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Leasing Agent Stories and how to learn from them.
How to Deal with Angry Residents
By: Mindy Williams
Here are some great ideas submitted to Rent & Retain on how to deal with angry
- I wait two counts after a resident stops complaining. This way I don’t
interrupt them and it gives them the chance to get everything off their
chest. Then I summarize their problem and give solutions.
- I learned a long time ago never to say, “It’s out of my control” or “I have to
ask my boss.” This makes the complaining resident believe that my job is
not important and so in the future they should just go over my head. I tell
the resident that WE can work it out together. This puts us together as a
- We are extending our phone hours to 7am to 7pm so that residents with
complaints can call us more easily. Since the office is closed, we just
need one person to stay early/late and answer the phones, which also
gives us extra time to catch up on paperwork.
Rental Agent Guide got in touch with Tony Strobel, a rental agent with Lori Gill & Associates, a Seattle-based property management firm, to learn more about his role.
RAG: How did you become a rental agent?
TS: I’d been working as a sales agent since 2000. In 2008 I was in trouble with my personal residence and was trying to figure out if I should short sell it or rent it. I interviewed an agent from Windermere Property Management, and by the end of our conversation she recommended that I come interview and see if property management was something that I might be interested in doing. It was very easy transition, and I am very happy that I made the move.
RAG: Who is your typical client?
TS: My clients are mostly owners who’ve taken employment out of state. They purchased their home within the past 5-6 years and are not able to sell, so plan to hold onto the home and rent it until the sales market strengthens.
RAG: What types of tasks do you perform on an average day?
TS: My average day might include any and all of the following:
- Responding to owner questions/concerns
- Responding to tenants questions/concerns/maintenance requests
- Keeping current listing owners updated on any new/recent activity
- Screening applicants
- Writing leases
- Doing move-in and move-out inspections
- Doing periodic inspections of all of the homes I manage. Currently I manage 65 homes, and visit each of them once every 6 months.
- Going on listing appointments
- Approving invoices to be paid
- Giving rental advice to sales agents who have investor buyers
- Emailing rental market analysis for potential new web, email, and phone-in clients
RAG: What are some of the difficult tasks/situations your skill set allows you to handle efficiently, that your clients might struggle to do on their own?
TS: A few things:
- We offer a 24-hour emergency call service.
- Most of our clients are out of state, so virtually all maintenance related work that needs to be done would be a challenge, all inspections would be difficult and expensive for them to fly into town to perform, knowing if the yard was being cared for, gutters needed to be cleaned, etc.
- Knowledge of the landlord tenant law, lease enforcement, collections, evictions, etc.
- We have a full accounting department which keeps an accurate accounting of all rental income and expenses, and prepares a 1099 at year end.
RAG: Any advice for new rental property owners?
TS: Hire a professional rental management company. :)
Source: Rental Agent Guide
Just heard about this story. It seems bed bugs are becoming a bigger and bigger issue:
A 69-year-old Maryland woman who claims that she was driven from her apartment by bedbugs is celebrating a big legal victory.
After renting an apartment in September 2011, Falka Shaaban says that she discovered it to be infested with the biting bugs.
After she complained, she was evicted from the apartment and her property was stolen after it was deposited on the sidewalk. She sued the property owner and management firm, claiming they knew about the infestation and refused to fumigate the apartment, the Daily News notes.
It took a jury just 45 minutes to find in Shaaban’s favor, awarding her $800,000, including $650,000 in punitive damages.
A legal expert said the case signaled that juries were increasingly sensitive to bed bug infestations and could herald a wave of similar cases in coming years.
Leasing Agent Tips:
- Make sure your office has a bed bug disclosure
- When in doubt, disclose, disclose, disclose.
If you don’t think you need a rental agent to help you manage your rental property, consider these two tales of trainwreck-y landlord/tenant relations from the archives of the personal finance blog Get Rich Slowly:
1. The tenant who cost his landlord over $13,000 in lost rent over a broken air conditioner.
When this duplex dweller’s air conditioner stopped functioning, and his landlord, (who lived 20 miles away, and was busy with his day job), failed in several attempts to have it repaired, the tenant decided to “research his options.” In the course of that research, he discovered that his landlord didn’t have a “rental certificate” in place for his apartment, which is required in LA in order for the landlord to legally collect rent. The tenant further discovered that his apartment was ineligible for a rental certificate, because the building was zoned as a single-family residence. Long story, short: The tenant decided not to pay rent for every day that the AC went un-repaired, the landlord tried to evict him, the tenant had the apartment declared illegal…and the landlord couldn’t rent it out again until he had it rezoned, which took months.
2. The tenants who filed for bankruptcy in order to live rent-free for four months.
In order to rent their house quickly in a soft rental market, these landlords decided to rent to a couple who had dicey credit, and who were going through bankruptcy due to a failed business venture. Since these tenants had recently declared bankruptcy, the landlords knew that the couple couldn’t file again for years, thus they figured they would be able to take legal action if the rent went unpaid. Well, the rent did go unpaid, and the tenants filed for bankruptcy again, the same day they were served eviction papers. Even though the filing was bogus, the tenants were granted an Automatic Stay, a situation which took the landlords 13 trips to court, over a period of about three months, to resolve. Meanwhile, the tenants lived in their house rent-free.
Source: Rental Agent Guide
For the past nine months, I’ve worked as an on-site leasing agent for a major Manhattan landlord. Every day people come through my office in various stages of frustration, looking for a suitable place to call home. Having sat on both sides of the table–I personally have rented three apartments in three years, so I understand what a colossal pain finding a place in Manhattan is–I’ve learned a thing or two about how to go about securing the best apartment on the best terms……more.
Source: Best of Brick: Confessions of an on-site leasing agent Brick Underground
Had a showing awile back of a single family home. A grandmother and grandfather were looking for a home closer to their grandchildren. They brought their grandson(6 years old) along with them on the showing. They went through the house a couple of times like most people. I was in the kitchen explaiing the finer details and costs of renting the home as the grandfather calls out from the hallway, “Do the toilets work?” I said, “Possibly, check and make sure the water is on.” I didn’t think much of it until about 10 minutes later when he came out of the hallway and says, “The water isn’t on and I couldn’t hold it.” That means 2 things; 1) he just needed to urinate. 2) He had gone number 2. Well, you guessed it….. “number 2″ and when someone says they couldn’t hold it you know what type of “number 2″ that is. The grandfather politely says he’ll run to the store and buy a few gallons of water to flush it down. I didn’t even bother to go to the back of the home and make sure he cleaned it up.
Anyways as the grandfather finishes the cleanup and uses all of the water he purchased the grandson says, “I have to go pee really bad.” So you guessed it, they went ahead and let him use the bathroom. I just didn’t care anymore after that.
Leasing Agent Tips
- It’s stories like this that put a smile on you face when you’re having a bad day.
- You never know what you’re going to get. Be prepared
Tell us your stories. We can all learn from others mistakes or accomplishments.