4 min read

Mistakes to Avoid When Managing Apartments in 2024

Real estate is both a valuable asset and a business endeavor. Careful apartment management plays a large role in turning a profit on your investment. At Powell Property Management, we've seen it all, including what not to do when managing apartments.  So, what are the biggest challenges in owning and managing your properties?  


As with any business, poor management of your apartment complex can cost time, energy, and money. Luckily, many common issues with managing apartments are avoidable. If you haven't trusted your investments to a reputable residential property management team yet, you can still control the quality of care dedicated to your properties and avoid unnecessary risks and costs.


Rental Properties and Avoiding Common Mistakes

If you currently own an apartment complex or plan to enter the real estate game in 2024, here are a few critical mistakes to avoid when managing an apartment complex:


1. Skipping Regular Inspections

Inspections commonly fall within the duties of an apartment property manager, and they’re critical. You shouldn’t forgo regular inspections even if you’re renting to responsible, long-term tenants. After all, apartment complex management is also about tenant retention, which is easier when you show you care about their safety and security. 

If you're curious about how to manage a large apartment complex, the answer is to be systematic. Inspections allow you to detect minor issues early on before they result in extensive damage or high capital expenditures. Monitoring your property systematically will help you get ahead of the problem before it becomes a huge financial burden or even cause injuries. Also, apply a system to review work orders by category. This allows you to see if there are any trends that point to a more significant problem.


2. Deferring Maintenance

You or your apartment building manager should also stay on top of maintenance. Deferring maintenance typically costs you more in the long run,  negatively affecting property value and affecting tenant attainment and retention. To help cover maintenance costs, retain a cash reserve fund that you contribute to consistently. 


3. DIY Repairs

Some landlords and apartment property managers try to save money on labor by personally handling maintenance and construction on their properties. However, when you own an apartment complex, managing DIY repairs on top of all of the other tasks you need to keep track of can result in doing things quickly rather than carefully or correctly.

It's better to hire the pros to take care of these tasks. However, it's best to hire an apartment management company that can schedule, oversee, and manage these repairs for you. In the long run, you'll end up with higher quality work, less time spent doing the repairs yourself, and less stress knowing these tasks are completed efficiently. 


4. Allowing Tenants to Do Repairs

Certain maintenance jobs are simple: Re-grouting a bathtub, changing a smoke alarm, or touching up paint. However, some landlords allow their tenants to make more extensive repairs in exchange for decreased rent, which is very risky. You could be responsible if your tenant is involved in an accident and suffers an injury while repairing your property. Not to mention, responsible apartment complex management includes making sure repairs are done correctly and consistently. When you work with a property management company, these repairs can be arranged quickly and using only vetted workers, making the investment in a management company well worth it. 


5. Mishandling Complaints

When you own an apartment complex, it's all but certain you will receive complaints and concerns. The first step is having clearly stated responsibilities in your lease agreement. The apartment building manager should communicate the tenant’s responsibility for maintaining a clean rental unit, paying for damages caused by abuse or neglect, and alerting the management of any defective or dangerous situations on the property, such as mold, fire hazards, faulty wiring, or water leaks right away.

The lease agreement should state your official policy and procedure for addressing repair requests and complaints. When crafting these policies, it’s essential to review state and federal housing laws. Meanwhile, when tenants report issues to you or your apartment manager, it's imperative to respond quickly and deal with major concerns, such as heating/cooling problems or plumbing leaks, within 24 hours.

This is where 24/7 apartment management service comes into play. They can address complaints and concerns, relieving you of the time and mental labor that's required to take care of the matter. 


6. Being Inconsistent with Tenants

How do you manage a lot of rental properties? By being consistent. If you need to fine a tenant, evict them, or impose another penalty, you must consistently follow the policies and procedures you originally communicated to each tenant. It’s also important that your actions align with local, state, and federal landlord-tenant and anti-discrimination laws and regulations.

These can change over time, so stay up-to-date on what applies to you and your properties and how to align your management practices with current laws. If you fail to comply, you could face fines or lawsuits. Remember: apartment building management is more than leasing and upkeep. It's also about protecting your investment through proper agreements and ensuring consistent and legal outcomes. 


7. Missing Marketing Opportunities

Vacancies are bad for business, but so are high turnover rates and irresponsible tenants. As you set investment goals for 2024, focus on filling your rental properties quickly, efficiently, and with high-quality tenants who will follow the rules and care for their units. 

You have numerous options for advertising and marketing openings across a variety of platforms. Find the right tools and marketing solutions to reach your optimal demographic and provide an easy, convenient way for them to submit an online application for a rental unit. 


Finding an Apartment Building Manager

The management of apartment buildings, single-family homes, and other residential properties must be conducted efficiently and professionally to optimize your real estate investment. If you want assistance with your properties in Burien or the greater South Puget Sound area, Powell Property Management is the solution. We have over 100 years of experience working with landlords and providing them with valuable services to manage, market, and maintain their investment properties. Contact Powell Property Management to find out more about our full suite of services. 


What to Ask a Property Management Company



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