“But didn’t I pay two weeks rent in advance?”
Zero tolerance for rent arrears
“I transferred that money this morning”
It makes you want to pull your hair out right?
When I first started in Property Management, I embraced our “zero tolerance for rent arrears” whole heartedly. In fact, I became known in my office as the “baby-faced assassin” because of my approach toward late rent payers.
Once, after performing a sheriff-assisted eviction on a tenant, then garnisheeing her entire bank account, this disgruntled tenant came into the office to inform me of her disappointment about these events.
To be honest, “disappointment” is an understatement. She leaned across the counter and punched me in the face!
After the punch, she stood up from the desk and walked out the door, leaving me holding my left eye… wondering if I was going to get a black eye from this (for the record, yes, I did get my first and only black eye).
Hindsight is great foresight, right? And I now realise how using my “baby-faced assassin” approach to this situation might have escalated things and MAYBE if I’d used a different approach, I wouldn’t have been punched in the face? Although, I admit, having a black eye was a great conversation starter!
Years later (after LOTS of life experience), I started working in another office that had a really great rent arrears competition happening at all time. After each weekly meeting, the person who had the lowest rent arrears was awarded a little jade owl sculpture to display proudly on your desk.
It looked something like this:
And it was a prized achievement. One that I set my sights on as soon as I started working at this office.
So, it became my goal to get my portfolio of properties to a stage where I could have that Jade Owl sitting on my desk all the time! And I got there (almost). The Jade Owl sat on my desk for about 3 weeks out of 4.
Did I achieve this with a “zero tolerance for rent arrears”?
Or did I achieve it using my “baby-faced assassin” approach?
Nope and nope!
In this role, I took the “human-to-human” approach
I took the time to get to know my tenants, to have a cup of tea in their home, to talk honestly and openly with them on the phone and to ask them to trust me enough to tell me the truth. What I found was, when I let my own guard down, when I became vulnerable myself, they started to tell me the truth about their situation.
Armed with the truth about why a tenant isn’t paying their rent on time, it’s remarkable how quickly you can help them get back on track with their rent or lead them toward finding a more affordable home to live in.
This approach, using vulnerability and honesty, is an approach that will, not only blitz your rent arrears, but help you negotiate ANY challenging situations with tenants (and landlords, for that matter!)
And if you want ALL of the letters, forms and checklists for my ENTIRE system (that’s over 120 documents!!) get it now here!
If you haven’t read my last blog, Do you find networking events overwhelming and terrifying? check that out now!
Remember to access ALL of the letters, forms and checklists for my ENTIRE system (that’s over 120 documents!!) Access it now here!