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Tenant With Potential Memory Loss

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  • Tenant With Potential Memory Loss

    I have a tenant who has been in her unit long term (since before we purchased in January 2019) and has always been set up with auto pay through her checking account. In January her auto pay kicked back as NSF and after working with her for 2 1/2 months we finally got her set back up on auto pay through her checking account again for April. May rent came back as NSF.

    Throughout speaking to her on the phone several times over the last few months I believe she may be suffering from some memory loss (she is elderly). She always attempts to write down that she needs to drop off rent and even calls after I get tired of repeated phone reminders and send out a notices saying "thank you for the notice! I'll get that payment dropped off!". I don't believe she's trying to get away with anything here because she has gotten caught up and always paid on time previously, but she is becoming a huge time suck and it's frustrating speaking to her repeatedly and usually without a resolution. I have attempted to get a credit card on file but the number she gave me wouldn't work...I even called to double check the number the next day and she repeated the original number so I don't think she was just making up numbers. I asked if she could set up a system with her bank to send out the check and she said that won't work because she often loses track of her balance and overdrafts (go figure).

    Any thoughts on what to do here? I think if I go through my usual protocol and end up having to auction she won't even understand what's happening. My only thought is to start picking up rent at her home (it would take about an extra 10 minutes out of my month), but do I really want to open that can of worms?!

  • #2
    Here in Florida, we have to deal with a LOT of elderly people...Florida is God's waiting room. I understand your frustration! HER situation isn't going to get better as far as the memory thing...you may want to find out if she has a family member (son or daughter) who you can talk to about this and see if they cant step in and maybe take over the unit or at least give you a card to put on autopay. Good luck with it!

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    • #3
      The potential blowback on this is big if the customer finds out you were saying things to their friends and family, they may get embarrassed about their financial situation and you violated their privacy... I would try talking to the tenant about your concerns and ask if they would be ok with you speaking to a family member or trusted friend, document it and then do it. Could be she developed a money problem ( gambling or some such) not a memory problem. I have an elderly person who is deaf. After repeated phone calls ( she refuses to use any deaf assistance devices to help her hear better) I drove to her apartment and after a few sticky notes back and forth explaining why I was there, I showed her how to text on her phone so we could communicate better. That's how we communicate now. No one had ever taken the time to help her with that! She is the only tenant who has my personal cell number. I figured there had to be a better way than sending out late notices and charging her fees. Now I text her a rent reminder, she texts back saying charge card on file please. Easy peasy.
      You Laugh, I laugh. You cry, I cry. You take my coffee...may God have mercy on your soul....

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      • #4
        Your right wc1974, definitely ask the tenant first!
        Last edited by dtinfla; 23rd May 2020, 02:25 PM.

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        • #5
          I wish I knew how to help you but I do know, as many of us in the industry do, we're not wicked people who just want to take people's money so sometimes we end up having to dance along the line of doing more than asked and of maintaining legality and professionalism. You could try to get the tenant into the office to have a meeting with her to flesh out the details and see if she could add some additional contacts that she's okay with you speaking about her account with. Unfortunately as we all know, the ability to communicate effectively with her will just continue to decline so it's better to get ahead of it now. Just enact the Self Storage property manager motto of document, document, document. Ultimately it'll be up to you and your team to decide if it's worth taking those extra steps. Good luck and keep us updated!

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          • #6
            This is the main reason why we ask for an emergency contact person.
            Try and speak to your tenant and tell her that you as a human being are concerned for her and is there anyone, a family member that she trusts that you can speak with as you want to be able to help her.
            Good luck and keep us posted.
            Don't put off until tomorrow, what you can do today.

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