One of the most disconcerting experiences in property management is coming into conflict with a disgruntled resident. For many renters, paying the rent is one of the greatest monthly expenses they have. The slightest difficulty with their rental home can cause anxiety, worry, and a feeling that they are not being taken seriously.
Sometimes property management companies have residents who threaten to withhold rent just like not paying other bills when they are not satisfied with the service or product. By considering the pain points they are having and by exercising empathy, we can better prevent issues in the first place or defuse escalations in order to prevent impacts on our clients’ regular rental revenue stream.
Research shows that medical professionals who possess and present a compelling, cultivated bedside manner are sued less often. Similarly, the empathic property manager can be the rental property owner’s solution, helping to prevent the owner from being threatened by tenants who face difficulties with their rentals whether it be due to maintenance, rental policies or pressure from the manager to correct violations of the lease agreement.
A property manager with the ability to communicate well and who has a focus on de-escalation and solutions with his or her clients and residents reduces and often eliminates a property owner’s likelihood of experiencing a rent strike by a tenant, being reported to a regulatory agency, or even being sued by a resident living in one of your rental properties.
At Columbia Property Management (CPM), we do the following to:
- Use humor and caring tone in communications
- Educate all stakeholders on how they can optimize their experience with CPM
- Empower stakeholders to express their opinions and concerns
- Train our staff to treat all with compassion, attentiveness, respect, and empathy
Listening to Your Residents For You
The management of your rental property is not just a monetary transaction to collect the monthly fee. It is managing your rental business. And all business is essentially managing relationships.
Taking the time to empathize with a tenant’s concerns and/or to take out-of-left-field surprises in context and with humility and humor makes for a healthy work environment which better supports a healthy relationship with our stakeholders.
We believe that cultivating relationships with your tenants makes or breaks a healthy landlord-tenant business transaction.
Be Prepared and Be Proactive
Your rental property will inevitably have challenges, weather-related or otherwise. Some outcomes simply happen, but proactive problem management works:
- We monitor any escalated communications or requests in our ICC (Issue Control Center)
- We remain focused on solving the problems to avoid them from escalating further
- We stay in contact with the stakeholders as the solution progresses
- We flag matters before they become fires
You Can Choose To Be Right or You Can Solve The Problem
We always start with the philosophy that we are not trying “to win.” When a dispute with a resident arises, most of us have the tendency to want to “be right” and convince the other side of that fact. Insisting that there is nothing to dispute creates a roadblock to solutions. We may feel, “But, it’s the principle of the thing, right? “ But we know from years of experience that that is the wrong approach.
Property managers who get sued are often those who never back down. They take things personally and let their egos get in the way of solving a problem. A more effective approach is to find solutions for the stakeholder, despite them being wrong. Do you want to get things done, solve problems, and move on? Or do you want to be mired in disputes and cause your residents so much grief that they feel compelled to seek legal action?
Sometimes finding solutions means that CPM or even a rental property owner needs to be ready to take on some of the expenses or pay out some of the refunds/rebates. It is a cost of doing business as an owner. But these costs are an investment that pays for itself with more satisfied stakeholders and fewer conflicts.
Find out more about what Columbia Property Management does for our rental owners: https://www.columbiapm.com/im-an-owner.
Scott Bloom, Owner and Senior Property Manager
Columbia Property Management
Scott Bloom founded Columbia Property Management (CPM) in 2012. CPM’s goal is to provide a powerful, personal level of service to our clients. We focus on smaller landlords, professionally managing their assets, so they can succeed by investing in rental real estate. Scott is an active member in multiple professional organizations including the National Association of Residential Property Managers (NARPM).