Leasing agents working with the public and may have felt safe while performing their jobs, but the trend has shifted in recent years, with a number of incidents happening while showing rental properties.
Some Management Companies have responded to violence by implementing procedures to help retain leasing staff. If your office has developed agent safety policies, follow them. If no, here are several ways you can minimize risks.
Receive Client Information
Ø Ask your client to fill out a guest card. A guest card is not only good for follow ups, but it is also good for safety. Guest cards provide your office with information prior to showing an apartment. Also make sure you attached their ID, or a copy of their ID to the guest card. It isn’t out of line to ask to make a copy of customer driver’s license.
Ø Do not meet unknown customers at a property. If you are meeting them at an office site property, make sure you receive all their information over the phone. Always use your guest card when scheduling an appointment. If needed require they come to the office to fill out the guest card.
Ø Give someone in your office an itinerary of properties you plan to show and check in as often as possible by cell phone — or ask someone at the office to call you occasionally. Work with others in your office to come up with a code phrase that alerts them when you are uncomfortable. If you call and say those words, they’ll know that someone should either head out to accompany you or call the police.
More Safety Tips
Ø Carry a cell phone in your pocket and program it to dial 911 at the touch of a button. Or a walkie talkie if you are on site.
Ø Never work at a open house by yourself.
Ø Try not to show vacant properties by yourself. If you have to, always keep the door open… Purchase a small door stopper to keep the door open.
Ø Carry pepper spray or mace in your pocket, but be sure to get the type that can be aimed at a specific target (some are general and might affect you as much as they do your potential attacker).
Ø Let your customers enter a room while you stay by the door.
Ø Pay attention to exits.
Trust your instincts. Ask someone else to accompany you to show or list property if you feel uncomfortable. Don’t assume that women are safer customers, because they are as capable of armed robbery as a man and sometimes work with a partner who waits at the house or apartment for the two of you to arrive.
Train your staff to always be safe when showing vacant units….
Integrity Asset Management/Etiquette Leasing & Managing provides Onsite services to owners, Property Managers and Other professionals within the Property Management Industry. www.etiquetteleasingandmanagement.blogspot.com.
Mr. Wilhoit is the author of two books: How To Read A Rent Roll: A Guide to Understanding Rental Income and Multifamily Insight Vol 1 – How to Acquire Wealth Through Buying the Right Multifamily Assets in the Right Markets. Multifamily Insight Vol 2 is set for release in 2015.
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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. http://www.MultifamilyInsight.net.