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hTenants in a Michigan apartment complex complained this week about flies coming from a neighboring unit that was occupied by a hoarder.

Lack of action from the management has tenants spraying pesticides around the area while other residents are complaining about fumes coming through air conditioning units. Meanwhile, the hoarder’s apartment is sitting vacant.

Stories like this bring to light just how important it is for all landlords to stay on top of day-to-day property management, especially in multifamily properties. Otherwise, problems — like a hoarder — can quickly spiral out of control.

Bad management costs a landlord three ways:

1. Renting to a bad tenant means lost rent. The tenant eventually will need to move, and the property will sit vacant. Other tenants may decide not to renew, and before long the vacancy rate spikes throughout the complex.

2. Given the opportunity, a problems like pest infestations, smells or harmful vapor in one unit quickly will spread throughout the entire building if left unattended. The costs of clean up with skyrocket.

3. Reputation matters. It’s no longer necessary for tenants to go to the local news to hurt the reputation of the rental property, the property management and the owner. Today, all rental properties are under a microscope because tenants have so many options when it comes to posting online complaints. These comments will follow the property far into the future. What people say about the property matters, especially to prospective tenants. Rehabilitating a negative image may take time — and money.

Many property management nightmares can be avoided if you:

Run a tenant check on each adult resident before turning over the keys;

Perform rental inspections of each unit during the term of the lease;

Develop house rules that cover basics — like storing possessions and handling pest complaints.

Listen and act on tenant complaints in a timely fashion — there may be good reason!

It’s no coincidence that the best-managed rental properties are also the most profitable.

American Apartment Owners Association offers discounts on products and services for all your property management needs. Find out more at www.joinaaoa.org.

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