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Securing and Protecting Properties

My experiences as a property manager of commercial real estate here in Redding are becoming more and more concentrated on defensive tactics to keep the “vagrants” from destroying property.

My friend and fellow property manager, Daniel Knott once told me, “Nothing good ever happens after 10:00pm”.

Late, last night while I am on the line with the Redding Police Dispatch regarding the latest office break in, wild raccoons and Ferrell cats were crawling out of the bushes behind me and the numerous, faceless and hooded beings were abundantly loafing the public and private spaces in front of me.  They are common in their search for a free meal and place to occupy as their own for brief moment until someone scares them off.  They dig, scratch, poop and pee wherever they want to. They dodge authority and escape to the darkness in similarity, but with size advantages, our human counterparts can kick, cut, tear, break and carry away the necessities of our businesses while leaving behind an unimaginable amount of damage as well as garbage and debris.

Our commercial buildings are a good target because they offer many spaces that can go un-noticed by our costly security patrols.  These buildings sleep silently while their unsecured grounds and entryways are tested and forced ajar.   These income producing spaces also don’t have the emotional attachment that our homes have.  How many times can these beings be run off before a serious confrontation?  If this happened more than once to our homes without some type of serious barrier soon being erected, the alternative would probably be to vacate ourselves.

So what do we do about this?  Without getting onto a controversial political band-wagon, all we can do is to continue the constant chase with our brooms and flashlights and maintain the slight guarantee of iron, steel, locks and alarms.  We shall battle on to protect our livelihoods.

Property Managed By Owner

The biggest mistake that property owners make when managing their own rental properties is procrastination.  When issues are not immediately or quickly addressed, a decline in the condition of the property may occur or a decline in tenant concern and commitment to their leased space may begin the accelerated wear and tear on the property.

A slow leak, if not fixed right away, will slowly degrade all that the water comes in contact with.  Over-grown landscaping can tear up siding and footings as well as harbor unwanted pests.  One bug can lead to an infestation if not treated quickly.  Servicing and maintaining HVAC equipment is very important whether you have an agreement with your tenant or not, it should be made certain that filters are being changed regularly.  A dirty filter could cause extensive damage to a HVAC unit over time.

When a tenant reports a leak, overgrown tree, or bugs and the owner doesn’t respond to their concerns, this sends the message to the tenant that it is not an import issue and perhaps the owner does not care.  If the owner does not care, then why should the tenant?  Putting off a small maintenance issue is one thing, but forgetting altogether about the report is another.  What method are you using to document the initial report of the problem so that you won’t forget about it?  What if a small problem develops into a big problem and your tenant withholds rent?  This can be legally done and could cause a property owner a very expensive headache.

Another area that is easily procrastinated upon is when a tenant needs to be served a “Cure or Quit” notice.  This is a notice that lets the tenant know that they are in breach of their contract and need to “cure” the problem or move out.  When a property owner does not post a “Cure or Quit” notice, the problem could easily escalate out of control.

The most efficient way to avoid procrastination is to utilize a property management software that tracks all communications between landlord and tenants, all maintenance requests, and that will easily and conveniently generate “Cure or Quit” notices as well as all other property management type documents.  Most of these software programs are expensive and it may be more cost effective to use the services of a property management company.