I thought some of you might be interested in an article I recently published in the June 2008 issue of Residential Resource, the official magazine of the National Association of Residential Property Managers (NARPM). It is a great publication. It is a greater organization. Here it is!
A Charmed and Idyllic Profession
Residential Property Management is an absolutely exhilarating career! Our tenants are universally an amicable lot, seeking always to pay their rent a day early to avoid any possible misunderstanding; keeping their rented home spic and span and always, ALWAYS reporting any maintenance issues on a timely basis. They are great neighbors and when we stop by to say HI, their neighbors clamor to meet us and tell us what nice people OUR tenants are.
Our tenants seem never to get at odds with the Association Resident Manager because they parked overnight in guest parking, roared through the neighborhood at 100 MPH, or left their garbage stand just outside their door until they get time to drop it in the chute. Our tenants are so quiet that they get the Development's "Quiet Family of the Month Award" month after month after month. Yes, our tenants are the best the nation has to offer! They have to be, we picked them.
Then our owners; always courteous, polite and prompt with a good word about everything that happens and they are especially effusive about the services we render. But what we all appreciate most about our owners is how willing they are to bear, without complaint, the sometimes onerous cost of repairing those things, large or small, that wear out or break over the course of long use by our ever suffering, wonderful tenants. Never mind that when we have to buy a new refrigerator, these owners have to put their families on a bread and water diet to make up the temporary shortage this might generate in their budget!
But they somehow always come through, and we are able to provide that brand new and shining refrigerator to our great tenants knowing full well that when those tenants check out, they will have taken such good care of it that our next tenants will be full of glee to have such a nice refrigerator in their new apartment.
These owners always support us in keeping their investment in tip-top running condition and it always looks so nice! Never, Never, Never does the Resident Manager have to call one of us to remind us that some little maintenance issue has become a problem to the community. Nope, not any units we manage!
And, oh yes, our owners are really faithful about being represented at their Owner Association meetings because, of course, they live in the community, only a mile or so from the rental they own. They never live in Japan, Switzerland, New Zealand, or on the other side of the continent. Nope our owners live right next door and it is soooooo easy for them to make every Association meeting, that they get to know every serving Board Member and often serve for year after year after year on the Board themselves. They know intimately and personally the other Board Members, the Association Managers and others who have the aggregate responsibility of keeping the entire "community" at peace with itself.
How lucky we are, not only to have such great and fantastic tenants and owners, but this is not all; there are others who also influence our lives and give us that warm fuzzy feeling of having everything always in order around us.
Think of our vendors; they are all just great, always happy and complimentary for the business we send their way. And the work they do - professional to a fault! They always do their work quietly and never leave a mess in the development when they are through. They are all just plain good vendors. We are all proud to work with each and every one of them. But then, they must be good, we chose them over their competitors.
Among these until now unnamed others is another group with whom we interface which seldom gets due recognition. I have kind of mentioned these people already. These are the Home Owner Association representatives, volunteer Board Members, Professional Managers, Resident Managers and others who keep the building or development working and the owners and residents at peace with themselves and everyone else. These guys have a real major impact on our lives.
I guess I have to confess that this relationship with Home Owner Associations sometimes frays at the edges and may need a little spiffing up from time to time. It is from this perspective that I will address a few issues as food for thought, for often, we influence this relationship, for good or evil with our very own attitudes and actions.
Can you imagine the pressures on the Resident Managers in the apartment complexes where our tenants reside? Can you imagine the pressures on the Association Managers after a contentious meeting with the Boards of Directors? Can you imagine when they get an irate call from another tenant or owner that the teen age son of one of OUR tenants ran over their dog? Compared to our lives, these guys really have things tough! Let's stop for a minute and take a look!
First off, while it is an exceptional situation, sometimes these folks don't have the same view of OUR tenants that we have! They don't really understand how really super our tenants are.
Unfortunately, there are lots of "other" tenants living in their developments who were put there either by Property Managers who are NOT affiliated with the National Association of Residential Property Managers, NARPM, (HORRORS) or a disinterested owner/landlord who doesn't give a whit about anything except collecting rent each month.
These properties sometimes get run down! Sometimes they are infected with bugs and other critters that drive their neighbors nuts! And, some of these valiant souls might even have had an accidental "blow-up" when they were cooking meth which they peddled in the building or neighborhood to unsuspecting neighborhood kids. And, wouldn't you believe it; they always live right next door to the President of the Board. Ahhh, such luck!
Now remember, these are not our tenants, no siree, these are tenants put there by those "other" guys. Nevertheless, the Association Guys just don't seem to realize this; we all get painted with the same brush, and whamo out of the next Board Meeting comes a new edict - no new tenants allowed! Now the fun and games start. Slowly but surely the development evolves into an "owner occupied" development, and our investor owners have to either sell or do something else with their property.
How in the world could this ever have happened, and could we have ever done anything to have headed off such a catastrophe? It's kind of hard to say, but let's go back and take a look. How do our idyllic tenants really behave? Then, what do we do about it when the neighbors below them or next door to them complain to the resident manager that our tenants are really an undisciplined thundering herd that keeps them awake all night; every night?
The solution is obvious! First off, we can't change such a family of thunderers, but we can avoid putting such folks in our rentals right from the get-go! Yes, Yes, I know, there are "Fair Housing" laws, but these don't drive us to put a family of nineteen in a studio apartment.
Then there is the issue of the way they live! Are OUR tenants party dolls, partying into the wee hours? Do OUR tenants leave mud and debris outside the door of their units? Do OUR tenants drive sanely in the parking garage? Are OUR tenants really the model family we might believe them to be? Remember, WE picked them, but we don't see them nearly as often as the Resident Manager and their neighbors do.
Yup, I have concluded that Property Managers live a charmed and idyllic existence, and I for one am mighty proud to be named among them, and to be a member of the finest professional organization in the whole world. You guessed it, this is NARPM, the National Association of Residential Property Managers.