Leasing apartments is different to leasing a stand-alone property so these properties on your rent roll can end up taking up far more of your time as a result. Our Kolmeo team have come up with their five best tips for keeping things simple and under control with apartment rentals so you’re not putting in more hard work than you really need to.
1. Start off on the right foot
Apartment living can be so convenient for tenants. Except when it isn’t. Noise, smells, parking, garbage and maintenance are just some of the hassles that can wreck an apartment leasing experience in the best of locations and buildings. A balcony with beautiful district views that makes an apartment so easy to rent can be a lot less inviting when there are unpleasant odours spreading up through the garbage chute.
As a property manager you can’t wave a magic wand and make problems like this disappear. But you can set up a relationship with your tenant that lets them know you’re on their team and this can make your role a lot easier if there’s trouble brewing. Take keys for instance. Strictly speaking, a single tenant in a one-bedroom apartment gets one key because that’s all you’re required to give them. But what if they have their friend, brother or mum over and wanting to stay on their sofa bed? It would be handy to have a spare key and you can make their life that much easier by cooperating with requests like this instead of sticking rigidly to the rules.
This give and take is part of the best working relationships. Of course there are renting rules and regulations that can’t be bent or ignored. But when there’s something that can win you those extra brownie points with your tenant without compromising on service standards and obligations to your owner, it’s worth thinking about.
2. Put together a move-in guide
Doing what you can to help your tenant settle in without any dramas is much easier when you have all the information they need in one place. A move-in guide might take some effort to compile, but that time invested will come back to you with interest. With fewer phone calls and emails going back and forth, your tenant will also appreciate the time and energy they get back with a comprehensive move-in guide to help them plan and prepare.
Depending on the type of building, facilities and by-laws, moving in can involve booking a time slot on certain days of the week and during restricted hours. There may be an elevator and parking spots that tenants need to use to shift their furniture and belongings into their new home. Sharing contact details for the building manager, rubbish collection days and more can all help your tenant as they get to know their new home and community.
3. Look after the building manager
If you have apartments on your rent roll supervised by a building manager, you, your tenants and perhaps owners could all need something from them at some point. They’re a great person to have on your side when there’s a building maintenance issue to escalate or some minor conflict or irregularity to sort out.
It’s not the easiest job in the world and like any employee, they just want a little credit for doing their best. Consulting your building manager on the move-in guide is a great start to a positive relationship. Not only will this help you find out what tenants need to know, it’ll show them you respect them as a source of knowledge and authority. Once they know you’re on the same team and they can rely on you to do the right thing as a property manager, you’re more likely to benefit from their support if your tenant is having dramas with the noisy neighbours overhead.
4. Keep lines of communication open
So what’s the best way to help tenants deal with the inconvenience of other residents playing music at high volume after midnight? Or banging front doors when they leave for the gym at 5am? Face-to-face communication is likely the best starting point. If a tenant is complaining about this to you as their property manager, suggest they knock on their neighbour’s door instead for a friendly chat about their problem and how they’d like to see it resolved.
5. Manage expectations
When problems like this crop up, there really isn’t a great deal you or your owner can actually do. Only the owners corporation can manage someone who is breaking the by-laws that all residents must abide by. These rules can vary from one building to another, but generally there are reasonable limits on times of day when people can make noise, when and how shared areas can be used and so on.
If a tenant is having an issue with another resident, and the friendly chat approach hasn’t worked, they can take it to the owners corporation via the building manager and ask for help to get it resolved. When it’s a case of a resident failing to comply with these by-laws, a formal notice can be issued asking them to stop the breach.
While it’s important to let your tenant know you’re on their side, getting involved in disputes is definitely not part of the job when renting out apartments. One of the best things you can do is to model good communication yourself so tenants have an example to follow when finding a way to live in peace and harmony with their neighbours, in spite of sub-standard soundproofing.