Slow or No Reaction Time… Costs Your Business!

For those of you who’ve met me or taken one of my classes, you know that I talk the talk and I walk the walk. I say things like they are--professionally and with care, of course. I’m not talking about some of the language used during the leasing process—a little fluff is just fine then. But in normal dealings onsite and at the corporate office, I don’t see the point in wasting time or sugar coating things, because TIME is MONEY!

There have been numerous occasions that I am aware of, when a property manager has not filed an eviction on a resident for failure to pay rent by its due date—despite this being common sense in our business, and clearly spelled out in our policy and procedures manual.

Typically in these instances, the manager has a wide range of reasons for not filing an eviction, but the last excuse I heard nearly caused me to fall out of my chair (seriously). She said, “Well … I needed the occupancy numbers.”

What good is a high occupancy percentage if you’re not collecting any rent? She didn’t know the answer. Turns out, in this case the resident in question was a habitual late-rent payer and eventually ended up skipping out (and owing an absurd amount of money to the community). And even worse, this resident had been renewed twice without a rent increase.

There are two things about this story that baffle me the most. First, when is it ever ok to break company policy and not file on someone who is past due on rent? Second, why the heck would you renew someone who’s shown they are a resident who can’t be counted on? This person ended up costing the company nearly $10,000 in legal fees, lost rental income and apartment home damage.

When it comes to the role of employees in this example, the employee was clearly not doing her job because her actions (and inaction) financially impacted the company and impacted employee morale. When a cord needs to be cut, why are we so slow to cut it?

Nearly all states and companies have at At-Will employment policy, which means you can be fired for no reason at all. But, even when there is documented cause and plenty of reason, far too often we’re still too slow to sever the relationship. This infuriates me. When the actions of one affect the company, something needs to be done. There are only so many chances you can afford an individual before finally holding them accountable and taking action.

Slowly reacting to a resident or employee problem of any kind probably costs businesses more than they probably realize. When it comes to the “hard stuff” like choosing to end the residency or business relationship, we need to take action. Not reacting at all or being too slow to react might just cost you more than that one resident or that one colleague… it might end up costing you several. Can your business afford that?