Property Management Blog


System - Monday, February 8, 2016

Property Management Blog

Almost daily I come across situations that are worth writing about and lessons I learn that are important to pass along. 

Recently, I was talking with one of our clients who manages his home himself and does a good job.  He just asks us to list it for rent every time a tenant leaves and we’re happy to do provide that service.  

Our owner was lucky enough to have a very long term tenant this last go around but the move out process was less than pleasant.  Over the course of the lease, the tenant was late with his rent on a regular basis but because he was a good tenant and didn’t complain much, the owner let it slide and never imposed the late fee as stated in the lease.  When it came time to move out, the tenant did not give his notice to vacate at the right timeframe defined in the lease and should have been held accountable to pay an additional month of rent which again was clearly defined in the lease.  The tenant argued this point saying it wasn’t fair and that the owner should let him end his lease that month.  He continued to argue that he never charged him with a late fee so why is he now penalizing the tenant with this.  The owner gave in and let him end the lease and didn’t charge him for the additional month even though he owed it based on the lease terms.

The lesson here:  Be careful what you promise and be consistent in what you do. 

As an owner, it’s important what precedent you set with your tenant.   If you never charge them late fees or other penalties, they come to expect this and if you are inconsistent with how you treat a tenant, you’re not likely to win if they ever take you to court.  In the end, you will lose out on a lot of money that should have been yours.  You’ll also have the stress of having to argue with your tenant to get your money.  This is something that we do as a property manager and because we are a third party and knowledgeable about the fees and laws, we are very consistent with how we treat our tenants and often we collect money for our owners that the may not have been able to collect as easily on their own.  That alone pays our fees!

Make sure to know your lease terms and hold your tenant to them.   Often we find tenants just don’t think they have to live up to the lease contract that they signed.