It sounds so dramatic doesn’t it. Let me explain what I mean by this. Ideally Landlords and Tenants should never have each others phone numbers, or emails addresses. While it sounds rash, I’ve seen far too often how what starts as a great relationship turns really awkward.
Landlords hire property managers to manage their tenants & the investment property. It sounds like a simple job. But it’s not. Proof of that is the high turnover rate of property managers coming in and out of the industry. The truth is it’s a hard job, where a property manager has to keep the owner & tenant both happy when often they don’t agree. It’s a stressful job and it’s an extremely busy job. I’ve lost count the number of owners who have started off with great tenant relationships to only have them go sideways for a zillion different reasons.
Three people in any relationship is one too many. Landlords that hire a property manager need the property manager to be a professional buffer between them and the tenant. Plus the other way around. Tenants need the same thing.
Here is just a few of the super common things I have witnessed go down when tenants and landlords have each others details.
THE LONG & FREQUENT TEXT
We’ve had a tenant that was sent a notice to leave as their lease was coming to an end. So they sent the owner very very long and frequent texts why they need to stay & how they have applied for many properties without success. What they where doing was pulling on the heart strings of the owners to try to have them give into them. Most people probably would have, but they didn’t, instead the owners just forwarded the texts to us asking we ask the tenants can they please never contact them directly again. The owner really didn’t appreciate the type of guilt contact and if anything it made the owners want to tenants to leave even more.
TEXT OR CALLS TO THE OWNERS TO COMPLAIN ABOUT THE PROPERTY MANAGER
If a property manager has done something wrong. Which is very possible. It’s best to tell them and tell the RTA if needed. Often owners do not want to know about it, which is why they have hired us in the first place. I’ve found that many landlords are not equipped to handle a tenant who complains and often their complaint is unfounded or inaccurate. There are always two sides to a story. Owners really don’t want their tenants telly tatting on the property manager. We’ve had tenants tell owners that we are terrible to deal with. Then when pushed for an explanation they just didn’t have one.
CUTTING OUT THE MIDDLE MAN
Tenants can sometime use this direct contact to convince the owner to save some money and cut out the property manager and let them lease the property directly from them. If an owner wants to do this, that’s fine, but the reason they came to use is because they don’t. As far as saving money generally investors that self manage do not save money, it costs them money. What I have found is people that self manage do not keep rent up to market levels. The most recent was property rented for $800 PW which we have now increased to $1,200 PW.
We’ve had tenants contact the owner directly asking for a $20 a week rental deduction. When we were about to increase it by $20 a week. The owner was seriously considering it. We then stepped in and the tenants then agreed for pay the small $20 increase. Which is still small for the current market conditions. So the owner is now benefiting from a small $20 increase, where if they agreed with the tenants they would now have a $40 a week loss.
Recently a tenant talked an owner into spending $300 cleaning up the garden, which was the tenants responsibility. Then when it was done the tenant complained the job was not good enough & could they come back and do more. But I have also had a situation where I had just had some maintenance approved by the owner, then the tenant spoke with them direct and the owner canceled all the maintenance. I have no idea what they spoke about. What ever it was it’s now impacted the tenant because they were looking forward to the maintenance being done.
OWNERS START TO HATE TENANTS
I’ve had owners call me to explain they now feel sick “that” tenants is now living in their property. The tenant is a good tenant, looks after the home, pays the rent on time. They are just not that good with how they talk to people and have rubbed a few people the wrong way. Including the owner.
I have seen property investors not increase rent because they like the tenants they have in place and miss out on around $200 a week additional income. Over 5 years that’s a staggering $50,000. It’s lovely some landlords can afford to do that. But most buy investment properties to build wealth and regular rental increases are part of that.
Almost every property that comes to use that had self managed has rental arrears. Tenants should not be any more than 7 days in arrears or there are major consequences.
Probably the biggest is mistake is miscommunication. The tenant thinks the owner said something and the owner is certain they didn’t, now the tenant has an expectation around that. Recently I had an owner inspect some storm damage and as I stood there I heard them tell the tenant they will look after the damage to the tenants car. That’s something the owner should not have said. Turns out the insurance does not cover it. So that’s now awkward. The owner has now created an expectation for the tenant they now can’t meet.
We’ve had a tenant tell an owner things that are just not true. The tenant has the owners so convinced we had to supply the owner back up documentation as proof what the tenant was claiming was just not true. Which is just very awkward for everyone. Property managers should not have to be put in a position to prove themselves to their clients the landlord and it’s unfortunate some tenants think they can go around telling lies to try and get what they want. Property management is very regulated. We have computer systems that track everything and legislation needs to be followed. Usually an agency manages hundreds of properties and if they conducted themselves badly they would not be in business for very long.
Property managers have to be fair but firm. We also know the legislation. We are usually better at how we word things ensuring promises are not made and people are not let down. Owners are people and want to keep their tenant happy. But then that can turn on them and a tenant can take advantage of them. Of course this may go the other way around too, where the owner may try and take advantage of a tenant too.
So if you are a tenant or a landlord and you happen to have the other persons contact details but also have a property manager. Please just deal direct with the property manager, it’s their profession. It’s what they do daily and probably for over 100 properties, so it’s very possible they are more qualified to manage the property and the relationship with the landlord and tenant far better than if they communicated directly. Of course I am sure there are landlords and tenants who connect directly with each other all the time just fine too.