Metro Detroit Landlords Should Turn Neighbors into Spies
You can’t always be inspecting your Metro Detroit area rental properties, but you don’t have to – if you get neighbors to help you!
We’ve always made it a practice of introducing ourselves to the neighbors of the Metro Detroit area homes we manage. We give them our card and ask them to contact us if the tenants are doing anything they shouldn’t be. We never know who keeps our card and who throws it away, but we learned the value of having neighbors looking out for you a couple of years ago.
Over the Thanksgiving Holiday we got a call from a neighbor of a nice property we manage in Royal Oak. They told us that their was water coming out of the side door and running down the driveway. There were also large icicles hanging from the side of the house. Of course, we immediately rushed over while trying to contact the tenant. We were met by the city water department as the neighbor has also called them. They shut the water off at the street as there was ice all over the driveway and various exterior area of the house. Turns out the tenant was out of town for the Holiday weekend and while they were away, a solder joint for one of the radiant heat waterlines had “popped” apart.
The water damage was extensive, but we were told by the insurance agent that it could have been much worse – if enough water had accumulated inside the house and frozen, it might have ruined the foundation requiring a complete demolition!
Another time we got a call from a neighbor of a Hazel Park home alerting us that three guys were removing the appliances from a rental property we managed there. We asked the neighbor to write down the license number of the van they were loading the appliances into. Good thing we asked them to do so, as the thieves were gone by the time we got there. We called the police and they were able to locate the van within a couple of hours. The thieves had already sold the appliances to a resale shop, but the police were able to get them back. The tenant was not among those arrested and when we did get a hold of him, we found out one of the thieves was his brother who he was letting stay with him (without our knowledge). It all ended up ok for the most part, but it could have been a lot worse.
So, there’s obviously an advantage to getting the neighbors to spy, or watch, your Metro Detroit area rental properties. You can’t be there to keep an eye on them yourself all the time.
By the way, we rewarded both neighbors with gift cards. How fast do you think word about that circulated in amongst those neighbors? We now get calls in those Metro Detroit neighborhoods all the time. We’ve even had neighbors call us about properties for sale, relatives and friends looking for places to rent and more. Those gift cards paid HUGE dividends.
Please be sure to contact us when you’re ready to hire a professional property management company.