Communications is the Devil in the Details

on 26 April 2016
The Devil is in the Details

As a property manager, have you ever been unjustifiably accused by a landlord or tenant of not clearly or sufficiently communicating? If so, it’s not an uncommon charge. But it hurts when you hear it, whether justified or not.  So how do you avoid it?

The easy answer is to simply communicate better. But what if you truly are communicating and the client or customer chooses to deny that reality? It can be a difficult charge to overcome, or even to defend unless you have communicated in writing. So almost without exception, the key to minimizing complaints of this nature is to put things on paper. Email works for this, but don’t underestimate the oft forgotten snail mail.Here’s the essence of the problem. Property managers deal with people’s money, whether it’s about the tenant paying on time, or the landlord getting paid on time, it’s much the same story. People can become vicious when their money is at stake, and it matters not who’s really at fault. Whenever a tenant or landlord catches a property manager in a vulnerable spot, one must consider that they might take full leverage of that incident to mask their own failures or inefficiencies. It does not matter if you have been Johnny on the spot 99.9% of the time. All they need is a

Here’s the essence of the problem. Property managers deal with people’s money, whether it’s about the tenant paying on time, or the landlord getting paid on time, it’s much the same story. People can become vicious when their money is at stake, and it matters not who’s really at fault. Whenever a tenant or landlord catches a property manager in a vulnerable spot, one must consider that they might take full leverage of that incident to mask their own failures or inefficiencies. It does not matter if you have been Johnny on the spot 99.9% of the time. All they need is a miniscule seam—that one tenth of a percent indiscretion that they can manipulate to bust it wide open.  And the property manager will be sitting there incredulous, with mouth wide open in absolute amazement, but that won’t matter. Bottom line—property managers cannot ever afford to be wrong. They can’t even afford the mere perception of it.

So it is evident that if you manage property, whether a professional or not, you cannot allow even a momentary indiscretion, no matter how slight. And the best way to avoid being skewered alive is to do everything right and document the fact that you did. That’s easier said than done.  But it’s easier if you forever keep in the forefront of your mind, whether true or not, that every tenant is potentially a mere clever deviant, or that every similarly deprecating landlord is just awaiting an opportunity to slam you with responsibility for their own indiscretions and inefficiencies. Such people need a scapegoat, and the property manager becomes a vulnerable and convenient object to vent their melancholic wrath.

As has already been said, the answer… document, document, and document some more.  And then never forget that landlords and tenants may be quick to grow amnesia when it serves their best financial interests.  The only way to help them recall reality is to have had it on paper.  That they cannot deny! 


Dan Wilhelm
3 Options Realty
http://www.3optionsrealty.com
678-397-1282