The Real Estate Investing Authority®

Violation Notices: An Opportunity Not A Crisis

YOU GOT A VIOLATION NOTICE FROM THE CITY…DON’T PANIC; THINK OF IT AS AN OPPORTUNITY TO ADD VALUE

You received a bright pink (or orange, or green, …depending on where you are) violation notice on your property or in your mail. It’s alarming, it can be intimidating, but…it happens. Usually, you get it for some kind of maintenance issue at your rental property: high grass, debris in the yard, electrical issues, or maybe gas leaks. The most important thing to keep in mind is that the city or town is not out to get you. They’re not patrolling your property and they’re not angry. The city has plenty to do and they don’t go out looking for trouble. More often than not they’re just taking the next step after they’ve received a complaint from a neighbor…that’s all. 

DON’T PANIC…BE SOLUTION FOCUSED 

If you receive one of these notices, do not panic. Do not get angry. Instead, show the city that you accept responsibility for your property and that you are going to take action. If you demonstrate that you are proactive they’ll have no reason to bother you any further and depending on the size of the municipality, this may even buy you leniency should the same neighbor complain again. But ultimately, when they see you’re taking steps to resolve the problem, it’ll be clear to them that your interests are aligned, and they’ll leave you be to fully resolve the issue. 

If you take that first step quickly, we can all but guarantee that the city or town is going to work with you. Be sure to be friendly, approachable, and understanding. Your primary goal all along is to provide value for your tenants and refuting a complaint is not worth the time and effort. 

 

LEARN MORE: THE POWER (AND IMPORTANCE) OF ALIGNED INTERESTS 

 

DON’T TAKE IT PERSONAL 

The worst thing you can do is get angry. Sometimes when property owners realize that the complaint came from a neighbor they get even more upset. Taking a notice like this personally does nothing to help you resolve the issue. Getting mad might satisfy your ego, but it won’t satisfy your wallet, or your investment strategy. Instead, just take care of the issue promptly. 

When it comes to any type of investment, taking things personally is a recipe for disaster. Get angry, deny there is any issue, go out of your way trying to find out who the punk is who ratted on you…and you’re sure to end up in court. And if you end up in court, you’re paying for an attorney, and maybe legal fees…it’s not even close to worth it. Any way you slice it up, it costs you time and money. Additionally, by losing focus on your long-term investment goals and getting entrenched in a short-term battle, you’ve earned yourself a problematic neighbor for the long term. Not good. 

 

LEARN MORE: DOES IT WORK BEING THE TOUCH, MACHO LANDLORD? 

 

WHY DIDN’T THEY JUST COME TO ME RATHER THAN GOING TO THE CITY? 

Fighting a violation notice is a fool’s errand, but if you’re upset about someone taking this step instead of just talking to you in the first place, that is justified. Ideally, in a community, people can address each other face to face to deal with issues like this. Sadly, that’s not the way the world is trending. Collectively, people are all too ready to bring any minor issue to the highest authority they can and/or to air their complaints on social media…rather than actually seeking a plausible solution by taking meaningful action steps. We can’t necessarily change people, but by responding to a violation notice by taking those meaningful action steps that will result in a plausible solution, we can better model for others how interacting with others and dealing with conflict is supposed to work. 

 

LEARN MORE: A TYPICAL INVESTING EXPERIENCE FOR A TYPICAL NEXUS CLIENT 
 

CONCLUSION: ACCEPT THE REMINDER 

Getting a brightly colored notice is a pain and those colors are designed to get your attention and activate your emotions. Getting angry or taking it personally is a recipe for added costs and wasting your time. You own property because you are an investor and smart investors always focus on the long term. Do what is necessary in the short term to resolve the violation so you can move on. 

Additionally, keep in mind that for a municipality to send this, they must’ve felt the complaint was at least somewhat justified. In that case, consider it a reminder to perform some maintenance and simultaneously appreciate the value you’re adding to your property. If the neighbors thought enough to complain, it’s very likely your own tenants weren’t particularly fond of it either. 

Have any questions? Interested in learning more? Reach out to our team and explore and subscribe to our weekly property management articles. Nexus Property Management® offers franchise opportunities from coast to coast with four current offices in New England. 

Nexus Property Management®…your violation notice, managed! 
 

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Mick Lefort is the Vice President of Operations for Nexus Property Management®. A National Property Management Franchise that manages all types of rental property from single family homes or condos to large apartment buildings and complexes.

 

 

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