If your not available what do you do when you are managing your properties?

18 Replies

What do you do when you are mananging your own properties and you are not available? If you have a accident, medical situation,or on vacation? I am currently managing my own properties. I have most things set up. Maintenance company/people, online/phone payment service, mail payments/P.O. Box. But certain things I still do. How to have this properties manage if something happens to me.

you have set up more things than me... just have them either email requests and you can forward to appropriate people. or just call the maintenance people.

I'm curious the answer to this. A few years ago we went on vacation to Italy in October. A FREAK snowstorm happened and the heat went out in the entire 4-plex. It was a disaster and ruined our vacation. I hired a property manager as soon as I got home and never looked back.

@George P.  

it seems you have more set up than me. What if you can't call? You in the hospital, sick, dead? Who takes care of things?

I have a contractor in FL that manages all calls/email, and the tenants copy me. My husband and I live out of state. When we go on vacation, I just ask my contractor if he'll be available at that time, and then tell the tenants we'll be away and to contact him.

For our tenants in NJ, we don't have a dedicated contractor. I tell the tenants we'll be away, and they have the number of our plumber and the heating company. I've shown them both how to turn off the water in an emergency and one of them likely has no memory of it. I would leave them an emergency contact number depending on who I know will be available. But I tell them that it's for emergencies only, and if the house is on fire, call 911.

Originally posted by @Robert Carl:

@George P. 

it seems you have more set up than me. What if you can't call? You in the hospital, sick, dead? Who takes care of things?

 good questions in case any of these things happen.. unfortunately i don't have any answers. i don't even have family around me.

i do have 2 landlord buddies that i suppose would probably help out. 

When a tenant moves in, we give them a move-in packet which includes contact information. First, second and third. The first contact numbers are our home number and mobile number. If we are away and have cell phone coverage we handle things from the field and check our voice mail regularly. Not much seems to happen. Most of the time we don't tell our tenants when we are away and they never know. 

If we are gone for an extended time, or out of mobile range, or don't want to be bothered with anything we let the tenants know to call the second number. Also if we are in town and don't answer the phone/text/email (we work full time jobs and don't answer while we are at work), the tenants know to call the second number. The second number is our assistant, who actually is one of our tenants. She lives in a house across the street from our 8-plex, where most of the needs seem to arise. She is retired from a newspaper management job and she is quite capable of handling situations that may occur. She knows our work phone numbers. We provide her with the tenant list and the vendor list. She has keys to the maintenance room and coin-op laundry, but not the tenant homes. She is very trustworthy. If something serious occurs, she knows what to do and will call or email us with what is going on. Otherwise she lets us be and tells us to enjoy our vacation. We do with great peace of mind.

The third phone number is my husband's father who sold us our first rental property. He is older and also retired. He has worked with us on all of our properties over the years. He has access to our home, the office and the key room. He is also a partner with ownership in LLC ONE - one house and one duplex. Our assistant knows to call him if there were a need for keys to the tenant homes, such as an emergency or if a tenant locks themselves out.

The only time there was a challenge was when all three parties went on a cruise vacation together! Then we handled the job over to our sister-in-law, who is also a partner in LLC ONE, but prefers the silent partner role. BTW, LLC TWO - two houses, one duplex and an 8-plex is fully owned by my husband and me, but our sister-in-law was once a partner in the duplex and 8-plex prior to my brother-in-law's passing, so she knows the ropes.

The key is to set up a succession of contacts for the tenants from the beginning and then provide the contact people with the information and resources they will need to do the job. Also, if you hear word of a weather event or natural disaster, check in often. We have an emergency preparedness plan in place. Partly because I used to work for a hospital and was on a community committee for emergency preparedness; I became keen on the idea.

If I am visiting family in the United States, they are simply calling my cell phone and it is business as usual. I send out my handyman, plumber etc.... They all know I will pay them when I get back in town so this has not been an issue.

If I leave out of the country and do not have cell service, I leave a message on my cell phone to call my handyman and he handles things in my absence. He knows how I do business by now so this has not been an issue either.

Good answers for maintenance problems. I have that covered pretty much. I'm asking about running your total operation; accounting, rent collection, move-in, move outs, court, everything. Maintenance is to much of a problem that can be handled by a maintenance company.

So no one this has a full back up system besides using a PM if they get sick, hospital, auto accident, or die.

Some work with other investors they know well and cover for each other when these situations occur. Another option is to bring in property management. Hope that helps! 

As already mentioned

Fellow investor in same market, spouse, family or friend.

Someone you trust that can reroute your maintenance calls to another reliable line.

I use grasshopper 1 800 service and you can reroute your calls on the app in an instant. Easier said than done as long as you plan ahead.

Originally posted by @Robert Carl:

So no one this has a full back up system besides using a PM if they get sick, hospital, auto accident, or die.

What do you mean no one has a full back up system? We have first call, second call and third call. Also, upon the death of any partner, it is clear by the terms of our LLC what will happen. Our policies and procedures are available for the successor to follow.

What do you have in mind? What would you do?

Yes,

Your full backup plan is your will. Or some immediate relative, friend, or someone who knows your operation. Here is what I have as a property manager.

1. My wife knows the entire operation, if anything happen to me then she will handle it.

2. Two partners who also know my operation.

3. My mentor.

4. My attorney and CPA who both hold our LLC operating agreements.

5. Handymen, Plumbers, HVAC all on call. (I also ask for more contacts in case they are busy).

Our operating agreement and Will clearly spell out who will handle what in case something happens to my wife and I. My two ground partners and mentor will contact tenants and owners and then it will move from there.

I have no relatives that know the day to day operations concerning the financials and some other things. Im currently about to write a step by step handbook for my family to make it simple. My CPA is a CPA not a buisness partner. Also looking into PM's. Maintenace is easy that can call the maintenace company I use or some guys.

I'm trying to scale up where I can have full timers and I can just check the finacials.

Originally posted by @Robert Carl:

I have no relatives that know the day to day operations concerning the financials and some other things. Im currently about to write a step by step handbook for my family to make it simple. My CPA is a CPA not a buisness partner. Also looking into PM's. Maintenace is easy they can call the maintenace company I use or some guys.

I'm trying to scale up where I can have full timers and I can just check the finacials.

@Robert Carl

The step by step handbook is an awesome idea. I have something like that in the works for when I am on vacation so people know who to contact. Have you been to the BWI Meetup? 

If managing your own rental (no PM), change your voice mail message to add "if this is an emergency, such as X or Y conditions, please call ##.  Non-emergencies will be managed when I return."  X or Y conditions can be threats to life or health like heat going out or gas leak.  Non-emergencies include: A/C issues, rent payment questions, etc.  The ## should be someone with whom you've left your list of emergency numbers: contractor, insurance agent, etc.  If I'm managing your property in your absence, I would expect some compensation for my getting involved. Your voice mail system might have a separate "vacation message" which you can have stored auxiliary to your main message, simply select it any time you go on vacation.

Personally, I would prefer not to give my contractor's number to a renter.  After I return, I would not want the renter calling the contractor directly.  Two scenarios: 1- The renter wants a repair done, so they call the contractor.  Happy contractor comes out and repairs.  Renter refuses to pay because they think it's the Landlord's responsibility.  Suddenly, we're in conflict resolution mode.  2- Renter calls me, I call contractor.  Renter isn't happy with repair, so they call contractor directly.  Contractor gets yelled at by renter, who happens to think that yelling at people is the best way to get what you want.  Again, my relationship with the contractor has become stressed.  These are scenarios I have run into with my subcontractors & clients, and I've learned from it.  (It's not just about trying to avoid a sub stealing work from me.)

Originally posted by @Kelly Miller:

I'm curious the answer to this. A few years ago we went on vacation to Italy in October. A FREAK snowstorm happened and the heat went out in the entire 4-plex. It was a disaster and ruined our vacation. I hired a property manager as soon as I got home and never looked back.

I know it's off topic, but what DID you do? Even if you're not on vacation, what can you possibly do about a snowstorm that [presumably] knocks out power for a large area, so MANY people, not just your tenants are without heat. What is the landlord's responsibility in a case like that?

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