What do I do when I have a difficult property?

You have been working your tail off, and you finally got a lease! But, when you try to go and get the lease verification, all of the sudden the property is completely nonresponsive, or they’ve changed what they told you when you sent your client over there.

It sucks, but it does happen to the best of us. So, what do you do now?

Well, you’ve already sent at least verification over there about 4 or 5 times, and they either haven’t sent it back, they stopped answering the phone, or they said oh we’re not going to sign this.

Side Note: Some properties actually will not sign lease verifications and still pay the invoice. Westwood has a policy to never sign a lease verification, but they are one of the best at paying locators.

Not all properties are like Westwood Mgmt. though, and if they don’t do lease verifications, then make sure you get something in writing from them even if it’s just an email. If not, your collections rate will fall drastically because most of the time, that is one of the tactics that properties will use to get out of paying the locator.

I know it seems really underhanded, and it’s definitely not fair at all. Unfortunately, Texas is one of the few states that the licensing board doesn’t get involved in commission disputes, so the only thing holds properties accountable is a lawsuit, and they know most small locators don’t have the time or the resources to pursue a lawsuit over a commission.

What Can A Locator Do?

A few things that you can do to give you the best chances at getting paid.

  1. No Lease Verification? Get something in writing. Most states call it procuring cause. This is the proof that you helped your client find and lease the apartment and without you they wouldn’t have. This includes guest cards or registrations from you to the property, email and text correspondence between you and the client and you and the property, or even a picture of the application with you listed as the referral. All good evidence!
  2. If you can get something from the property, that is even better. An email from the property that states you were listed, or to go ahead and send over the invoice. These are good but not as good as a signed lease verification.
  3. So, if you are not able to get 1 or 2 above you may be able to still invoice it through their online invoicing portal if they have one and get it paid out anyways without having to speak with the property. You’ll need invoicing and collections knowledge here and maybe even a collections team.

Some apartment locating companies have an invoicing and collections department, this is a huge help to you because then you’re not trying to chase around an invoice for three to six months or even longer sometimes to get paid on it. Normally, there is a small fee associated with these collection companies which can definitely save you the headache especially if you’re super busy.

At our brokerage, we offer not only invoicing and collections we also offer lease verification services to save our locators a ton of time and stress so they can concentrate on getting leases which is what they do best!

If you are one of the poor unfortunate souls that is responsible for collecting your own information, here are a few tips that can be useful when trying to get a hold of a property, management company, or the accounting department in the case they are past due and difficult to get a hold of.

  1. Start searching, don’t limit yourself to just what’s in your ads or your data website, don’t limit yourself to things that have worked before. The property could have changed management since then, I would always Google their information, because every company wants to have the most accurate information on Google since that’s one of the largest search engines so, that’s where they get most of their clientele.
  2. If that does not work, try googling the management company for corporate information once you call them, if they no longer manage that property, they will be the fastest person to tell you sometimes, they’ll also tell you who now manages the property.
  3. Do not, only stick with one form of communication. There are some properties that will only communicate via email, there are also other properties that will only communicate, especially if it comes to the sensitive information of a lease, via telephone.
  4. Be patient and understand that you could very well need to be investing quite a bit of time per collection account in order to get your invoice paid. Which may very well be true, but don’t give up! This is what a lot of difficult properties are hoping that you do so they don’t have to pay this invoice.
  5. Being kindly-relentless is one of the best strategies to get paid on an invoice for difficult property. Always keep in mind, to be polite and courteous and treat these people like actual people. I can’t tell you how many times I have been so frustrated with the property come to find out it has been sold again for the fourth time that year, so it’s unfair to take out that frustration of trying to collect this invoice on a new property management company and chance ruining your relationship with them.

I have also had issues with the actual property having bad invoicing process information.

So, I would be trying to collect an invoice from the actual property and come to find out, I was supposed to upload or submit it to a specific email or portal it in order to collect payment.

Very rarely are these properties just trying to be jerks, it’s not their money, they are just communicating what their process is, and to get you to follow it. Following instructions will decrease your collection time and make your life easier once you know what you are supposed to be doing.

These tips were hard earned and have proven out to be helpful with our endeavor of collecting from properties. We are not blacklisted from any management company and we have not blacklisted any management company and I believe that to be a testament to how we treat people.

I hope you guys will take them and do the same.

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