What to Do if an Angry Tenant Damages Your Rental Property?

Ever had that sinking feeling when you open the door to your rental property, only to find a trail of destruction left by an angry tenant? It’s like walking into a storm-wrecked house, except this storm has human form. If so, what do you do if an angry tenant damages your rental property?

I’ve been there – standing in shock at the sight of splintered doors and punched-in walls. It feels personal. But it isn’t just about hurt feelings; there are practical matters too.

In this post, we’ll navigate through uncharted waters together – from understanding both parties’ rights and responsibilities to effective ways for assessing damage and gathering evidence. We will explore how best to communicate with tenants about these issues while ensuring our interests are protected.

Rest assured, we can navigate this together. Together, we can transform that damaged property back into a home.

Table of Contents:

Understanding Tenant Damage and Landlord Rights

If an angry tenant damages your rental property, it’s essential to know your rights as a landlord. Handling destruction due to renters can be hard, yet being aware of the law backing you up may provide a sense of relief.

Legalities Surrounding Tenant-Caused Damages

The legal landscape around tenant damages in Northern Virginia recognizes that tenants are liable for accidental or deliberate damage they cause to a rental property. But what does this mean for landlords? Well, if a tenant wrecks the place out of spite or carelessness, they’re expected to cover repair costs. This principle doesn’t extend to normal wear and tear resulting from reasonable day-to-day use – that’s down to you as the landlord.

This might sound like small comfort when faced with an irate renter wielding a hammer. Still, it underscores how crucial knowledge of landlord rights is in these situations.

Importance of Lease Agreements in Managing Tenant Damages

A well-drafted lease agreement serves as one more layer between you and potential headaches over damaged properties. It spells out both parties’ responsibilities clearly so there’s no room for disputes later on about who should pay up after something gets broken.

You could think of it like this: Imagine being given two maps before embarking on a tricky hike through unknown territory. One map shows all hazards; the other only gives general directions without any details about possible dangers along the way – which would you choose?

We thought so too.

What to Do if an Angry Tenant Damages Your Rental Property

Assessing the Damage and Gathering Evidence

If you discover your rental property has been damaged, don’t panic. It’s crucial to accurately assess the damage before making any decisions.

Steps to Accurately Assess Property Damage

Take a step back and assess the situation objectively. Compare the current state of your property with its original condition.

Refer to an itemized list of items in your home or apartment while assessing the condition of your property against its original state. This will help ensure that nothing is overlooked during your assessment.

Importance and Methods of Documenting Property Damage

Gathering evidence is just as important as assessing damages. Start by taking photographs – lots of them. These can be compared against pre-rental photos for discrepancies. Timestamp Camera Free app on iTunes, or the equivalent on Google Play, are great tools for documenting such changes because they add date and time stamps automatically.

Your security deposit isn’t just a financial safety net – it’s also valuable leverage when dealing with tenant-caused damage disputes.

Note:“Taking detailed photos before a new tenant moves in and having them attest in writing to the condition can serve as invaluable evidence.” This method ensures all parties have clear expectations from day one.

Communicating with the Tenant

The first step when you discover that a tenant has damaged your rental property is clear communication. The way you approach this conversation can greatly influence its outcome.

How to Approach Tenants About Property Damage

Your initial emotional response could be fury, but it is important to stay tranquil and collected. Give the tenants some advance warning before talking about the problem – this allows both sides to get ready for the dialogue.

In some cases, tenants may not even realize they’ve caused damage or violated their rental agreement terms. Make sure you explain clearly what damage has been done and how it breaches the lease contract. Always use respectful language and maintain an open dialogue – accusations will only escalate tension.

If things go well, your tenant might agree to repair damages themselves or pay for repairs without further dispute. In such instances, having good rapport with your tenants can make all the difference in resolving issues amicably.

But if conversations break down, remember that there are still several steps available before considering eviction as a last resort option. Understanding your legal rights as a landlord, being patient during negotiations and remaining professional at all times will help ensure positive outcomes from these difficult situations.

Seeking Restitution and Compensation

If an angry tenant has left your property in ruins, don’t fret. You have options to recoup the costs of repairs.

Using Security Deposits as Compensation for Damages

A common practice among landlords is using the security deposit to cover damages caused by tenants. It’s like a safety net that cushions you from unexpected expenses related to property damage.

The extent of compensation depends on several factors, including the severity of intentional damage and state laws governing rental properties. But remember, it’s not a carte blanche; landlords cannot deduct wear-and-tear or maintenance costs from this deposit.

You can also request financial compensation directly from your tenant if repair costs exceed their security deposit amount. This method may require legal help if tenants refuse to comply willingly but could be worthwhile depending on the extent of damages incurred.

In extreme cases where massive intentional damage occurs beyond what can be covered by the security deposit or compensated financially by the tenant, eviction might be considered as an option.

Taking Legal Action for Tenant-Caused Damage

If you’re facing resistance when seeking restitution through these methods, consider taking legal action against damaging tenants who refuse cooperation. Various legal avenues exist, ranging from small claims court to full-blown lawsuits based on case specifics such as unpaid rent or extensive property destruction.

This approach isn’t without its hurdles though—it requires time commitment and potential lawyer fees—but sometimes it’s necessary in order to get fair recompense after serious incidents involving disgruntled tenants causing havoc at rental properties.

What to Do if an Angry Tenant Damages Your Rental Property

Legal Actions and Insurance Claims

If you’re dealing with a tenant who’s damaged your property, there are ways to seek restitution. You don’t have to just swallow the cost and fix it yourself.

When to Take Legal Action Against a Tenant

One might ponder when the proper moment is to initiate legal proceedings against a tenant. Well, if they’ve caused significant damage that exceeds their security deposit or refuse to cover repair costs voluntarily, then it’s time for some tough love in court.

Landlords may seek restitution via civil court. But remember – this should always be your last resort after all attempts at resolution fail. It can be lengthy and costly but sometimes necessary when faced with stubborn tenants.

Filing Insurance Claims for Tenant-Caused Damages

If suing sounds like too much of an uphill battle (or perhaps because you’re not keen on playing Judge Judy), consider contacting your insurance company instead.

An insurance claim can often recoup losses from damages caused by renters. The catch? Your policy needs coverage for accidental or intentional damages by tenants; so make sure you read those fine prints.

The takeaway here is simple: If things go south due to destructive tenants, know that there are options available. So chin up landlords – let’s turn these frowns upside down.

Preventing Future Incidents

Having a tenant cause damage to your rental property can be an incredibly frustrating experience. Fortunately, there are measures that can be taken to avoid similar occurrences in the future.

The first step towards preventing such incidents lies in having a solid screening process for prospective tenants. By thoroughly checking references and conducting credit checks, you can avoid renting out your property to potentially problematic tenants.

You may also want to consider hiring a professional property management company. With over 35 years of experience dealing with all sorts of tenants, they have developed strategies for managing even the most difficult ones effectively.

Tenant Screening and Regular Inspections

An effective way of avoiding issues down the line starts right at selecting who gets keys to your place. A thorough background check on potential renters helps weed out those with past cases of causing damages or other forms of misconduct.

Besides initial vetting, regular inspections are crucial too. This gives landlords an opportunity not only to spot early signs but also to fix any damages before they escalate into significant problems requiring expensive repairs later on.

Educating Tenants about Their Responsibilities

  1. Maintaining open lines of communication regarding their responsibilities could make all the difference when it comes to minimizing chances of conflict arising from misunderstandings over who’s liable for what kind of wear and tear versus actual damage caused due to negligence or abuse.
  2. In addition to providing them with clear guidelines as part of the lease agreement, reiterating these rules during the tenancy period ensures it stays top of mind, thus helping to avoid unnecessary confrontations down the road.
  3. Don’t forget the potency of a courteous reminder at times, particularly if you observe issues beginning to decline – just give them a gentle nudge in the correct direction.

Property Management Companies

If you’re feeling daunted by the thought of managing all this solo, take heart. Professional property management companies can help lighten the load.

What to Do if an Angry Tenant Damages Your Rental Property


Dealing with a tenant who damages your rental property can feel like navigating uncharted waters. But now, you know the ropes.

You’ve learned about landlord rights and legal responsibilities when it comes to dealing with property damage caused by tenants. Understanding these basics gives you a solid foundation on which to stand.

The importance of properly assessing the damage and gathering evidence has been highlighted too. With this knowledge, it’s easier to make claims or resolve disputes in your favor.

We’ve also talked through how open communication can often lead to more amicable resolutions with tenants, while not shying away from discussing tougher routes such as seeking restitution or even taking legal action if necessary.

And remember, restoring your damaged rental property isn’t just about repair work; it’s about reclaiming peace of mind for both you and future renters alike.

If you are ready to hire a professional property manager, feel free to take advantage of our exclusive FREE Rental Market Analysis. Finally, don’t forget to connect with us on social media! Follow us on FacebookTwitterLinkedInInstagram, and Pinterest for tips, ideas and updates.

Pets in rental properties? As a landlord, do you know your rights?

As a landlord, it shouldn’t come as a huge surprise that more and more renters want to rent a property that will accept their pets. Though Virginia doesn’t require you to accept pets in your rental property (outside of service or emotional support animals, which we’ll get to later), it’s up to you to decide whether it makes sense to accommodate tenants who are also looking for a home for their pet.

Whether or not you’re facing this decision right now, you’ll most likely have to deal with it at some point or another. We think it’s smart to go ahead and understand some details so when the time arises, you’ll know exactly what you’re dealing with.

Should you accept pets in your rental properties? Let’s start with some basics on different types of pets and what the state of Virginia says on the matter.

Table of Contents:

Typical Household Pets in Rental Properties

what is a typical household pet in a rental

In most cases, tenants will want to find a place to live that is loving and accepting of their furry friend whom they consider to be a member of the family. Cats and dogs are the most common with the occasional other animal thrown in such as a bird or rabbit. The state of Virginia doesn’t require you to accept any type of pet, so whether you want pets in your rental property or not is totally up to you.

With a typical household pet, you can decide not only whether or not you’ll allow certain kinds of animals over others, but you can charge more in rent or deposits for allowing the pet to live in the home. With your typical household pet, anything is fair game for the landlord.

With a typical household pet, you can decide not only whether or not you’ll allow certain kinds of animals over others, but you can charge more in rent or deposits for allowing the pet to live in the home. With your typical household pet, anything is fair game for the landlord.

Official Service Pets in Rental Rroperties

What is an Official Service Animal?

According to the Americans with Disabilities Act (ADA) and subsequent Virginia Laws, people with physical and mental disabilities can bring service animals to all public places. You have most likely seen service animals on planes, at restaurants, at hotels, and other public places where someone might require such an animal.

While service animals might look and act like any other pet, the biggest indicator of a service animal (almost always a dog) is that they have been formally trained to assist their owner with certain tasks and typically wear a vest or bandana of some sort labeling them as such. Here are a few tasks that service animals might assist with:

  • Assisting blind owners with navigation
  • Alerting deaf owners of surrounding people or sounds
  • Pulling a wheelchair
  • Retrieving certain items that the owners can’t get themselves
  • Providing any type of physical support to their owners

As a landlord, you are not allowed to discriminate against tenants based on their need for a service animal. According to the Fair Housing Act and Virginia law, tenants cannot be charged a higher rent or security deposit or face extra fees for having a service dog. However, if the dog causes damage in the home, the tenant is responsible for the cost of repairs.

More distinctions about Official Service Pets

  • An official service pet is a dog that has been individually trained to do work or perform tasks for a person with a disability.
  • These tasks can include, but are not limited to, guiding people who are blind, alerting people who are deaf, pulling a wheelchair, or alerting and protecting a person who is having a seizure.
  • Service animals are not considered pets, so landlords cannot charge a pet deposit or pet rent for them. Landlords also cannot require that service animals be spayed or neutered, or that they have any vaccinations which are not required for all dogs.

If you have a tenant who is requesting to have a service animal in your rental property, you should ask for documentation from a doctor or other medical professional that verifies that the tenant has a disability, and that the disability is known to be alleviated by the presence of a service animal. You should also ask for documentation from a training program that verifies that the animal has been trained to perform the tasks that the tenant needs it to perform.

You should also ask for documentation from a training program that verifies that the animal has been trained to perform the tasks that the tenant needs it to perform.

Key Takeaway: You cannot charge pet rent or a pet deposit for an official service animal and you can not decline a tenant just because they have a service animal.


Emotional Support Animals in Rentals

Emotional Support Animals in Rentals

There might seem to be some overlap between emotional support animals and service animals, but while service dogs are formally trained, emotional support animals are not. An emotional support animal comforts its owner by providing them therapeutic companionship. The most typical situations that require emotional support animals are when people suffer from mental health problems such as depression, anxiety, PTSD, etc.

In order for a person to have an official emotional support animal they must have an ESA certificate signed by a mental health professional who is licensed in the state of Virginia. Simply owning a pet and saying that it’s an emotional support animal does not make it official. Unlike service animals, which are almost always dogs, emotional support animals can be any animal that the owner chooses, as long as they have a legitimate ESA certificate. Landlords should pay close attention to this as there are a number of websites where these certificates may be obtained for a nominal fee. There have been instances of tenants who have purchased one of these illegitimate certificates in order to avoid having to pay a Pet Deposit, which may be a thousand dollars or more.

It’s important to know that tenants with emotional support animals are legally entitled to live in any state without paying a pet fee or being declined because of their ESA. As a landlord, you are required to allow the tenant to have the official emotional support animal of their choice (no matter what the animal may be), and they cannot be charged an extra fee or deposit for having such an animal.

So now that you know exactly what to expect with everyday pets, service dogs, and emotional support animals, you get to decide what is best for your property.Here are a few things to consider when interviewing potential tenants who own a pet which is not a Service Animal or an ESA.

By reaching a bigger share of the renter market, you’ll also have more options on finding the right tenant to live in your property. This is a really great option for most landlords.

So, it’s ultimately up to you to decide whether or not to allow ordinary pets in your rental property. If you do, you may be able to charge a higher rent and collect a larger security deposit to offset any damage the pet may cause.

There are however a few things that you should keep in mind.

  • You should include a pet addendum in your lease agreement. This will spell out the rules and regulations for having a pet in your rental property.
  • Emotional support animals are not considered to be pets under the law, and they are exempt from pet rent fees and pet security deposits.
  • Official service animals are also exempt from pet rent fees and pet security deposits, andthey are allowed to live in “no pet” rental units.

If you have any questions about whether or not to allow pets in your rental property, or about the laws surrounding emotional support animals and official service pets, you should consult with an experienced landlord-tenant attorney.

Key Takeaway: Both emotional support animals and official service animals are exempt from pet rent fees, pet security deposits and they are allowed to live in “no pet” rental units.

Acceptance of Pets in Rental Properties in Virginia. Guidelines for Landlords with Regard to Pets

It can be a tough decision, as there are pros and cons to both allowing and not allowing pets.

Ultimately, it is up to you to decide what is best for your rental property. If you do decide to allow pets in your rental property, there are a few things you should keep in mind.

First, you should collect a larger security deposit. This will help to cover any additional wear and tear that a pet may cause on the property.

Second, you should require that all pets be current on their vaccinations and that they have a valid license. Finally, you should have a pet policy in place that outlines the rules and regulations regarding pets in the rental property.

If you have any questions about whether or not to allow pets in your rental property, or if you need help creating a pet policy, please contact us. We would be happy to help you make the best decision for your rental property.

Key Takeaway: Pets in rental properties are becoming more and more common, but it is up to the landlord to decide if they want to allow them. If you do allow pets, be sure to have a pet policy in place.

If you’re a landlord in Northern Virginia, it’s important to understand the laws and regulations regarding pets in rental properties. There’s a lot to know about pets when it comes to managing rental properties, so it’s always a good idea to do your research and ask for professional advice if you find yourself in a tricky situation. So whether you’re deciding if you should allow pets or dealing with a current tenant pet situation, give us a call. We’re more than happy to help!

If you are ready to rent your home, don’t hesitate to take advantage of our exclusive FREE Rental Market Analysis. Finally, don’t forget to connect with us on social media! Follow us on FacebookTwitterLinkedInInstagram, and Pinterest for tips, ideas and updates.


What Does a Property Manager Do?

We are often asked, “What does a property manager do?” It’s a great question—and we have a simple answer for it:

“We do everything you’re going to have to do if you don’t hire us!” Here are a few of those challenging tasks…

Find the Right Tenant

Make a mistake on your choice of tenant and you’ll pay for it—in time, money, and possibly legal troubles. Placing a good tenant yourself actually requires a series of steps.

You must first determine the fair market rental value for your home before advertising for a tenant.

    1. Once you have determined the rent you’re going to try to get, it’s time to advertise.  You can use Craigslist (or other similar classified ad sites) where listings have to be renewed every week. Or you may engage a Realtor who will list your property with the Multiple Listing Service, create the lease, maybe conduct a move-in inspection and then walk away from the transaction.If you list the home yourself, you’ll need to be extremely careful that your advertisement does not violate any of the multiple state and federal Fair Housing requirements.
    2. Once you have found an interested party, you must qualify them to be certain they are a good credit risk. Their employment must be verified, as well as their rental history (with references obtained from current and previous landlords). And if your applicant’s credit score and debt to income rations are not within an acceptable range, you’ll have to start the search all over again.

Write a Good Lease

After successfully qualifying the tenant’s application, it’ll be your job to write a lease that’s both legally compliant and completely enforceable.

What does that mean, exactly? First, you’ll have to determine whether your lease will be governed by Virginia Common Law or the Virginia Residential Landlord and Tenant Act. And then you’ll have to make certain that the document contains all of the appropriate requirements for your property and is legally enforceable.

Once that’s taken care of, there’s the matter of the security deposit. It must be placed in a separate escrow account, where it has to remain untouched throughout the tenancy, unless it’s used to offset tenant damage. Comingling of funds is a great way to wind up with a serious legal problem!

Fix Things that Break

If something breaks, leaks, bursts, or simply goes kaput—it’s up to you to determine the cause of the problem. For example, did the eight-year-old washing machine die of natural causes (thus constituting reasonable wear and tear), or did it stop running because the tenant abused it? Either way, you’re going to have to fix it. And if it was the tenant’s fault and they’re going to be charged for the repair, you will bear the responsibility of thoroughly documenting the cost with a legitimate contractor’s invoice.

The same same holds true, by the way, for any damage the tenant may cause throughout the tenancy; do-it-yourself invoices are typically not honored by the courts should the tenants take issue with them.

Collect Rent—and Handle Evictions

In the event the tenant stops paying rent, you must do your best to collect it by sending written correspondence and making phone calls. When all that fails and you determine that you must evict them, the law requires that the tenant be sent a legal notice instructing them to pay or vacate the premises. Following that measure, a lawsuit must be filed in court. At the time of the hearing, you or your representative will have to appear before the judge. If the court rules in your favor, you must coordinate the actual eviction with the sheriff’s office and provide the necessary manpower to remove the tenant’s belongings.

Keep Track of Income and Expenses

Finally, there’s the task of accounting. Tracking the income and expenses for your rental property is not merely a good financial habit—it’s the law. You must keep track of all gross rents collected and report this income to the IRS on a specific schedule (form), attached to your 1040. You must also keep track of all legitimate expenses to offset the income when you file your tax returns. The IRS is noted for thoroughly vetting these itemized deductions (and auditing when they flag inconsistencies). So, it’s critical that all of your expenses be recorded and thoroughly documented.

So, what does a property manager do? All the stuff you’ll have to do yourself in the absence of a management professional–market research, advertising, tenant screening, legal document creation, rent collection, escrow accounting, maintenance and repairs and more–while also keeping you on the right side of the law and out of the courtroom.

David Norod is the principal broker of WJD Management. He enjoys keeping his 400+ property owners up to date on the best ways to keep their homes rented and running smoothly. When he’s not managing properties, he’s playing classic rock in local clubs with his band Off The Record.

Agent Guide! 10 Rules for Simplifying Rental Showings

Are you looking for tried and true rules for simplifying rental showings? Let us help you! Here are 10 Rules for Simplifying Rental Showings.

Call 1st or appointment only? Wait for callback or show the property? Help!

Agents, we’ve heard you. Here’s your 5-minute guide to rules for simplifying rental showings–courtesy of WJD, the Northern Virginia property management firm with more than 30 years’ experience in residential rentals and leasing.

Read more

Realtors: How Property Management Referrals Build Your Business

Realtors, are you wondering how property management referrals build your business? Get great advice on how property management referrals build your business from Top-Producing Agent Beth Kenney.


Recently, in an effort to thank the Northern Virginia Realtor community, WJD Management sponsored its first-ever contest drawing for agents. The prize was reimbursement of a full year’s MRIS dues—a $660 award. Real estate agents are the lifeblood of a firm like WJD—especially since we operate without any affiliation to a sales brokerage. We figured the start of a new year was the perfect time to offer a gift that would give a boost to one hardworking Northern Virginia agent.

The contest was administered by an independent contractor (and the name randomly drawn by a software application)—but, as luck and coincidence would have it, the agent whose name was drawn is one we’ve worked with many times over the years: Beth Kenney, of Berkshire Hathaway Homes Services (BHHS) PenFed Realty in Reston.

In conversations we had with Beth after she received her prize check, we learned a lot about what’s motivated a top-producing Realtor to refer well over 40 clients to WJD over the span of her two decades in real estate. For agents who wonder how a property management firm can benefit their business (i.e., help their clients), read Beth’s story:

From In-House Property Managers to Outside Referrals

NVAR Lifetime Top Producer Beth Kenney

NVAR Lifetime Top Producer Beth Kenney

When I started out selling real estate, there was a property management firm housed in the same Vienna office I worked from. You’d think it’d make all the sense in the world for an agent to use the in-house property management arm of their brokerage, and it made sense to me at the beginning too. But honestly, I had such negative experiences with that property management company that it led me to be open to other avenues.

And when I stopped and thought about it, why wouldn’t I want to look beyond the brokerage I worked at? I believe you have to be super-independent—and I’m never a blind follower of anything. Just because some service is located conveniently within my own company doesn’t mean I should use it. In fact, that might be the biggest reason not to use it. When you look for outside vendors, you’re guaranteeing a measure of accountability. Even more than that, you’re avoiding even the appearance of a conflict of interest between your clients’ needs and your (or your brokerage’s) financial interest.

I like showing my clients that what they need is important enough to look outside my own company. And they’ve always appreciated that.

Plus, it’s pretty awkward when you make an in-house referral and your own company lets you down. When you refer to independents like WJD, you can hold them accountable, since they know you owe them nothing, and they have to earn your referral every time.

Build Trust First. The Listings Will Follow.

build trust with real estate clients

The key to success in real estate is building trust–over time–with your clients.

It’s been as much about trust for me, though, as it has been about accountability. My goal is always to build trust—first and foremost with my clients. And from the beginning, David Norod at WJD built trust with me. Actually, just as a side note, David was the person who convinced me to get involved in real estate in the first place. I was in the same building as him—a college grad, magna cum laude, answering phones.

“Why are you doing this?” he asked. “You’d be awesome in real estate!”

And the rest, as they say, is history.

I feel lucky that I found David, a property manager I could trust with my clients—not to mention someone I genuinely liked. And property management is what he does. It’s all he does. I know David’s motivation will always be there to make my clients happy as their property manager, because this is his bread and butter. Unlike the property management arm of that first brokerage I mentioned, he doesn’t have a sales business to fall back on if he lets his rental clients down. He has to please them.

How Does the Property Management Referral Process Work?

So, a typical referral would play out something like this:

I have clients who need to get a certain price on their home or it’s just not worth it to sell. Or they have a tight timeframe to sell before leaving the area. And, whether because of price or timing (or both), they decide not to sell.

That’s the point at which I say to them, “This just may not be the right time—and that’s okay. Let’s hand it over to WJD and let them take care of everything for you until it is the right time. They’re specialists. And by the way, their rates are in line with everyone else’s.”

My job is easy after that, since WJD handles everything. And it’s always worked out well. Every client that I’ve referred who’s ended up hiring WJD has been pleased. So I benefitted. I provided a valuable resource to my clients. And that’s a huge part of my business. I provide great resources.

 “Who Will Take Care of My Home When I Leave?”

property management client referrals

Your clients love their home. They want reassurance that it will be cared for as they would care for it.

People go to their Realtor all the time and say, “Who can manage this place for me when I leave? Who’s going to make sure it gets taken care of the same way I’d take care of it if I were here?”

Will an arm of a sales brokerage take the best care of your client’s property? I really don’t think so.

WJD’s a pure value-add in my business, because I can honestly tell someone who asks those questions, “Don’t worry. They’ll take great care of your home. Whether you decide to sell it after renting it out or to come back and live in it, you’ll be happy. You won’t have to constantly worry.”

The “Zoe’s Kitchen Effect” (and Letting Realtors Know They Matter)

Like the favorite Vienna eatery, Zoe's Kitchen, WJD is "making it fun"--offering contests, giveaways, and chances to enjoy community at the local level.

Like the favorite Vienna eatery, Zoe’s Kitchen, WJD is “making it fun”–offering contests, giveaways, and chances to enjoy community at the local level.


And by the way, I really like the way WJD is now reaching out to Realtors now by offering prizes and making it all fun. It kind of reminds me of Zoe’s Kitchen in Vienna, giving people a free entrée just for stopping by. The free entrée gets folks into Zoe’s Kitchen—and once they’re there, they see how great a place it is and become regular customers. I think contests and giveaways are a nice way to let Realtors know they matter. And they can only benefit by learning more and sharing a great local resource with their clients.

(Note: If you missed WJD’s last contest, no worries. You can get an advance entry into the next one–an all-expenses-paid NVAR dues award–by signing up here.)

My advice to other agents is this:

It’s not really about the money you might earn today—making a referral to a professional property manager involves long-term thinking. Sure, it’s nice that you’ll end up with a client referral fee from sending your clients to a firm like WJD. But that’s nothing compared to what you’re really building—which is a relationship.

A strong, stable relationship with clients who will eventually list with you when the time is right. Because their home was well taken care of when they needed the help the most.

For more advice on how property management referrals build your business and information from WJD Management follow our blog and find us on Facebook @wjdmanagement, Twitter @WJDManagement, and Instagram @wjdpm.

Property Management Software for Single Family Homes

Did you know that WJD Management helped to innovate the only property management software for single family homes that specializes in the Washington DC market. Our clients are local and we wanted their data to be local too. When software for the property management industry moved into the cloud, WJD Management’s remained local—in the truest sense of the word. Here’s our story of how a 25-year relationship with a Northern Virginia software developer transformed our business—while allowing us to co-create the exact technology we needed to serve our Northern Virginia clients.

Back in the early 1980s, right at the advent of the personal computing movement, a Fairfax County programmer named Frank Cockrell decided there must be a better way to keep track of the myriad bits of information involved in managing rental property—other than with a calculator and a typewriter. He created a professional residential property management software in DOS and called it simply “The Property Manager.”

As I quickly discovered, this application was unlike anything else on the market. It’s property management software for single family homes—a relatively new field within property management at the time. (One that is a world apart from managing apartment communities or multi-family properties). Cockrell’s program did it all—it kept track of tenants and their leases, it noted all of the important HOA or condo information, and it had a complete maintenance module for generating estimates and work orders. It sent notices to tenants, and it handled lease extensions.

It even came with a complete accounting package for posting rents, paying bills, and reporting the owner’s income to the IRS.

This program did everything imaginable except cook lunch for the user. And when Windows superseded DOS in the early 1990s, Frank added on capabilities for collecting rent from tenants and making payments to homeowners electronically.
It was around that time that I began giving input to Frank, getting in touch with him and asking for changes. He was always responsive, and the next version of the software always moved us closer to having a system tailor-made for our unique Washington-area clientele.

The Property Manager has been a perpetual work in progress and an ongoing client-developer partnership. The biggest change came three years ago when Cockrell transformed the archaic code into a brand-new version with an SQL database. At the same time as many other businesses were moving their databases into the cloud, we were working alongside our developer to keep our business (and the information it runs on) local.

Frank Cockrell, even though he’s got a world-class app after all these years of listening to our needs, has chosen to keep his software exclusive to the Northern Virginia property management market.

For me, it’s been an eye-opening experience on the power small businesses have to co-create the applications they need—and to make processes work well at the most local level. Most business owners assume we must work with the tools and packages software companies hand us—even when doing so goes against our better judgment. WJD’s creative partnership with Frank Cockrell taught us that the best software is created through active involvement over time—and with local customers’ needs front and center.

David Norod is the principal broker of WJD Management. He enjoys keeping his 400+ property owners up to date on the best ways to keep their homes rented and running smoothly. When he’s not managing properties, he’s playing classic rock in local clubs with his band Off The Record.


INFOGRAPHIC: Rent-or-Buy Home Guide for Northern Virginia

The Rent-or-Buy Home Guide for Northern Virginia Property Managers

Looking for a quick rent-or-buy home guide for Northern Virginia property managers? Northern Virginia property management firms like WJD Management are in a unique position, in that we see both sides of the big (and very individual) “rent-or-buy” home question here in our local real estate market. And we know the best tenant is one who’s made the choice to rent a home over buying, because it fits with both their financial situation and their lifestyle preferences. The main lifestyle reasons for renting?  Flexibility, convenience, location, and sometimes access to shared community amenities that would not otherwise be affordable. We had this simple infographic prepared to try to answer the big “Should I rent or buy home” question.

rent or buy home

If you would like to learn more about WJD Management, please review our comprehensive Management Program guide. If you are ready to rent your home, feel free to take advantage of our exclusive FREE Rental Market Analysis. Finally, don’t forget to connect with us on social media! Follow us on FacebookTwitterLinkedInInstagram, and Pinterest for tips, ideas and updates.

INFOGRAPHIC: Why Millennials are Choosing Renting Over Buying

There are numerous reasons why Millennials are choosing renting over buying.

Curious why millennials are choosing renting over buying? According to Inman, “The rental listing site’s 2021 Millennial Homeownership Report found that, in 2020, 18.2 percent of millennials who don’t currently own homes expected to always rent, up from 12.3 percent in 2019 and 10.7 percent in 2018. Millennials are the largest generation and the report pegged their age range as 24 to 39.”

Further, “A 2013 Gallup poll indicates that getting married and having children are goals millennials pursue, but not with the immediacy of previous generations. A significantly larger percentage of millennials are delaying marriage and taking time to discover what they want out of life. They admit to feeling less pressure to make a lifelong commitment to a particular lifestyle, which may play a role in the decision to postpone home purchasing.”

With home sale prices trending very high in Arlington and Fairfax Counties, now is a good time for metro-area property owners to consider the long-term prospects for their home.  The good news for Northern Virginia landlords: The current population of young professionals under the age of 34 is, increasingly, choosing renting over buying.

Relevant read Tenants: 18 Ways to Get Your Security Deposit Back. Also, don’t forget to connect with us on social media! Follow us on FacebookTwitterLinkedInInstagram, and Pinterest for tips, ideas and updates.

Why Millennials are Choosing Renting Over Buying