This thoughtful topic came to my attention as I was reading the PropertyManager.com discussion page at LinkedIn. My first reaction was, “Wouldn’t it be nice if we lived in a world where these kinds of people-to-people discussions could be mutually beneficial and rewarding.”
Alas dear reader, the civility in the U.S. hasn’t reached that stage yet. There’s something about human nature that lends itself to snarky attitudes and complaining. This is coming from yours truly, who is a born optimist and likes to think the best of people.
We all have this little feature in our personality’s architecture called the ego. It wants to be right all the time and loves to assign blame to others. Like a nasty computer virus the ego seems predisposed to avoiding responsibility, generosity and objectivity.
No wonder some of the respondents at the discussion page made comments similar to Karen, who raised the question to begin with (how Property Managers felt about meetings between residents and owners). Karen wrote, “It has never ended well in my experiences.”
Marcia wrote, “I make sure that before I approach a tenant and depending on the situation, I send a letter on what the conversation is about and when it will take place. No matter what a Property Manager does there will be a problem since most people are on the defense right away. Karen, can you describe the situation at hand?”
The only situation where residents (tenants) and owners would meet and have a productive, positive outcome would be after a long-term, pleasant relationship where both the resident and the owner wanted to meet each other to say “thanks” for being punctual, fair, and exceptional.
Sadly those kinds of situations and premises don’t seem to happen often enough. While I’m on that topic, you may know of a few, and perhaps the resident and owner have never had the pleasure of meeting each other.
It probably wouldn’t hurt to ask the owner if they’d like to meet the resident and vise-a-versa. That said you as the Property Manager will be held responsible for the outcome since you’re the one that suggested it in the first place. Do you want to take that risk?
Cassandra wrote, “I don’t know that I’ve ever been in a situation where I felt such [a] meeting was necessary. As the Property Manager, I’d say it’s my job to be the middle man in this situation thus making this “meeting” a non-issue. Is there a specific circumstance we are talking about here?”
Again, the only specific circumstance that most Property Managers would have to initiate such a meeting would be at the request of the owner. Then, your experience with the resident might determine whether you encourage this or to try to dissuade the owner, just in case! Perhaps that was what Maily was thinking when she responded, “I tried my best to discourage these types of contacts right at the onset of interviewing the Owners. For the most part, it has helped.”
The last comment was from Charlie and Sue, and I thought it was a realistic note to end this article on; “In California we can write the Property Management Contract so that the Owner is not allowed to talk with the Tenant, or we can cancel the Agreement. Also, by doing this we become the sole agent for the Owner and sign/initial Rental and Lease Agreements as if we were the Owner. The Lease Agreement states that the Tenant is to contact us ONLY for issues regarding their Tenancy. With this method, they don’t even get to know who the Owner is without doing a lot of research. Has its down-side though in increased liability for the Property Manager so we only use it when the Landlord is aware of it and demands it. Then the monthly percentage goes up!”
So the bottom line is; Property Managers have enough challenges and responsibilities. That’s why you get paid the big bucks, and you might want your owner-clients to know that part of your valuable services involves taking “the heat” for them, covering their backs and making their lives a bit easier.
If you agree or disagree, why not leave some comments after reading this article. I’d like your feedback and perspective. Thanks!