Property Management and the Rule of Law

by John Wilhoit Jr. on

There are people in every community that believe  the rule of law applies to everyone except them.  Many of us are de-sensitized to violence and intimidation based on how often we are exposed to these behaviors.

Property managers work diligently on retaining paying customers.  However, there are some customers that must be removed from the property irrespective of their payment history- those that do not respect the rule of law.

I know, who wants to remove a tenant with a good payment record?  For the greater good this is sometimes necessary. Once revealed, criminal activity of any kind cannot be allowed to continue. Disclaimer: for the finer points in your municipality seek local counsel.

Too many people live in fear, real fear, afraid to ask for help.  And not just the elderly.  Although we cannot control the world around us we can and should, to the best of our abilities, help those than cannot help themselves.

Must do phone calls are to places like child protective services, elderly care and for threats to the public from those with mental health issues.

The big gray area is expressed in  terms like intimidation, scary or uncomfortable.  Hardly quantifiable, but real all the same to those that bring such concerns to your attention.

People do change over time.  A long-time tenant  may have recently had involvement in criminal or drug related activity that changes their demeanor and the way they interact with neighbors.  There is no living in the past if there is danger to other people or property based on these changes in behavior.

For tenants that force you down this path: document, document.  What and  how to document accusations of any kind is a question for your attorney.  Litigation based on false cause is costly and time consuming.

The threat of lawsuits make many people tolerate actions that might be considered threatening.  This is where inaction is an even more costly alternative; the blind eye mentality whereas known violent individuals are allowed to remain after their history is revealed.

As one level of protection, consider performing a national background check on potential tenants.  Yes, this is more expensive than state only background checks, but people (and their problems) do cross state lines.

Suggest telling people that are confronted in some way, if at all possible, to first remove themselves from the area and immediately call authorities.  Like with smoke, a potential gas leak or fire- do not hesitate to call 911.   This is everyone’s right in our society and the first line of  defense against personal attacks.

It is difficult to have a blanket policy on “intimidation” or related actions.  Municipalities have various moving parts on how to address this.  Just know that ignoring this or similar acts is the worst possible solution. Be proactive, with counsel, in protecting the people and assets within your control.

About This Blog
Multifamily Insight is dedicated to assisting current and future multifamily property owners, operators and investors in executing specific tasks that allow multifamily assets to operate at their highest level of efficiency. We discuss real world issues in multifamily property management and acquisitions. This blog is intended to be informational only and does not provide legal, financial or accounting advice. Seek professional counsel.  For more information, visit: http://www.MultifamilyInsight.com

 

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