Dear Patty - Fiduciary Obligations
Friday, October 28, 2011
I feel bad for my tenants and don’t understand why I have to raise their rent when they renew. Why can’t I just ask the landlord to cut them some slack? Also, they want to get a dog and the landlord says no. What can I do?
--Friendly, Dog-loving Property Manager
We are all human, and I would like to think we all have care and concern for others. However, your job as a property manager is not to be your tenants’ friend but to do what you agreed to do when you signed a contract with the property owner: to maintain and protect their property.
It could help to remind your tenants of the costs involved in finding a new home and moving to that home. Is an increase in rent so high that it would be offset by a costly move?
If the current tenants have been respectful of the property and timely with the rent, you could point that out to the property owner. Suggest that a smaller rent increase might be better than having new tenants who are not as responsible. Keep in mind, though, that in the end it is the landlord’s decision.
One of the reasons landlords hire property managers is to avoid having direct contact with tenants; they do not want to become personally involved. We, as property managers, need to be both friendly and professional with tenants, a mix that can be sometimes hard to reconcile. We need to ensure that tenants are comfortable with us, and yet we also need to maintain a level of professionalism and not be swayed by sad-eyed stories of woe!
Finally, it is simply not our concern why a landlord won’t allow pets. Animal-lovers can secretly empathize with pet-yearning tenants, but on this issue we must simply just do our job.
"Patty the Property Manager” appears courtesy of the ORRA Property Management Subcommittee. Readers are invited to submit property management related questions to Patty by sending an e-mail to firstname.lastname@example.org.