PM’s Guide to Providing a Peace of Mind for Property Owners
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As a property manager, you likely have at least one rental property of your own. So you know that it takes a lot of trust to hand the keys to your home to someone else. When a property owner asks you to manage their home for them, they do so with a belief that you will care for it as if it was your own.
How can you build that trust with your clients as a property manager? Quite simply, you need to convince them that you know what you’re doing, so anticipate their concerns and provide concrete solutions – preferably ones that are already working in other places. Make sure you know what the industry standards are when it comes to security, and don’t fall behind competitors. Perhaps most importantly, explain to them that you have a lot at stake too, and that by protecting their property, you’re protecting your business.
Most common concerns
Parties, property damage, theft and neighbor complaints are usually the main concerns for rental property owners. Since they are also amongst property managers’ top concerns, you likely already have some measures in place to mitigate them. Explain to the owner what they are (mentioning any appropriate success stories), and explore if there is anything else you can do to increase security.
Make sure to address each issue separately, and look at their root causes. Property damage will mostly be caused by guest misuse – but there are various scenarios to consider. Compare a broken TV after an illegal rager to pipes bursting after the guest turns the heating off in winter. Both are extremely concerning, but need to be dealt with in different ways.
Neighbor complaints, which can lead to police visits, community council complaints and even STR bans, can vary from guests parking in the wrong spot, to sleepless nights caused by incessant loud noise coming from the rental property. Theft is most likely to occur when the property is vacant and no-one is there to keep an eye on it – unless guests decide to take something with them when they check out.
Luckily, most of those problems can be prevented by a combination of good relationships with neighbors, tight house rules, and smart home monitoring devices.
The only way to avoid neighbor complaints is, quite simply, being a good neighbor. This is something you will need to cooperate on with the owner. The first step is to inform the neighbors that the property will be rented out on a short-term basis, and to reassure them it won’t cause any inconveniences. This announcement will have to come from the owners, but you can take it from there.
The next step is setting up house rules and a monitoring system to enforce them. This way, you will be able to act on any issues before the complaints start coming in – whether related to loud noise or a water leak.
Every STR property listing needs to be accompanied by a set of rules that regulate the stay, so that guests know what to expect when booking. You’ll see many different variations online, which largely depend on local culture, neighborhood and type of property. When done right, they discourage guests that want to host parties or cause trouble, and provide you with a set of measures that can be taken when guests don’t obey the rules.
As a property manager, it might be easiest for you to set up a standard set of rules to be shared across your portfolio, and customize them to individual properties if needed. That will help you make sure you always cover the most important bits – like quiet hours, the maximum number of people in the apartment, banning events (or parties), the need for ID verification, and the consequences associated with breaking the rules.
You can also consider introducing additional guest requirements like a minimum age (younger people are more likely to rent with parties in mind), disabling local and/or 24h stays, and not hosting weekend stays around holiday. However, you have to remember that these kinds of limitations can lead to a lower booking ratio and therefore a loss in revenue. You can also try screening the guests in other ways – like messaging them before accepting the booking – but the more properties you’re managing, the more impractical these sort of solutions get.
A more time- and cost-effective solution – and one that is easily scalable – is installing a monitoring system which allows you to have an insight into what’s happening at all your properties at once. Best market solutions, like the Minut Smart Home Sensor*, will give you a snapshot of the most important stats, including temperature, humidity, motion, and, most notably, sound levels, without infringing on your guests’ privacy. In addition to real-time in-app updates, you also get access to historical data, which comes in handy when you need to verify a noise complaint or file an Airbnb security deposit claim.
Importantly, with Minut, you can set your own thresholds, and receive notifications whenever the noise is too loud for an extended period of time (you can choose anywhere between 5 and 15 minutes). This way, you won’t get alerted every time a door slams, but you’ll know when there’s a party going on – and be able to stop it before any significant damage occurs.
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Planning for violations
Once you have a monitoring system set up, you also need a plan for when something appears out of place. Are you going to try contacting the guest first, or will you head directly to the property to see what’s going on first-hand? Will you do it yourself, ask a team member to help, or work with a security firm?
You might also consider automating some of the process, so that neither you nor your employees need to be looking out for notifications day and night. Minut can help you do that by sending the guests an SMS and/or the device flashing and sounding whenever they need to quiet down. This feature, called GuestConnect, is part of their subscription service Minut Pro, which also includes integrations with some PMS systems – such as Guesty – enabling guest contact information to be updated automatically for each property.
If you’re looking to further mitigate risk, and reassure the owner, research STR insurance options, and discuss them with property owners. While it’s better to prevent damage from happening, some property owners might feel safer having insurance as a back-up should anything happen. In contrast to traditional homeowners and landlord insurance policies, STR insurance covers risks associated with holiday homes in particular. And if you’re concerned about the cost, keep in mind that some of the companies (see Proper Insurance for example) offer discounts if you have a noise monitoring system in place.
Using security as your leverage
For every property manager, having some security measures in place is a must. If done right however, the way you approach party and damage prevention can be a real differentiator between you and your competitors. That’s why you should approach security as an area of opportunity. Is there new technology you haven’t tried yet? Are there things you could be doing better?
Most property owners already know that protecting a property – no matter if it’s vacant or rented out – is always difficult and resource-heavy. That’s why they will happily task you with taking this burden off of them, but only if they believe that you’re taking it seriously – ideally, you should also be able to prove that you’re taking it more seriously than your competitors.
Protect your home, your neighbors’ peace and quiet and your guests’ privacy with Minut*. Get real-time analytics and notifications on noise, motion, temperature and humidity in your property, from anywhere in the world. Prevent parties, look after your home and build trust with neighbors. All without compromising on privacy.
*Use the code BNBM to save 20%.