10 Mistakes Property Owners & Managers Might Be Making

  1. Turning a Blind-Eye to Tenant Safety

Ensuring that a property’s fire life safety systems are up-to-date and in proper working order is one of the most fundamental aspects of property management. Failing to maintain these systems can be a costly mistake, ultimately resulting in being dropped by the property’s insurance provider or being exposed to increased liability. Additionally, complaints regarding a tenant’s illegal or criminal activity at a property should be taken seriously and addressed promptly and professionally.

  1. Ignoring Maintenance Needs

There will always be a service call, maintenance need, or renovation project to be done. Ignoring service calls and/or delaying maintenance will ultimately do more harm than good.

  1. Not Securing Proper Insurance Coverage

Having insurance coverage is a necessity, but having the proper coverage is crucial. A common property management pitfall is failing to ensure that a property is covered to the appropriate limits with endorsements tailored to the property’s unique requirements.

  1. Letting Insurance Lapse

A lapse lasting even just a few hours has the potential to snowball into major consequences. Within those hours, if a tenant slips and falls, or a fire starts, or an earthquake happens – this is California, after all – the negative exposure could be detrimental.

  1. Committing or Allowing Fraud to Occur

Some things are shades of gray, but this is not one of them. In property management, right and wrong is black and white. All property management business should be conducted with the highest level of integrity and transparency; as well as in compliance with all laws and ordinances.

  1. Failing to Screen Potential Tenants

Many property management companies and owners have decided to stop running background checks due to the liability of having sensitive personal information on-hand or available electronically. However, failing to properly screen a potential tenant is essentially failing to do due-diligence and could result in leasing to someone who puts the property and other tenants at risk.

  1. Keeping Sloppy Records

Put simply: keep a paper trail. Whether it’s property deposit logs, capital improvements, utility transfers, or tenant correspondence, there should always be a record of what happened, why it happened, who was involved, how much was paid, and anything else relevant to the property’s activities.

  1. Missing Renewals

While many leases roll from an annual term to month-to-month after the first term is over, missing a renewal is missing an opportunity to renegotiate the terms of the lease and potentially leaving money on the table.

  1. Failing to Evaluate Their Own Management Team

There are many issues a management team can have behind closed doors, but the two most common are complacency and overextension. Whether a property manager is too comfortable and has grown lazy, or has simply taken on too many properties to give them all the necessary attention, the consequences are the same: inefficiency and mistakes. Projects get left on the back burner, deadlines are missed, and important details slip through the cracks.

  1. Not Knowing When to Say No

No one wants to say no to a client, but there will always be a request or demand that is ethically questionable or will require a line to be crossed; and if a property manager is willing to break – or even bend – the law for one person, they’re doing it for others. Eventually, a day of reckoning will arrive and no one wants to be hitched to that wagon when it does.

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