by Theresa Bradley-Banta
Earlier this week I posted an article called How to Attract and Keep Great Residents. In that article I assumed you have great residents at your multifamily property.
But what if you don’t?
Sometimes it’s hard to know what happens at your property 24/7, especially if you’ve hired a third-party management company to oversee property operations. And let’s face it; even your third-party property manager is not at your property full-time. They may visit only several times a week. (By the way, this is one of the reasons I’m such an advocate for having an on-site property manager.)
When you own a multifamily property, it becomes your responsibility to know what’s happening day and night. It’s good to know if the police are making frequent visits to your property. It’s also good to know if your property manager is blithely unaware of those police visits.
This article has several tips to help you out.
The Police and Your Multifamily Property
Premise Histories / Calls for Service
You probably don’t think of the police and your multifamily property in the same sentence. The thought probably never crossed your mind—until now. Did you know there’s an easy way to find out if the cops are visiting your property?
A Premise History is a police report that lists calls for service at a particular place. It includes the dates, times and descriptions of each call.
Contact your local police department to get a copy of your Premise History. There’s usually a nominal fee that’s well worth paying. I like to pull a Premise History on an annual basis—and I meet with my property manager if issues exist.
And because I know you’re curious, here’s a page from an apartment complex Premise History. (Click the image to enlarge.)
Great tip: Request a Premise History for any multifamily property or apartment building you’re thinking about buying.
Community Resource Officers
Local Community Resource Officers (CROs) offer community help on a variety of issues such as neighbor disputes and public nuisances. If your property is getting a lot of attention from the police, the CRO will be aware of the problem.
So why not contact your local police department and let the CRO know that you are aware of problems? Find out what you can do to address those problems. A CRO will have ideas on how you can be proactive. Police departments offer training on crime prevention, commercial property security, gang awareness, and more.
A crime map shows statistics for violent crime, property crime and other crimes for specific locations and neighborhoods.
Your local police department should be able to provide a copy. And many police departments let you download crime data by neighborhood directly from their website.
Or you can do a search online using the keywords “(Your area) Crime Statistics and Maps.”
Great tip: A crime map is an excellent tool for investigating potential real estate investment markets.
Be aware of problems and potential problems at your properties. Why wait for an e-mail or letter from an angry tenant who is fed up with the status quo? “I didn’t know” is not the answer an irritated tenant wants to hear. They want to know that you are aware of the problem and that you are making changes.
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