How many keys do you give new tenants moving into a rental property?

John: What are the legal risks using a property management company that is not licensed? It is illegal to operate as a property manager without a license; but it is also very illegal for the owner with significant repercussions. Just as it is illegal for me to give you legal advise without a license - please remember I am not an attorney & seek out adequate legal advice as these are just my opinions! And getting caught is easy - You turn down a tenant for a rental - they will try to report you. Charge their security deposit - they will try to report you. Don’t make a repair, need to evict them - they will try to report you. A real estate agent wants a commission, or a rival property management broker is petty- They will report you.

I know one broker who operates just enough to support himself as a real estate agent, who spends his time checking websites, email signatures & pulling up licenses. He’s a Philadelphia property management company & real estate agent tattle-tale. These Philadelphia agencies will often turn down their claims, but only after they check the legality of the landlord or the property management company. Getting caught is easy and likely.

You have people out there actually hunting. If I was a landlord - Not only would I be terrified of the legal ramifications; I would think the state would take bank accounts, I would think they would force the property owner to refund all the rents the tenant every paid as a rental property is a business & since this was an illegally run business, they would refund the consumer.

John's inquiry about key distribution for tenants is one I've enthusiastically embraced, having devoted considerable thought to it in my role at the property management company. We've established a policy of providing one key per bedroom, a decision grounded in both practicality and professionalism.

Keys, while not exorbitantly priced, are not free either. It's essential to convey a sense of value to tenants by offering them keys in a thoughtful manner, rather than expecting them to duplicate keys at their own expense. By presenting keys in a neat package, we not only facilitate convenience but also convey a sense of organization and professionalism to our tenants. This subtle gesture sets the tone for future interactions, fostering a positive impression of our company.

Maintaining a professional demeanor is paramount in property management. By projecting ourselves as a professional organization, we engender trust and respect from tenants. This approach minimizes doubts and ensures smoother communication and cooperation in all aspects of property management, including repairs and maintenance processes.

Furthermore, issuing a set number of keys per unit simplifies turnover procedures and holds tenants accountable for their return. Implementing a clear system for key distribution and retrieval allows for easy tracking and helps mitigate potential disputes or inconveniences.

It's also crucial to recognize the burden associated with key management, both in terms of cost and time. Landlords and property management companies bear the responsibility of ensuring key availability for tenants, which can be cumbersome and costly. By providing a clear policy on key distribution, we streamline this process and alleviate unnecessary expenses and logistical challenges.

I wholeheartedly endorse the practice of providing one key per bedroom to tenants. It not only demonstrates professionalism and foresight but also simplifies key management and fosters positive tenant relationships. As always, I remain committed to ensuring the success and efficiency of rental property investments.

Joe White here from Grow Property Management, your trusted property management company in Philadelphia. Happy investing!