Assessing the Habitability (two documents)
Whether you do the assessment, or have staff do it, you need a checklist (and training document) to use when visiting a prospective property to access whether or not you want to manage it. We’ve been asked to lease houses that have been vacant for years and owners think ‘they were ok when they last saw them so they should be find today. This package has two parts. A training write-up addressing the issues of ‘it’s your job to examine the property and tell the broker whether we want it or not’ as well as ‘the actual checklist for the inspection.’ Someone needs to methodically walk the property and conscientiously look for things that would keep you from managing it as a rental, and/or list the things that need to be addressed before you’ll start marketing. This is a long list of things to watch out for including things like dead trees or tree limbs hanging over the home, deep ditches around the home, open holes in the yard that can hurt children, mildew on siding, damp basements, three story decks, missing electrical plates and more. Unlike sales listings, you don’t just say ‘yes’ to every owner that calls. Protect yourself and prevent claims from tenants of negligence regarding habitability issues. This is about protecting yourself from owners who don’t care or don’t understand the issues of safety and habitability.
Protect Yourself From Owners
“The longer you’re in property management the more you realize that it’s sticky, often hostile, sometimes even litigious. Over 35 years I’ve been burned many times by owners, tenants, vendors, staff and third parties and after the second or third time (I’m a slow learner) I would go back to the attorney and have her draft a document that prevents it from ever happening again. Blaming property managers has reached an all-time high and isn’t going away anytime soon. So, understanding this reality, smart managers need to spend extra time, money and effort building/crafting documents designed to protect themselves, even from the folks they are trying to serve. We’ve pulled these documents from our archives and have listed them here for your review and downloading individually (or in packages by topic). We’ve laid this material out in the Property Management Life Cycle categories for purposes of giving the discussion some order.
Protecting yourself from Owners is what these documents are all about.