This month was a piece of cake. Here’s the rental property report for September 2016.
Self-Managed Rental Property Report:
Another month of smooth sailing in the rent collection department. Three out of four sets of tenants paid on the 1st using their deposit-only ATM cards, and the fourth set of tenants paid on the 2nd.
On the night of the 1st, I could see that 3 of the 4 had paid. I texted the fourth set of tenants and reminded them that the 2nd was the last day to pay rent without a late fee. The tenant paid the next day. She didn’t respond to the text at all, so I hope she wasn’t offended by the reminder. But at least she knows I’m on top of rent collection.
Another month with no maintenance issues. Woo!
Other Tenant Issues
The Tow Company FINALLY Puts Up the Sign
Last month, I mentioned that one tenant was having an issue with other people on the street parking in her assigned parking space. I had to arrange with a towing company to have them come out and post a sign. That should have been easy, but wow, was it difficult getting a towing company to just get it done.
I had to call the towing company multiple times to get them to send the contract. When they finally sent it over, I saw that they wanted the signature of each person who was authorized to have vehicles removed from the property. That wasn’t going to work. I wanted each of the tenants to have the right to tow someone from their space. But I didn’t want to have to collect nine signatures before the tow company could start enforcement.
The office person said the signatures were necessary. I didn’t think they were. I finally got a hold of the owner of the company, and he said they didn’t need the signatures if I just sent them a list of all the tenants’ names. Phew.
They came out and installed the sign on the building. They did a bit of a sloppy job, and left silicone goobers on the wall. Ugh. At least it’s stucco, so I think I can either try removing them with a heat gun or paint over them and it will blend in okay.
New Parking/Tow-Away Rules
The tow company was also nervous about each tenant being authorized to tow cars from the property. Normally only a manager is authorized. They were concerned that the tenants might start towing each other’s cars and start a war among themselves. I’m not worried. My tenants are pretty awesome.
Just to be safe, though, I sent everyone an email letting them know about the new towing contract, and telling them that they would have to pay the towing costs if they towed a neighbor’s car without justification.
One of the more detail-oriented tenants asked for specifics on what would constitute justification. I was hoping to not have to make a bunch of rules about it. But maybe it’s better that he brought it up, so at least there are clear expectations.
I wrote up a basic code of conduct, giving the tenants flexibility for loading/unloading and encouraging courtesy, but letting the tenants know that if they double-parked and were gone for longer than a few minutes and/or were unreachable to move their car, they could be towed. Pretty basic stuff.
Those same detail-oriented tenants emailed me later in the month to say they were having problems with flies inside their apartment. They were cautious about keeping doors and screens closed, but some days they would come home to 15 or more flies inside the house.
Neither of them could figure out where the flies were coming from. The tenants emptied the kitchen trash and scrubbed the can. They thought that once they might have smelled a dead animal of some kind, but didn’t smell it again later. They asked if anyone else was having trouble, or if I had any ideas.
No one else has reported any fly problems indoors. (One mentioned flies on her outdoor patio, but there’s nothing I can do about flies outside.) At first, I worried that maybe a dead mouse carcass was inside the walls or the attic from the former tenants. But if they only smelled a “dead animal” smell once, and not again, that couldn’t be it. It must just be that one or more flies is sneaking in the door, and then breeding in the trash can or something.
I told them that I couldn’t think of anything specific, but if they pinpointed it to a source and it was something I could help control, to let me know.
Trips to the Building
ZERO! OK, I sort of cheated. I last went to the building on August 31st, and I was planning to go once a month to collect laundry income. But September 30th fell on a Friday, and I didn’t feel like sitting in an hour-plus of traffic after work, so I pushed off the building visit one more day, which took it into October. 😀
Conclusion: It Was Worth it to Manage Myself this Month
I spent probably 2 to 2.5 hours dealing with the towing company and the tenant issues this month. By managing those issues myself, I saved about $637.50 (10% of the rents). That’s $255 per hour for 2.5 hours of work! It was totally worth it to manage the building myself this month.