Communication is essential in the property management business. In order to keep a property in the best condition, both physically and financially, property managers need to have open lines of communication with homeowners, HOAs or tenants at all times.
If there’s a maintenance issue at a property, we need to know about it. And if we’re doing work on a property or addressing an issue, we need to keep the homeowner, HOA or landlord informed throughout the process.
Property management is a partnership—and communication is the bridge, keeping both sides connected and on the same page.
3 Things a Property Manager Should Do to Build Strong Communication
- Make it easy – We never want it to be difficult for people to get ahold of us. It’s our job to be there when our clients need us. That’s why in addition to responding to emails and picking up the phone, we are in the process of rolling out a new online tool that will make communication between clients, tenants and ourselves easier than ever.
- Respond quickly – When there’s a problem, issue or question, people want a fast response. That goes for anything, but especially when it comes to property management. We always aim to respond and take action as quickly as possible.
- Keep people informed – There’s nothing that drives people crazier than not knowing what’s going on. We always make it a priority to provide clients regular updates on the property.
6 Steps You Can Take to Improve Communication with Your Property Manager
Many of our clients come to us after struggles with past property management companies. I pride myself on going above and beyond to change what our clients think is typical of a relationship with a property manager. It doesn’t have to be a headache!
But, if you just have some minor issues with your property manager, it may just take some small tweaks to how you communicate to get things back on the right track. Even if things are going great, I hope these tips are helpful in making your relationship even more effective.
Here are some things you can do as a landlord, HOA or rental tenant to communicate better with your property management company – and get things done!
1. Set an agenda before meetings
This one is particularly important when working with HOAs, where there may be a number of different issues people want to discuss. In order to keep the conversation on track, it’s always a good idea to organize topics and talking points ahead of time.
• Know what you want to talk about and in what order you will talk about them
• Let everyone involved know ahead of time too so they know what to expect
• If necessary, limit the amount of time spent on each topic
2. Prioritize what you want addressed first
If you are an HOA board member or you own a rental property, you may have one thousand things that need to be addressed. When it comes to property, it’s not uncommon to have a very long to-do list. But in order for your property management company to get all these items done in the way you would like, it’s helpful to prioritize your list.
• What’s most important to you?
• What issues are pressing? Should they be addressed first?
• What items aren’t urgent? Can they fall to the bottom of the list?
When this information is clearly communicated, your top priorities will be accomplished quicker. And if you aren’t sure what should be your top priority, be open with your property manager and they should be able to help you create a realistic game plan.
3. Follow the established communication process
Homeowners must have trust and confidence in their property manager. Sometimes HOA members or rental tenants will try to go around the property manager to their landlord or to the HOA board. This just creates extra steps and delays the process.
It’s fine to copy others on emails and keep them in the loop – in fact, we encourage it. Just remember it’s your property manager’s job to handle these things. Let your property manager be the mediator and things will generally get done quicker. If you are having issues with their response time, ask to discuss it with your property manager.
4. Put everything in writing
The best way to ensure your communication is appropriately tracked is to follow the process set up by your property management company. If you email the right person or use the software your property manager has set up to make requests, they will have a consistent paper trail to advocate for you to the landlord or HOA board.
While phone calls are perfectly fine in most situations (like emergencies), emails have the advantage of being very easy to track—which is beneficial for both you and your manager. If you use a variety of communication methods, things may get lost in the shuffle.
5. Include as much detail in your requests as possible
The more information a property manager has, the easier it is to make decisions and take action. When you send a request to your property manager, provide as much detail about the situation as possible. This can include:
• How long it has been happening
• Additional history with the issue
• How urgent it is to get it resolved
Since visuals can often be more helpful than words, include pictures of the problem if possible. Diagrams are also helpful. Showing a diagram of where the problem is on the property will make it easier for your property manager to locate the issue.
6. Be informed about your agreement
It may take a little time and reading, but it’s helpful to know what your property manager handles and what may be the responsibility of someone else. Some things that frustrate you, like peeling paint on your condo building, may be outside the property manager’s scope.
Make sure you know your property manager’s responsibilities. This will save you time and frustration in the long run. If you have concerns or there are more things you would your property manager to handle, talk to your manager about adjusting or renewing your agreement.
Are You Having Communication Problems with Your Property Manager?
Communication is never a one-way street. That’s why it’s important to have an established communication process in place with your property manager—particularly when it comes to HOA relationships.
If you are running into regular issues or problems with your property management company, it’s possible you may simply have a few kinks in your lines of communication.
Don’t be afraid to talk to your property manager and ask how you can improve the communication process. Any good property management company will be happy to discuss how you can work together to make your communication more beneficial for all involved.
About Ryan Edwards
Ryan Edwards is the owner and property manager for EZR Management. He founded the company in 2006, building on his years of experience managing and renting properties.