Jose Ernesto Batres Gonzalez

Jose Ernesto Batres Gonzalez is the CEO of a property management firm, and in the following article, he discusses conflict resolution and problem-solving techniques for landlords and property managers.

Property ownership is a lucrative gig, but that doesn’t mean it isn’t challenging.

Even the best landlords or property managers can face issues — some minor, some very serious, with plenty of headache-inducing problems in between. Among the most common issues reported are evictions or notices to vacate, repairs, disputes over security deposits, lease breaking, rent increases, and privacy/safety concerns.

Jose Ernesto Batres Gonzalez says that it’s all in a day’s work for an owner renting out their property, but working with the more “difficult” tenants doesn’t necessarily have to be stressful. Here are a few ways to resolve common tenant issues quickly and effectively — including getting some professional management help.

It Starts Before a Tenant Even Moves In

Jose explains that property damage and lease disputes are among the most common tenant issues faced by landlords. Just a few preventative measures can make a big difference.

It is crucial for a lease to be very clear and well-written. It should detail any rules and expectations for the tenant, especially when it comes to maintenance, lease terms, and the consequences of not following the terms.

Jose Ernesto Batres Gonzalez notes that it’s also essential to have a thorough move-in inspection covering the property’s condition — don’t forget to take photos — and then a comprehensive move-out inspection to accurately get a handle on any potential damages lawfully.

In addition, most property management companies recommend semi-routine inspections of both residential areas and common areas of properties to get a handle on needed maintenance or repairs. The frequency of these should be at least twice per year.

Have a Screening System

An air-tight lease is important, but before it’s signed, commit to pre-screening any tenant applicants. A comprehensive screening process provides a window into a tenant’s financial stability and history of employment, income, and credit scores — great indicators of a tenant’s ability to pay rent and do so on time. An effective screening also reveals any criminal history.

Remember that it’s Part of the Job

Jose Ernesto Batres Gonzalez explains that a lot goes into owning a rental property, and it’s never completely hands-off, even when it’s technically considered passive income when a property manager is hired.

A rental property is an investment, and it’s an investment that can only remain viable by maintaining a good relationship with tenants, staying engaged with them, and being proactive when any concerns are raised.

Jose Ernesto Batres Gonzalez explains that tenant concerns or complaints should always be listened to, even if it’s tempting to let two tenants in a dispute resolve it themselves. Listening is essential to being proactive with a problem before it becomes more serious.

Jose Ernesto Batres GonzalezPractice Good Communication

Handling any tenant issues requires effective communication. In addition to being an active listener, rental property owners should prioritize productive word choice, making swift but well-thought-out responses or resolutions, and maintaining an overall positive and respectful environment.

All property owners or managers should make themselves easily accessible, whether it’s preferring to communicate by email or text or maintaining well-advertised office hours on a property.

Jose Ernesto Batres Gonzalez says that good communication and active listening go hand-in-hand with staying calm and, therefore, professional. If a tenant has an explanation, be sure to listen, pause, and consider their point of view and situation. Showing anger and frustration will never help when it comes to working with difficult tenants.

Yes, emotions on both sides may be high and it’s very easy to get defensive, but the goal should always be to de-escalate the situation and propose reasonable solutions. Yelling and impatience will only make it worse.

Consider a Professional Mediator

Jose Ernesto Batres Gonzalez says that while some difficult tenant issues are solvable on one’s own, if resolving a dispute seems to truly be out of reach, it may be time to look into consulting a professional mediator for assistance. Most states have numerous mediators available that are specially trained to oversee property dispute situations or tense issues tenants have with each other.

Hire a Property Manager

Especially when it’s tough for a property owner to be constantly plugged into all situations happening with tenants, hiring a property manager may be the best bet.

Not only can property managers seamlessly handle common day-to-day maintenance requests and lease questions, but they can often resolve difficult tenant issues without the owner being directly involved.

Jose Ernesto Batres Gonzalez says that other benefits of hiring a property management company include having to cope with fewer legal issues, filling vacancies quickly, and potentially retaining long-term tenants more reliably.