Property managers play a unique role in the world, interfacing as we do between real estate investors and tenants, contractors and city officials, home-seekers and real estate agents. Few people get the chance to see the good—and bad!—sides of people from so many different socioeconomic levels, employment types, and motivation levels. The results are often painful—but even more often, in retrospect, hysterical. See how many of these you recognize!
11 Problems Only Property Managers Have
1. The Case of the Non-Present Money
How many times have you seen a tenant rocking a new iPad or even a new car just after Christmas—and then pay late on rent because all of their cash went toward presents for their friends and family? On the one hand, yes, we know that Christmas does actually work that way sometimes, but seriously, don’t you think it would be wise to maybe ask for help paying your rent?
2. The Incredible Transforming Applicant
This is the end result of poor tenant screening—or perfectly good tenant screening with a tiny bit of bad luck. Unfortunately, the only thing you can do once your rock-solid-seeming tenant has turned into a monster is find the most efficient way to cut your losses.
3. The Prodigal Brother’s Dog?
There are a few often-repeated excuses we get when we find a pet in a home that doesn’t have a pet on the lease. The most common of them is, “It’s not mine, but the owner will get back any day now!”—and a complete pile. Pets aren’t allowed without a pet deposit, period. If your brother wants you to watch his dog while he’s on vacation, you call us and you get that pet added to your lease, and you submit a pet deposit. Sorry, Fido!
4. The Case of the Vanishing Social Life
There’s nothing quite like your third or fourth Friday night in a row spent elbow-deep in someone else’s broken plumbing or sputtering heater, especially when your family and friends are patiently waiting for their turn to be the focus of your attention. This is when knowing some trustworthy repairmen can really be helpful.
5. Late Date and Irate
It’s amazing just how many ways a tenant can accidentally show you that they may have more money on hand than their late rent would indicate. The question is, how aggressive do you get in pursuing that late rent? After all, those Amazon boxes may have been paid for several weeks ago and just shipped overseas from China. Right?
6. When You Don’t Even Know
You are about to enter another dimension—a dimension not just of sight or of sound, but of pure inexplicable chaos. This is the Tenant Zone! No, seriously, you don’t even know how much you don’t even know until you walk into a situation you thought made sense over the phone and find that the maintenance issue you thought you could fix with a green scrubby and some WD-40 turns out to be something that the laws of physics cannot explain. Ph’nglui mglw’nafh Cthulhu R’lyeh wgah’nagl fhtagn!
7. Lawyer Money Comes from a Different Wallet
Admittedly, the only real “problem” here is not laughing in the faces of the agitated evictees who throw threats like this at us—but hey, sometimes that’s hard!
8. TFW They Want The Whole Security Deposit Back And…
“Did I say wear and tear? I meant it was like this when I moved in. Honest!”
9. We Didn’t Let You…
Subletting may sound like something that medieval physicians did with a special variety of leech, but it’s actually much, much more disturbing than that—doubly so when your tenant is collecting rent from a tenant of their own and isn’t actually living at their listed address at all!
10. It’s Just an Uncooked Meal
One of the reasons why contract lawyers come at such a premium is that they can, hopefully, prevent situations where a single reasonably-misinterpreted word or phrase can mean the difference between a lease going off OK and a lease going to court and wasting everyone’s time and energy.
11. But I’m Only One Day Late
How is anyone supposed to get the idea that rent is due on the first if you always give them until the fifth before any consequences actually land on their heads? This is why our lease explicitly refers to the grace period as a privilege that can and will get taken away if it’s abused. That way, we never (OK, rarely) end up in this situation.
So, what do you think of our breakdown? Did we miss any commonplace situations that you think would fit in on this list?
Let us know in the comments!
Note By BiggerPockets: These are opinions written by the author and do not necessarily represent the opinions of BiggerPockets.