Saturday, July 25, 2009

One tenant can be a cancer on an entire building


As a big history buff, I often quote the lessons of pre World War II when it was established that foreign policies of appeasement are a failure especially towards aggressors. As a property manager, I learned to follow similar thinking when dealing with tenants that are aggressive towards building management, superintendents, their neighbors and others.

In other words, often, negotiation with these types of personalities is a fruitless exercise. Recently, I secured a judgment and a writ of eviction against a tenant that had not paid their rent for several months. A very mean-spirited individual this person had convinced me that if I didn’t go through with the eviction he would become the model tenant that I was seeking and pay all amounts owed. I obliged and did not go through with the eviction.

In subsequent months, this tenant started paying his rent but his behavior was becoming more disturbing and potentially financially ruinous to me. As new tenants moved into the building, he would often cause problems with these new customers and start quarrels and arguments with them over petty issues such as distance parked between his SUV and the new tenants cars. It got so bad that once a new customer called crying due to the stress that he had caused her.

He started a similar confrontation with a second tenant that caused the new tenant to seriously question her choice in selecting our building as a place to live. At these incidents, I learned my lesson and decided that the only course of action would be to finally without reservation go ahead and evict the individual in question. Even though he had now begun to pay his rent on time, there was no excuse for disturbing new customers and new neighbors entering the building – new tenants that I had invested considerable time and effort in attracting to the building.

Wednesday, July 8, 2009

Characteristics of a Good Property Manager

Our Services

Many years ago, my parents relocated from Montreal to Toronto due to my father’s work which was with the Federal government. At that time my parents owned two buildings - - both triplexes. Due to several factors such as the then weak real estate market, their uncertainty whether Toronto would prove to be a good home as well as other factors made them decide not to sell the properties.

After several months of trying to manage the buildings from Toronto (600 km away) they saw that the great challenges of doing so proved much too large to overcome. They had no network of friends or family willing to help nor were they willing to ask for this magnitude of favor from them. Professional property managers that they contacted either wanted to charge exorbitant rates or simply flat-out refused managing anything smaller than 10 unit buildings. There was indeed a tremendous market need immediately identified by my father.

As Kaur Property Management was launched in Montreal, Quebec, its goal was to meet the needs of property owners that had relatively small investment buildings to be managed honestly, professionally and with little effort for the owners, who likely were out of town. It was said that Kaur Property Management would be like those trusted friends or families that did not exist or that were not asked to help manage the buildings.

Today, we manage several properties big and small for owners that live in Montreal or away. Our owners understand that they have made the right choice in selecting our services. We are a small company and choose to remain small to continue to manage the needs of our customers with quality and care. No task, no job, no matter the complexity is too big for us to manage.

Our full service package ensures that owners have a reliable resource to entirely manage every aspect of the property from rent collection, repairs and renovations, finding new tenants to end-of-year tax slip preparation and renewal management. This is what we desperately needed so many years ago. This is now who we are.

Wednesday, July 1, 2009

Three Important Lessons on Reference Checks

Checking References

One of the most critical functions when selecting a tenant is to determine to the best of your abilities the quality and character of the potential tenant interested in your property. The more information you can collect prior to admitting the tenant the better one can gauge the suitability and fit of the tenant.

Lesson #1 - - When a claim sounds too good to be true, it almost always is.

Recently, a polite young woman came by to visit an apartment of mine. My suspicions about this person were raised early on when she stated that she would most certainly rent the apartment before even seeing it.

Nonetheless, I allowed her to come see the apartment. She liked it and decided to fill out an application with her work history and personal references. Below were tell-tale signs of her dishonesty.

  1. When I asked her follow-up questions regarding her application, she got agitated, rushed her speech and proclaimed “well, I have several other places I can chose from you know”
  1. The company at which she claimed to work at had no Internet search results returned.
  1. She did not leave a deposit which I make a requirement if folks are interested in renting and when they are given an application to fill.

Lesson #2 - -Be extremely vigilant about people and the information they provide

Despite the lack of deposit, I decided to do a little detective work to uncover my suspected untruths. After receiving an excellent reference from the person she had marked down as her boss, I asked one of my co-workers to visit the exact address of her place of employment on her application. It turns out that not only did business suite number not exist, but no such business was located at that particular building in downtown Montreal. I called the applicant back to reconfirm the address. She once again confirmed which led me to challenge her claims. At this, she got very agitated and exclaimed that she was at work and could not be bothered at this time. My decision was immediately made to reject this applicant.

Lesson #3 Credit Checks are critical

People with skeletons in their closet have reasons to hide this information. They may have had problems in the past meeting rent payments; they may not work, in summary, lacking the specific requirements you have set out. Avoid future headache by investing the time to research their history. Credit checks are very important as well. If a person has had issues paying relatively small credit card bills, there is a high likelihood they will have trouble paying rent.

Share your comments!