What he learned as a landlord and property manager in 2018 is this week’s question for veteran landlord, property manager and real estate investor Hank Rossi.

Dear Landlord Hank:

What did you learn as a landlord and property manager in 2018? Any changes you plan for 2019?

Dear Landlord John:

I didn’t really learn anything new this year.

Sometimes I think I’ve seen it all, and then I have a surprise to deal with.

A first time for bed bugs

For example, I’d never had to deal with bed bugs for 19 years of land lording and then three cases in one year.

In answer to your question, I would say that my motto has been: Trust, where earned, and verify.

Case in point: I take my job as a property manager very seriously and thought most other property managers did the same (I’m sure most do).

Owners unhappy with property managers

I’ve had property owners contact me before who were dissatisfied with their current property managers for one reason or another. I’ve spoken to two owners in the last week that were really unhappy with their current property manager.

In one case, the owner was complaining that her property was taking forever to rent (it’s a nice, well-kept property in a good location at a fair rent). Then I found out she was paying low property management fees and in return getting poor service and representation of her property.

Her management company was not marketing her property on MLS or any other website, only its own website.

Also, the managers could not be reached after 5 pm or on weekends. I wish emergencies kept bankers hours too! (That way I wouldn’t have to be available 24/7.)

The second owner had a more serious complaint.

Her property management company was padding every maintenance bill to her to make their normal property management fees appear to be low.

For example, one of her properties needed a new septic system and her property management company sent her an estimate of $16,000 for the job.

She thought that was a little high and found a company that would do the work for $6,000. That, to me, is outrageous.

The right way to be a property manager

As a property manager, I handle all the properties I take care of as if they were owned by me.

To take care of maintenance, I hire quality people who are reasonable, reliable and trustworthy.

I have a copy of these companies’ business licenses and insurance and I check their work.

Then I send the owner a copy of the invoice provided by the company doing the work. I also believe in the Golden Rule- do unto others as you  would have them do unto to you!


Hank Rossi


What Did You Learn As A Property Manager And Landlord In 2018?

Landlord Hank at work on one of his properties

Other recent Dear Landlord Hank posts you may have missed:

If A Good Tenant Loses A Job How Long Before You Evict Them?

How Do You Raise Rent For A Long-Time Tenant?

 How Do You Know When To Change Property Managers?

 Where Do You Draw The Line On Normal Wear And Tear?

Dear Landlord Hank: Do You Conduct Rental Inspections? How Often?

Dear Landlord Hank: How Do I Motivate My Tenants To Conserve Water?

Is An Old Drug Conviction A Big Deal?

Dear Landlord Hank: Should I Give A Tenant More Time To Pay?

Dear Landlord Hank: Tenant’s Sewer Line Clogged With Tree Roots

Do You Call A Prospective Tenant’s Employer For Verification?

Dear Landlord Hank: Service Dog Ruined Backyard In My Rental Now What?