Landlord's Learning Center- Communication is Key

Property Manager with Investors Choice Property Management CAL BRE LIC# 01124954

We accepted another client today, who left their current Sacramento Property Manager after 7+ years of service. The culprit? Poor communication stemming from a pet policy.

 Our new Landlord client has a duplex on a quiet cul-de-sac in Sacramento. One side has a long term tenant that recently had to get rid of an unauthorized pet (a pit bull). The other side had a tenant that wanted to purchase a pet themselves (a lab). Rather that discuss this with the Landlord, the now ex-property manager denied the request, and the tenant subsequently vacated the property during the slowest time of year for re-renting.

One simple phone call would have resolved the issue and retained the tenancy. As a Sacramento area Property Manager for the past 16+ years, I have seen this scenario play out in some form or another time and time again. Less experienced managers will often use blanket policies (i.e. if the owner says no to this dog, he must mean no to all dogs), rather than take the extra time to clarify a client's position on issues.

The moral of this story- communication is key to the success of a company. Policies and procedures and iron-clad contracts are fine, but they are a poor substitute for good old fashioned hands-on service. Sure, I might have a piece of paper that says I can "call all of the shots" for a Landlord on their rental unit, but I choose to keep the client involved with the process. As a real estate professional, I feel it is incumbent upon me to help my clients make sense of the tangled mess that is Landlord/Tenant relations.

Investors Choice Property Management (ICPM) manages over 100 single-family units with the care and diligence our Landlord clients deserve, in a manner that has them referring their friends, co-workers and family members. With over 16 years professional property management experience, our business is 95% word-of-mouth referral, we do NO Sales, and pay among the highest referral fees in the industry for management accounts. Visit our website at today for more details, and find out what we mean when we say: “Experience Property Management the Way it Should Be.”


Comments (2)

Robert May
Robert W May - Lethbridge Real Estate - Lethbridge, AB
Real estate consulting

sometimes the service our competitors provide (or lack thereor) is our best marketing, lol.

Dec 05, 2008 08:15 PM
Robert Machado
Homepointe - Sacramento, CA

I cannot agree more with the vitality of communication between owner, manager and tenant.  Too often we find ourselves as property managers in combative roles between the tenant and owner.  In the beginning the owner and manager meet to sign a contract permitting the agent to manage their rental property.   The owner is often a novice who has unrealistic ideals as to how the rental industry works: "Findme one or two excellent tenants with high paying jobs, excellent credit, verifiable rental references, no pets, no smoking and no kids".  Ahhhh, utopia.   We as managers have to exercise one of our many "manager talents" to advise them how the real world works.

In your example of a landlord who lost a client due to a manager who would not accept a pet:  I say the manager did their job as their owner client directed.  The specific manager needs to know the client who they work for.  This is germane to the relationship.  When setting up the account the manager needs to probe the owner to find out what their tolerances are--pets negotiable being one of them.  The initial meeting between owner and property manager should not be a one way street.  Both owner and manager should be interviewing each other as to the management philosophy they both intend to follow. 

James Safonov

Dec 11, 2008 02:26 PM