Communicating With Your Property Manager When to Call — and when NOT to Call

It was an odd call to management, but Erik Conrad, president of InCommercial Property Group in Chicago, knew that when his residents have a gripe, they also have the right to call and let him know what the problem is.

In this case, however, Conrad was somewhat at a loss; he knew there was nothing that his company could do about the resident’s stolen chocolate milk. “We don’t know why he called us about it,” he says. “Maybe he thought a staff member was in his unit, but they weren’t.”

Another resident, in a building that Conrad’s company had just started managing, called to ask for a new bucket. “When I asked him why, he said the old bucket wasn’t big enough. Seems the previous management company would take $50 off his fees each month in lieu of fixing the leaky problem.”

Whenever a problem arises in an association—whether it’s a leak, draft or some other issue, it’s typically the impulse of the resident or board member to pick up the phone and call the property manager. In most cases, that's the right thing to do, but as pros like Conrad have learned, that’s not always the case. Calling too much, at inconvenient times or about trivial items (such as stolen chocolate milk, for example) is not the best use of the management company’s time and resources.

Fortunately, Conrad says that very few calls from board members or residents are unwarranted or outright inappropriate because reaching out to one's property manager is generally a sign of an active, well-meaning individual. “For the most part, the board calls to inquire about finances and legal or process questions with regard to collecting assessments, moving tenants in and out, et cetera,” he says.

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