Today we had a call no one wants to get as a property manager: fire! No one was hurt, the tenants will be back up and running shortly, and restoration is well on its way. In the heat of this small crisis, we are reminded of the 3 variables that need to be managed during incidents like this:
- The Problem
Most competent managers intuitively focus on addressing the problem at hand (#1); where many manager’s fall short is their ability to manage tenants (#2) and landlords (#3) throughout the process.
You could be doing an excellent job managing the actual problem, but if either the tenants or the landlord think you are not on top of it, all your hard work may be moot. With a crisis, there are often a multitude of moving parts, and some problems, delays, and over-sights may be completely out of your control; therefore, controlling the perceptions of the people around you is often just as critical as solving the actual problem.
The solution: Update tenants and landlords often. That is it. As simple as it is to send short concise updates to all parties summarizing what has been done, what is going to be done, and any issues that are arising.. most managers don’t do it.
There should never be a tenant or landlord that is thinking: “There is this problem and I have no idea what is being done about it!”. They should be thinking: “There are these problems AND these other problems I didn’t even know about and the property manager is doing this and that to solve it and will be in touch with us soon.”
This takes extra time in correspondence, but if staying in touch with your tenants is hardwired into your operating system, it takes less energy than you think. And if you have systemized quick/easy communication with tenants, then quick informal conversation is acceptable and could take 30 seconds.
Action: Depending on the severity, both landlords and tenants should get frequent updates as to what is going on. Letting everyone know what actions are being taken, what the hold-ups are, and when you will be in touch next, is a sure way of showing you have things under control.