Most Common Tenant Questions?

12 Replies

Hi everyone,

What are the most common topics for calls/emails you get (or your management company gets) from tenants? I'm trying to determine how best to implement building management on a 7 unit C class property i'm looking at in Albany NY. 

I hear a lot of horror stories about the dreaded '3am phone call' but how common is that really? 

What are the areas that tenants commonly call and complain about, demanding solutions?

Thanks all,
Dan

The only thing I get are minor easily fixed repair requests through messaging.  When that happens I call the appropriate repair person, the repair person goes to unit and fixes whatever it is, and then I electronically pay the repair person. Problem solved. 

You'd be surprised how little work it is. Of course I worked as a waiter in restaurants for 15 years so I'm comparing it to that.  The amount of work I had to do in a typical lunch shift where I maybe made 100 bucks FAR outweighs what I do on a monthly basis managing my 14 units.  I could see it getting out of hand at maybe 50 units, but until then I plan on just managing with the good ol iPhone and the Internet. But thats just me. 

I also have well screened tenants in all my units but of course we all already learned how to do that from the BP podcasts. 

Oh and in 5 years I've never got a 3am phone call. Even if I did I'd be sleeping and they would have to wait until morning anyway. 

Honestly at first what I did is just went on Yelp and sorted by the profession of the thing that needed fixing.  I then sorted by the highest ranked and went down the list calling each one. I now have about 30 phone numbers saved in my phone of all the various trades who know me, show up, and do a good job each time. 

Mostly minor things that need to be fixed.  Sometimes requests for changes to the lease, e.g. elderly parent to move in or relative child or new baby.  Sometimes a request for a 'forbidden' unless approved item, pool, trampoline, animal.  OR the 'I am or my child is now disabled and am approved for a vicious dog as my support animal.  I have the on-line approval certification."

I had a 8 year tenant who i rarely heard from. Now i have a 1 year tenant that has been good for the most part but constantly tries to do improvements to my home. His put his own money into improving my landscaping and that is fine. One time he tried installing some hooks in ceiling of the kitchen and drilled into a water pipe that ended up costing him some money. His called me once to install some light bulbs in the stair case area because his afraid of heights. 

If the property is in decent shape, and you had a good home inspection before purchase, there shouldn't be many 3 am surprises. 

@James Miller I have a troubleshooting tips document I give to all my tenants at lease signing with all of those common things. I explain they should read it before calling or texting. They obviously dont so I usually end up asking them to look at it again and 50% of the time I get a follow up text saying they fixed it. Weird.

The 3 am calls are rare so I wouldnt worry too much. Not much anybody will be able to do besides the fire department. So my only advice there is have good insurance.

Originally posted by @Dan Talmi :

Hi everyone,

What are the most common topics for calls/emails you get (or your management company gets) from tenants? I'm trying to determine how best to implement building management on a 7 unit C class property i'm looking at in Albany NY. 

I hear a lot of horror stories about the dreaded '3am phone call' but how common is that really? 

What are the areas that tenants commonly call and complain about, demanding solutions?

Thanks all,
Dan

1. "My sink/tub/toilet/shower is leaking. Here's a blurry photo" (lol) 

2. "Can you tell the (insert floor) tenants to stop parking in my spot?"

3. "When is the snow removal guy coming? It stopped snowing 30 minutes ago, and I have to go to work NOW." 

4. "My hot water isn't working."

All crises, as you can see. /sarcasm

In the 8 years we've owned rentals I've never had a 3AM phone call. The phone is set on do not disturb from 10PM to 7AM so it wouldn't go through anyway, but not even any attempted calls. 

I also have never had a tenant demand anything - they ask politely. Even the time a tenant had a sewage backup she started the conversation with, "I hate to bother you, but..."

We've had calls for HVAC problems, plumbing blockages/leaks, electrical issues, (not light bulbs!) permission to make _______ modification to the house/yard, notifying us that a rent payment will be late, notifying us that they are moving out early, storm damage, (tree fell on house) doorknob won't lock/unlock. The first 3 of those make up the bulk of the calls.

We currently have 12 houses, and except during turnover, which is usually in spring or summer, we get very few calls. Many of our tenants never call us. Nothing breaks, they have no issues, so we never hear from them. Occasionally we get a tenant that needs a keeper, and they think that's our job. We had one that called 40 times in a 30 day period. They were sent packing asap.

Originally posted by @Peter M. :

@James Miller I have a troubleshooting tips document I give to all my tenants at lease signing with all of those common things. I explain they should read it before calling or texting. They obviously dont so I usually end up asking them to look at it again and 50% of the time I get a follow up text saying they fixed it. Weird.

The 3 am calls are rare so I wouldnt worry too much. Not much anybody will be able to do besides the fire department. So my only advice there is have good insurance.

Thats an awesome idea. I just had the idea, since you wrote this, you could film tips and tricks for each property, like where the water and gas valves are, breaker panel, sink valves. You could set up a youtube channel specific to your addressl Then your tenant could just search the address and BOOM theres the house. Password the videos with like the zip code or address and then your tenants would know where everythings at. This could work really well for distance land lords.