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Importance of Fair Housing in Gastonia Property Management

fair housing in Gastonia, NC

Enactment of fair housing laws was aimed to protect underrepresented groups from discriminative practices in purchasing or renting a house. It is important for Gastonia property management to know these laws, since violations could translate into huge liability and damage to the reputation of the property. Discrimination complaints and lawsuits are on the rise, and a property manager should pay special attention to the following aspects to avoid liability.

Tenant Screening Practices

Most complaints arise from the tenant screening process. The point is to subject every prospect to the same screening process. To ensure that it is seen as a universal requirement, post a written policy of the criteria required for renting the unit. This could include income, employment history, credit history, and so on. Property management should also reveal the steps involved in the whole application process, and that fair housing laws are being adhered to strictly.

Do not include questions about ethnicity, race, age, or disabilities in the application. However, you may inquire about bankruptcy filings, money judgments, and prior evictions. You may also ask the reason why the prospect is changing to a new accommodation.

Advertising Language

You cannot advertise about the type of tenant you are looking for. For instance, even mentioning phrases like “excellent for younger people” could be considered discriminatory by older people. Words that suggest exclusivity should be avoided, as you are posing a restriction on choosing tenants. All ads should also carry a statement confirming non-discriminatory practices or the logo of fair housing.

Transparent Eviction Process

According to laws of fair housing, tenants can only be evicted for legitimate reasons such destruction of property, not paying rent and so on. If you are initiating eviction process, for any other reason make sure the tenant has seriously violated the lease agreement or you have evicted many other tenants in the past for same reasons. If the tenant is causing disturbance or troubling other tenants, keep a record of every written complaint, and steps taken by property manager. Usually, authorities will examine the following documents, if there is a complaint of wrongful eviction:

  • §Eviction notice/s
  • §Warning letters
  • §Police records
  • §Photographs or video evidence
  • §Written records

Employee Training

Property management staff, especially new employees should undergo training regarding policies, and how to comply with fair housing laws. The employee should also be made aware of the consequences of law violations. There should be a documented policy about all forms of harassment and discrimination, and each employee should be given a printed copy of such policies. The employee should also be made to sign agreement that states termination of employment in case of fair housing law violation.

Consistency in Rules

Gastonia property management can frame mandatory rules for tenants, as long as they are not discriminatory and do not violate any terms of the lease agreement. Each tenant should be given a written copy of such rules, and they should be enforced uniformly. When rules are violated, detailed records should be maintained about the type, date, and time of violation, and the actions taken for enforcing the rule. 

Effective Strategies for Handling Common Tenant Complaints

Tenant complaints

Property management Charlotte, NC has to tackle several tenant complaints effectively in order to maintain a sterling reputation of the property and minimize vacancies. Property managers need to prioritize on-site customer service for developing better relationship with the community and for minimizing confrontations. Here are some of the common complaints and ways to handle them appropriately.

High Rent

According to the studies, most complaints are about high rental rates, compared to even disturbance reports or maintenance issues. However, tenants are always going to feel that the rent is high, and the way property management responds to this issue can make a major difference. Forming better relationships with tenants and upgrading amenities can help in creating higher value perception amongst tenants.

Once tenants are able to appreciate the value provided, the issue of the rent being high may not arise. A property manager can maintain an open door policy, where tenants are able to air their grievances about the rent. The manager can explain how the tenant is able to receive much higher value from the property than the rent he is paying.

Maintenance and Repair Complaints

One of the other major tenant complaints is about maintenance and repairs. Satisfaction of the tenant is directly influenced by response time and the quality of service provided. The best approach would be to maintain regular maintenance schedules, so that no complaints are triggered. For handling maintenance and repair issues, there should be an effective communication system in place, so that the complaint is received by the appropriate staff that is able to handle the issue.

The staff should immediately acknowledge the complaint, as that improves the confidence level of the tenant. The system should also enforce accountability to make sure the issue is addressed within a reasonable time. If in-house staff is not available, the maintenance contract should be given to a reputed service provider.

Pet Issues

It is often challenging to enforce leash laws, and motivate dog owners to clean up after their pets. One way of tackling the problem is to create awareness of possible health hazards that pets can create, and involve the community in being more proactive. The approach should be sympathetic and non-confrontational, but it should also imply to the pet owner that bad practices would not be tolerated.

Maintenance of Common Areas

According to a recent study, all tenants are concerned about the visual quality of the property, and in fact play a major role in choosing a property. It is therefore critical to maintain common areas and outdoor spaces in top condition. For residents it is a matter of pride to invite their friends and family to visit them when the property is well maintained.

Security and Safety Issues

Tenants are happy when they know property management Charlotte NC has taken adequate steps to ensure their safety. Installing security features can significantly help in improving services to tenants. Property managers should also schedule routine inspections for reviewing condition of perimeter fencing, repairing breaches, and broken locks, and providing proper lighting in secluded spots. 

Application Process Automation in Property Management Charlotte, NC

Charlotte property application automation

Finding the right tenants is not an easy task, and administrative resources of property management Charlotte, NC can be stretched thin if an efficient and prudent automated system for the application process is not in place. There are many benefits to automating applications and it can be done at a reasonable cost with the right software. Make sure the software is mobile friendly, and helps the property manager right through the leasing process, starting from marketing ads to the signing of the rental contract. Here are some major advantages of automation.

More Applications

Prospective tenants, sometimes begin obtaining or developing second thoughts, when they have to fill out lengthy application forms manually, and then either scan and email the documents or fax them to the rental office.

On the other hand, automated system for applications is much more convenient, and prospect will not feel overwhelmed. For, property management, applications can be received any time of the day or night, even if there is no staff present. Secondly, the application is available for processing to a range of staff, who may not be even working in that area. Property management Charlotte, NC can maintain a centralized control over all properties and distribute the work to the appropriate personnel as well.

Better Efficiency and Work Standards

One of the main advantages of automation is integration of the application process with other relevant procedures. Proficient software will have checks, which will guarantee that important information is not left out and none of the important entries are invalid. A well-integrated system will provide complete management solution where information regarding credit and background checks is also fed in through the application system.

Lowering Administrative Costs

An automated application system will not only lower administrative costs dramatically, but also bring down overall costs and improve ROI. Automation means lesser staff and effort is required for receiving and processing the applications.

No Delays in Closing a Sparkling Deal

Automated application process will make it much easier for professional team of property management Charlotte, NC to close the best deals quickly. When it is difficult to find tremendous tenants, it becomes very important to close strong deals quickly. When you delay, you are providing time to prospective tenants to reconsider their choice, which is counterproductive and will affect your rental business in the end.

When the application form is available online, property management has the opportunity to process the application almost immediately, and take the process to the next level. Even while showing the unit; it is sensible to keep a computer station open of have a computer available, since the prospect can fill in the application right there.

 

Going Green

One of the major advantages of automation processes is lesser dependence on paper and other physical media. It is much more efficient to run a paperless office, and you will be saving precious natural resources as well. Automation provides many opportunities to lower dependence on paper, which can be extended further by sending contracts and other relevant forms for e-signatures and verifications, rather than sending physical paper forms.

Application process automation is just the starting for reducing administrative costs. The process can be integrated into an overall automated process solution, which will bring down costs further and improve profit margins. 

Services that can Enhance the Value of Your Property

Enhanced property

Modern renters mainly look for convenience and good amenities in the property. By providing services like a phone, Internet access, and cable, Gastonia property management can effectively enhance the value and popularity of the property. These services will not only set your property apart from the competition, but will also provide added value to residents.

Widespread Usage

High speed broadband services are now easily accessible at reasonable rates throughout the country. According to NCTA (National Cable and Telecommunications Association) more than 90% residents in the country have access to cable TV programming, broadband Internet access, and cabled telephone service. Hence, most residents will be looking for these services and if they are bundled with the rent, it will be an added advantage.

Secondly, there are about 1,100 cable service providers and due to the new FCC regulations for curbing monopolies, these service providers are keen on making bulk retail deals. These deals usually carry incentives of 3 to 5% of revenue returns, which works out quite well for Gastonia property management, and the cable service can be made mandatory for all residents.

Saving Money

Such an arrangement provides genuine savings for residents as well, since the rates are discounted. The monthly fees will be billed and collected by property manager, which will work out as added bonus for the property owner. The service providers are able to provide discounted rates because they do not have to spend more on advertising and marketing their services.

However, before planning a service contract for the whole property or set of properties it is important to collect statistical data about resident preferences and habits. According to certain reports, the number of people owning television sets has gone down. Hence, if most of your tenants are not using television as a medium for entertainment and news, such a deal will be quite unwelcome, since it will increase the rent.

Before considering providing bundled services, it is important to consider the following points:

  1. People using analog TVs are usually unwilling to upgrade to digital sets, while most cable operators are transitioning to digital services.
  2. More residents now prefer internet-based programming, and want the best possible speed. If you are considering Internet package deals, keep in mind the speed expectations.
  3. There is usually resistance in changing providers, especially when residents are satisfied with their current service.
  4. The term of contract with the service provider will usually span a period of three to five years.
  5. Payments for service calls will be the responsibility of tenants. These rates can be up to $75 per call.

Basic and Critical Research

Once you are sure about the preferences of your tenants, most of them will find it convenient to pay their cable bills with the rent at a discounted rate. If you are not sure, run a survey with your existing tenants and maybe find out what most residents in your area prefer. It all depends on perception, and if Gastonia property management plans to bundle services, provide notice and be ready to discuss things with renters who are hesitating. 

How to Present a Unit to Prospective Tenants

Present a unit to a tenant

People looking for a home; usually spend half an hour while going around each property. The prospective tenant would have seen many properties and would already be having a conflict of interest, and will be searching for clues to see if the unit has all that it takes to make it a home. Therefore, the presentation of the unit makes a difference, and there are ways by which property management Charlotte NC can make the property seem more appealing to prospects. 

The Conversation

The property manager can make the talk sound more positive while providing a personalized presentation to prospects. When the property is “packaged” in a way that sounds appealing, it will resonate with prospects and they will be more inclined to lease it. Here are some tips for making the conversation sound better:

  • §Always use the word home rather than unit, as that is what the prospect is looking for.
  • §To create a welcoming dialogue, smile, and inquire about family, work, hobbies, and so on.
  • §One of the main requisites of a meaningful dialogue is to listen carefully to what the other is saying. For instance, if you have gathered that the couple is childless, it will be counterproductive to highlight property features such as playground and play areas. Secondly, property manager can find connections to what the prospect is saying and present something that is useful or interesting. For example, if the couple reveals altruistic tendencies, the manager can mention charitable organizations in the area that are in search for volunteers.
  • §While showing the unit, make it a point to highlight key features that the prospects might be expecting to find, or something that complements their lifestyle. 

Staging

While positive language and constructive dialogue can work wonders, it is also necessary to stage the unit in a way that will be appealing to prospects. Consider the requirements, expectations, and preferences of the target audience to make an effective staging of the property.

For high priced units, it is better to hire a professional consultant who can provides ideas for renovations or specific decorations that would be most appealing to most prospective tenants or for prospects whom you are targeting. The consultant might suggest specific furniture styles, wall colors, and certain kitchen and bathroom features that are expected by certain resident demographics.

Utilizing Technology

If the unit is not yet vacant or property management Charlotte NC is considering renovating, it would be best to provide a virtual staging. Professionally rendered digital models of the unit can show prospects what the home will look like when it is fully painted and decorated. The digital presentation could also be made interactive where the prospect can choose the style, colors, and textures.

Various models can be staged that will be most appealing for certain groups. For instance, there can be targeted staging for college students, where the unit is shown with computer workstations, stocked bookcases, storage areas, and so on.

Hence a well-planned staging of the unit coupled with positive conversation can help property management Charlotte NC attract the right tenants. 

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