Usually apartment buildings with more than 20 units are managed by professional property management companies and those buildings with fewer than 20 units are usually managed by the owner and a live in property manager. Regardless of who is managing the apartment building it is important to follow some general principles and tips to make sure that operations run smoothly.
The management of an apartment building should be efficiently run like any other business. The manager should look to improve the client-tenant living experience while minimizing costs and increasing profit opportunities whenever possible.
One important legal issue that should never be ignored are the Fair Housing Rules which prohibit discrimination based on race, gender, age, disability, marital status, and sexual orientation. Everyone involved in property management must follow these rules.
Another important matter to that can generate complaints with the management is the issue of who is responsible for repair and maintenance of the apartment units. The property owner should clearly write out in the lease agreement who is responsible for what repairs. State and federal laws should also be consulted because it is illegal to shut off essential utilities for the failure to pay rent. In other words, if a renter is late on rent it is illegal to shut off the electricity or water.
The apartment building manager should succinctly write out the following information in the lease agreement:
- The tenant’s responsibility to maintain a clean rental unit and also pay for damage caused by neglect or abuse.
- The tenant should alert management of any dangerous or defective situations with the property. For example: faulty wiring, water leaks, mold and fire hazards.
- The manager will provide tenants with the official policy and procedure for dealing with complaints and repair requests. For example, what the hours of operation are for the maintenance and repair staff and how fast tenants should expect a remedy to complaints.
- Have restrictions on tenant alterations on their apartment with out your permission, such as adding appliances, painting, etc.
In general, maintenance and repairs should be handled as speedily as possible to avoid further complaints from the tenants. Major issues like plumbing leaks and heating/cooling problems should be dealt with in 24 hours. An open line of communication between tenants and management is an essential ingredient to good overall relations. Management should keep the tenants informed of when and how the repairs will be made and the reason for any delays.