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Neil Fjellestad's Blog


By Neil Fjellestad | Property Manager in San Diego County, CA

Rental Property Management in San Carlos 92119

Ms. Management Q and A (part 3)

I have asked my business partner Carol Levey who is a recognized national educator in the multihousing industry to share some of her professional management insights. She provides temporary leasing specialists to major apartment community operators, tailored training coursework to onsite personnel and consulting services to property management professionals across the country. She is one of the original team that produced the National Apartment Association course leading to the respected NALP designation. She produced "Let's Lease" - the first industry CBT (computer-based training). She writes for the Apartment Association of Metro Denver as Ms. Management. 


Question? I’m a manager at a property that has experienced a higher than budgeted vacancy. There’s a lot of pressure from the owner to lease, lease, lease now that traffic has picked up. The owner’s impression is that too much non-productive effort has been spent on qualifying the applicants and reviewing the lease documents with potential residents. The argument is that if we make it too hard to lease at our community they will keep looking.

Any thoughts about how we strike the right balance to increase leases?

Answer: It is certainly a good idea to periodically review your leasing criteria to ensure that it is attracting and retaining the customers you want. You might uncover one or several qualifications that need adjustment under current market conditions. You should also review what is being said by all members of your leasing team and the timing of presentation. Having said this it should be understood that being thorough during the application process and clear during the leasing documentation are essential to a qualified prospect becoming a satisfied resident. This is a unique opportunity to understand what you are getting and what everyone can expect going forward. It becomes the defining conversation that all team members can reference when dealing with situations months later. In order for this to work every team member must have had the same conversation in a similar way.

Nine out of ten situations that come up during the lease term are covered within the documentation. The problems arise because all parties never understood the lease or the lease is not used consistently to resolve these problems when they arise.

Entering into a lease is extremely important due to the fact that it is a legal and binding contract and should not be entered into lightly. The good news is that an adequate investment upfront will reduce time, aggravation and liability for everyone during the lease term.

What could be worse than an apartment sitting vacant?  Just imagine an occupied apartment with an unqualified, non-paying, uncooperative resident.

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