A guest post by Jason Hetherington, Property Pursuit, Brisbane, Austrailia
Have you ever heard the saying, “It’s not what you know, it’s who you know”? When a close friend or family member holds a certain position of power, those who know this person tend to feel that they now have an “inside connection.” In the case of a property manager, their friends and/or family will often come to them the next time they are looking for a place to live. Although this may seem like a great idea at first, it may be worthwhile to think about some of the reasons why it might not be such a good idea to rent to friends and family.
Rental Property Management Guidelines
Property managers are required to follow certain guidelines when renting to a new tenant. These guidelines are made to ensure that the prospective tenants are able to meet the criteria the rental property management has put into place in order to determine if they qualify (can afford) to live there.
When it comes to friends and family, these guidelines are often relaxed because the manager knows them and therefore feels that they are going to be a good tenant. This means that even though they may not actually qualify to move in, they are able to because of who they know. Friends and family also may expect you as a property manager to give them special treatment, which you cannot do as a professional property manager, as this would be unfair to the other tenants and/or property owners.
Are You Prepared?
Ask yourself what you would do if your friend, brother, or cousin is breaking one of the rules and doesn’t really care because they feel that they are special. There are many scenarios in which renting to friends and family can turn into a bad situation - making it a good idea to carefully think this through.
The best advice for dealing with friends and family who want to apply for a vacancy is to tell them up front that you will have to treat them like any other tenant.
Renting to friends and family can be a blessing, or a curse. If you’ve already made the decision to rent to friends and family, then the best way to ensure that there won’t be any problems is to treat them like any other tenant.