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I was just hired as a property manager of a 100 unit apartment. The previous owner slacked on his duties….letting people pay whenever they want, letting previously evicted tenants rent apartments again, shutting off the water of tenants who haven’t paid rent, not fixing maintenance problems, and falling for sob stories from renters who don’t pay rent that he considers his favorites. This is a low income housing complex. Does anyone have any advice on how to get this complex back in shape?

5 Thoughts on Advice on running a 100 unit apartment complex?
  1. Reply
    November 16, 2012 at 10:35 pm

    Since this is HUD property you should contact them, there are lots of violations listed here. You need to get the list of what they are expecting of you in order for the complex to qualify for assistance. I am surprised the complex was not shut down.

  2. Reply
    November 16, 2012 at 10:44 pm

    I would send out fliers and also put it up on a bulletin board that there is a new sheriff in town and that complex rules must be followed and that non cooperation will result in tenant evictions or legal implications will result.This is your chance to wipe the slate clean and start a new fair rental complex.I would also look into your wording make sure a lawyer or someone with tenant savvy proofreads your bullitin to make sure it is politically correct and direct and protects you.

  3. Reply
    Spock (rhp)
    November 16, 2012 at 11:10 pm

    a friend of mine out near Riverside, CA did this a while back. In essence, he had to get rid of the non-paying tenants. think he had about 280 units and they were 40% vacant when he started, with something like 20% late paying. Took him three years overall to clean up.

    Doing that required very hard nosed behavior about collecting the rent —

    as i recall, he told me that he did the following:

    a. any tenant whose rent wasn’t in the office by the end of the grace period received a notice posted on their door that same morning saying that they were late and reminding tenants that eviction would begin on the scheduled date [i think his lease said due on the 1st, late on the 4th or later, and eviction starts on the 11st — all at 9am local time]. {he was merciless — the notices were printed on pink paper and everyone in the complex knew what one of those ment.}

    b. on the 11th, if rent was still overdue, he issued the required by CA code notice — both by mailing it and by physically posting a copy on the door. [does CA require a “three days to pay or quit” notice — not sure I ever really knew].

    c. eviction did actually begin on the first business day after the notice period expired. He had a local attorney who would get the filing into court the same day.

    Of course, this sort of thing doesn’t work well if you don’t aggressively screen prospects. Always check credit and always check prior landlords. Join the landlords’ association, esp. if they also offer a check to members for past problem tenants.

    And you have to get tough with the “keep it clean and repaired rules”. My friend had apparently inoperative cars posted — “move it or lose it”. all tenants’ cars had to be registered. he could and did have non-resident cars towed unless they had resident contact info posted inside the front window. non-responding cars were towed.

    other nuisances were cleaned up, etc.

    btw, check the lease. you may need to have it rewritten by your evictions attorney. what you want is a tight lease that makes clear you’ll take no guff from tenants.

    something else [not sure this is legal in CA — you’ll have to check]. I’ve used leases that plainly told tenants up front that a $ 200 [or whatever] fee is collected in advance for re-painting after the tenant moves out. Doesn’t matter if they’re there for a month or a year or ten years — I always repainted after each tenant moved out.

    and you’ll have to get all of your tenants onto the new lease.

    My friend took each unit as it became vacant and did a serious repair and replace job in it. Don’t know if your owners are up for that — and the almost new appliances, new paint, fairly new carpet, etc really got across to prospects that this wasn’t the run down joint it used to be — and reinforced that he wasn’t going to take non-payment from tenants.

  4. Reply
    ibu guru
    November 16, 2012 at 11:20 pm

    I’m surprised you were hired without having extensive management experience, knowledge of your state’s landlord-tenant law, plus knowledge of HUD regulations (since this appears to be HUD Sec 8 housing – otherwise, whatever legal organization regulates this complex). First things first – know the laws and regulations applicable to your state, locality, and legal authority under which this complex operates. Set up your systems for rental applications, credit/reference checks, payment processing & record keeping, etc.

    Next, inspection. What needs to be done to bring everything up to code and to regulations? Get the place cleaned up. Also, do some “inspecting”/investigating to find out who is doing what in violation of law and/or regulations. Additional tenants spending the night? Vandalism? What other problems are going on? Get out there with your camera from a hidden/protected vantage point and catch problems in the act – or get a private investigator to do a little undercover work.

    Third, notice to all tenants. You have brought the property back up to code, and all rental laws and obligations are being enforced. Rent is to be paid according to law & lease, and those in arrears have X# days to catch up or enforcement/evictions begin. Any additional “tenants,” and/or persons not legally present in the US or the complex, etc, have 24 hrs to depart the property. Any vandalism, etc, will be charged to the person – or to the parent(s) in the case of a minor. Enclose a copy of the house rules along with the notice as a reminder.

    Got pics of people caught in the act? Decide which need eviction and which need to pay for damages done, and pursue. Photos are evidence in court – along with your extensive notes on who’s doing what.

  5. Reply
    November 16, 2012 at 11:34 pm

    READ and understand the leases. Read and understand the agreement with HUD. Check out your state LL/tenant law.
    Consistency and Fairness.
    Treat everyone the same way.
    Promptly give tenants Notice to Pay or Quit when rent isn’t received. Be consistent on this, train them to pay on time or to get the consequences (late fees, eviction). Establish policy (from lease?) and adhere to it (i.e. rent due on 1rst, late after 4th, Notice to Pay or Quit served on 6th, Eviction filed10th)
    Do inspections of all units–give advance notice to tenants. Make lists of problems, notify tenants to clean up violations, hazards.
    CAREFULLY screen all new tenants. Don’t renew leases for problem tenants, who don’t cooperate with you, after getting used to the new regime.
    Keep hallways, entranceways, elevators clean and well lighted, fresh paint helps.
    Find out if there are Rules for Occupants/Tenants, and post them and urge compliance with them. Create list if not, regarding visitors, hallways, litter, grounds, etc.)

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