One of the most common complaints that we hear from landlords, especially newer ones, is getting tenant calls at all hours of the day and night. Sometimes this can seem unavoidable and therefore extremely overwhelming. Thankfully, with certain changes in society and technology, there are things that we can do now that couldn't have been possible even just a few years ago. Here are a few ways to help deal with tenant calls that shouldn't be driving you up a wall. One of the first things you should do is set office hours. Regardless of whether or not you have an actual office or if you give your tenants your cell phone number is irrelevant. One landlord I know has kept his landline telephone number for the sole purpose of using that for his tenants. He simply turns the ringer on the phone off outside of his preset office hours. He has an answering machine that allows him to screen those calls just in case they are an emergency, but otherwise he will wait until the next "business day" to get back to the tenant. If you don't have a landline and don't feel like spending the extra money getting one, you can always get a Google Voice Number. You can sign up for a Google Voice account for free(!) and give this out to your residents. You can even set up a separate voicemail for that specific number and forward all business to that line. It will still ring on your cell phone, but it is a good way to separate your residents from your friends. You may want to include your personal number in the voicemail message in case of an emergency, but that is your choice. With a Google Voice Number, you can set times that your phone will ring and those that will send the call straight to voicemail. Having tenants call you at all hours of the day and night is never an ideal situation, but thankfully there are other options that we have now. At the end of the day, you never know what a tenant will be like in regards to communication until they actually move in. Hopefully these ideas will help you find what works for you to keep you sane when it comes to answering your tenants and their concerns or complaints.
February doesn't really have major holidays, but that doesn't mean we can't have fun! After the end of the year, things tend to slow down just a bit. Other than possible birthdays, there really isn't much to celebrate during January and it normally isn't until April that Easter occurs. This means that for the most part, there isn't too much to do for the first three months in regards to celebrations and holidays. But when has that ever stopped us here at Talley? Groundhog's Day is a great time to focus on any kids that may live in your apartment building or complex. Kids generally like animals and although it may seem like winter is never going to end, it is considered the beginning of the end for those adults who can't stand the colder weather. Maybe you want to set up a coloring station where kids can draw and color their own Punxsutawney Phil. Perhaps you can make or purchase cupcakes that have groundhogs on them and hide them in little cubbies for the kids (or adults) to find. There are dozens of things you can do if you want to get creative and it's always a bonus for the adults in your complex if the kids are distracted for a few hours so they can relax. Valentine's Day is normally a more adult-centric holiday, but that doesn't mean it can't be fun as well! Maybe you could slide those little tin valentines that you used to hand out in schools under your resident's doors. A friend of mine always puts a couple of Hershey Kiss candies either on the cars of her residents or tapes them to their front doors with a little note. It doesn't have to be much, but just something so that your tenants know that you're thinking of them can go quite a long way. It can be hard to see the warmth coming when you've been dealing with the past few months of cold weather, but February generally marks the last really cold month as long as we're lucky. There isn't much to celebrate in the way of normal holidays, but that doesn't mean we can't be happy! Try hosting some kind of small themed gathering and see if it goes over well enough to do it again next year!
With all of our articles about how you can get residents into your apartments at little cost to you or how to most effectively deal with renter disputes, you may be wondering why you would even need us. Well, it may be true that we are helping you in certain ways, but we could be doing so much more. You see, here at Talley we want you to remember that our end goal is always to help you as a property owner and landlord. While we would love to do everything possible for each and every one of you, we simply don't know what you need help with unless you give us a call. That's why we need to hear from you. If you are unsure how to effectively screen tenants, you can give us a call. With so many different things that can go wrong if you have someone move into your property that isn't trustworthy or can't pay your rent, it can cause you more trouble than you may realize. Things like credit scores and references are a good start, but it isn't the end of screenings. Here at Talley, we know how important it is to screen people and consistently collect rent for you. These are things we can help you with so you can focus on things that may be a little more important. Something that no one wants to do is evict people. Again, Talley can help you with this tricky situation. We know the laws and how to go about this process with little effect to you. This means that we can have a quick turnover of residents if needed as well. Another thing that is always a pain to deal with is repairing any issue that may come up. With our emergency repair line, Talley can coordinate plumbing, electrical, and other forms of repairs that your building may end up needed. Emergencies happen, so shouldn't you have someone on your side to help you? Here at Talley, our main goal is to help you help yourself and your tenants. You have enough to worry about from day to day, so let us deal with some of these extra things. You deserve some time to yourself, and that is something that we can give you.
One of the most common complaints that you will hear as a landlord is that of the dreaded noise complaint. Sometimes these are unavoidable. For example, the maintenance crew at my apartment complex is replacing the shutters on my building as a write this. As you can imagine, it is quite loud but it is a necessity. Other times, however, there are sounds that can be helped. This normally is related to other residents and can put you in a bit of a sticky situation. If you are hearing a resident complain about noises from other residents, one of the first things you should do is ask the person complaining if they have spoken to the louder resident on their own. Sadly, many people view you as someone who will deal with all of their problems related to the apartment regardless of whether or not it is something you can control. If they have not spoken to the person in question, suggest that as the first course of action. After all, the person who is disrupting your other resident may not realize anyone else can hear them. Another thing to think about is whether or not there are multiple complaints leveraged against the same resident. If there are multiple people telling you that someone in the complex or building is too loud, then there is probably more to the issue than simple animosity. You always run the risk of there being some sort of feud when two people are complaining about one another, but this becomes less likely the more people are complaining about the same person. Maybe head over and spend some time in the area to see if the person is a little too loud. If so, then you may want to approach them. Although noise complaints are notoriously difficult to deal with, you do have a couple of different methods that you can try. Naturally you don't want to consider asking the resident to leave, so try to find some form of mediation or an agreement between your residents that will allow all parties to leave content with the solution. This may be certain times that the noise is allowed or that the resident in question uses earphones for loud music. Whatever the end solution, know that noise complaints are just part of the territory.
Emergencies happen. They are never expected, always inconvenient, and sometimes rather dangerous. What you do in an emergency can greatly vary and everyone handles them differently, however we can all agree that you want to handle them as quickly as possible. For some people, everything is an emergency. At times, as a landlord, you will need to explain that certain things can wait until the morning to be handled. However, you also know that some situations will drag you out of bed at three in the morning because they need to be fixed. As such, there should always be procedures which can be put into place in such an event. A perfect example is this: the apartment complex I currently live in has a policy that 48 hours' notice needs to be given in order for them to turn off the water for a plumbing job to be completed. This makes sense because there are sixteen units in a single building and only one water cutoff switch which affects everyone. However, my upstairs neighbor currently has a busted pipe behind the wall and, due to the fact that it is a weekend, must wait until Monday to submit his 48 hours' notice. This means that it will not be looked at until at least Wednesday and it is currently Saturday. That is a full four days with water flowing behind a wall with no possible fix. This is not only annoying due to the sound of water running consistently, but dangerous as the water could cause damage to the walls. I give you this example to illustrate that while set procedures are a good idea in an apartment complex, they can sometimes harm not only those who live in your buildings, but the buildings themselves. Emergencies must be accounted for when you have things like pipes and wiring that can go wrong. Having one set of rules with no allotment for urgent matters can only harm you in the long run. This is one of the reasons that Talley is someone you can rely on. We help you to offer 24/7 emergency care for things like broken pipes. You won't need to worry about having water seeping into your walls for four days with us around. Give us a call and see how else we can help you today!
Having a healthy, strong, and sturdy relationship with your tenant is one of the most important things you can do as a landlord. Although you may not end up bosom buddies with whoever you are renting to, you certainly want to be at least friendly with them. While we don't always get along with everyone we meet, there are certain ways to be a landlord with a good relationship regardless of what you may think of your tenant on a personal level. One of the biggest things that you can do to cultivate a good relationship is uphold your end of the lease. If it is written that you are to take care of the repairs in a timely manner, then do so. If your tenant states that something is wrong and they would like it fixed, then do what you can to make that happen. If you are supposed to come around in person every month to collect the rent, stick to that as much as possible. Always do what is expected of you as per your original agreement and that is a wonderful place to start. Another thing that is extremely important in having a solid relationship with your tenant is to go the extra mile. Now this doesn't mean you need to come around to their apartment and cook them dinner every Friday, but a message every now and then simply checking in can do a great deal to help your relationship. Ask if everything is going okay. Check if there is anything you can do or help with in regard to the apartment. If they respond that there is, then help them. One of the worst things you can do as a landlord is ask if they need help and then tell them to do it themselves. Speaking of the professional relationship, this is one of the biggest things. You should always keep the relationship between yourself and your tenant professional. You could be renting to your best friend, but business is business. It is much easier to let one's friends get away with things than people you don't have a personal connection to. When it comes to property management, there really should be a separation. The relationship between you and your client is extremely important, so you want to do everything you can to strengthen it, even if that means treating it the same as any other work relationship.
The lease is the most important part of most rental agreements. This means that there is quite a bit of pressure on getting the lease just right. It often takes new rental property owners a few times to get everything just the way they want it, and many feel the need to update it and add new clauses often. Every landlord has a different style when it comes to crafting their lease, and every tenant has a different style of lease that they prefer. Making sure that you create a solid lease is something that needs to have quite a bit of time put into it and can be an exhausting process. However, finally getting what you want out of the lease is well worth the trouble that you need to put into it. Naturally, most people will go to a lawyer in order to help them draw up a fully articulated lease. This helps to ensure that everything important gets included and the correct wording is used so as to close any loopholes a tenant may find. This is a rare occurrence, but it has certainly been known to happen. It is always better to be safe than sorry in situations that include your income. The best advice that we can give in regards to drafting a lease is to make a list of things you want to include. These can be things like how much the rent is, what day of the month it is due, what the pet policy is, what amenities are included in the rent, and anything else that you may find to be useful. It never hurts to ask around to see what others have included in their leases, and some may even offer you a copy for you to base your own off of. If any of these ideas are not something you find to be useful or if you don't have the time to do this yourself, Talley has your back. We do offer lease preparation as a service which you can receive from us along with many others. Simply take a look at our webpage to see what else we may offer. We are certain that you can find at least one thing that you will benefit from and we are more than happy to help.
If you are in an area that gets heavy snow or ice, you likely will have to deal with power outages during the winter. I can remember one year while I was growing up that we were out of school for a full week due to the power being out and the roads being too treacherous for any repair trucks to get through. Trust me when I tell you we played a lot of Scrabble that year. Although most companies are better about restoring power now, there are still times that these outages occur and cannot be fixed for an extended period of time. During the winter this isn't something that's just inconvenient; it can be deadly. Having your power out for an extended period of time is always a headache. This is especially true if you have kids. However, if your power goes out during the winter and you don't have a fireplace things can get dangerous. This is why it's important to make sure that you have a lot of layers that you can put on and extra blankets that you can bundle up under. Never try to go out to your car for long periods of time to warm up and certainly never run your oven for heat, especially if it runs off of gas. If you know that you have a high likelihood of losing power, see about investing in a generator. Although they may be expensive, the peace of mind is more than worth it. This is especially true if you have someone vulnerable in your house with you, such as an elderly person or a newborn. Even if you can handle the cold, someone else living with you may not be able to. Be sure that everyone's needs are attended to in this type of situation. It is also a good idea to keep a few portable chargers available for your cell phones so that you can report the outage and call for help if you need it. Obviously only use your phone if you need to in order to conserve battery and make sure that someone can get to you if needed. Check in on family that may be vulnerable if possible and hopefully the lights (and heat) will come back on quickly.