Hi, Todd Ortscheid here with GTL Real Estate. In this video I just wanted to talk briefly about how you can reach us. A frequent question we get from tenants is why we prefer to have communications in writing. If you call our phone system you’ll find that for most things we direct you to send us an email or other written communication rather than speaking to us on the phone. There are several reasons that we do that.
First is, just the amount of calls and how long they take to handle. Usually if we get someone on the phone, that’s a minimum of a 15 minute conversation even for a minor issue. It just takes a lot longer to deal with a phone call than it does to respond to an email really quick for a really simple issue. Just because the number of communications we’re getting from tenants, from perspective tenants, from our clients and just vendors, I mean everybody that we’re dealing with there’s just a whole lot of communications going in a typical day. The quickest most efficient way to deal with that is by email or by communicating on your portal. We’ll go over in a few minutes the best ways to reach us in writing, but that’s just the most efficient way for us to do it, so that we can get your problem resolved as quickly as possible. That’s the number one reason for why we prefer to do communications in writing rather than over the phone.
The other issue is we want to make sure we have a record of all communications that we’ve had. Just an example of where this comes into play, a lot of you have roommates on your lease, so even a husband and wife. There’s more than one person on the lease that’s responsible for that lease. Sometimes we’ll run into a situation where for example, one person submits a notice to vacate and the other person does not. Now your lease says that that’s a joint lease, so if one person is sending me a notice, that means both of you have. Sometimes we’ll get the other person calling up and saying, “Well nobody’s submitted a record or a notice to terminate. Prove it to me that somebody did.” Well in that case we want to have that written record. We want to be able to show that person the written communication we’ve got that says notice was submitted. If we just have a phone call then that’s much more difficult to do.
Now we do record our phone calls when we can, but unfortunately we do business in Florida. Florida is a two party notice state, so we can’t do call recordings on all of our calls in Florida. If it’s a call within Florida we’re in Florida and you are, we have that two party consent to do that. Now we can do that on inbound calls, but when we’re calling out it’s not always easy to do that, so we can’t always record all of those. We can’t always have that record unless we start off every conversation by telling you that we’re recording the call, which is cumbersome and difficult to remember and that sort of thing. It’s always better to have that written record of what was said, so there’s no dispute among anybody about what was said. Everybody knows what’s going on and just for our ease of dealing with whatever situation it may be, we may not remember a conversation we had with you six months ago. If we have a written record of that, we can go back and look at it and refresh our memory about what we were talking about.
A good example of where this comes into play is if you report a repair issue. Let’s say you let us know, “Hey, there’s a water leak in my house,” and then a month later it hasn’t been resolved and you call us up and you say, “Hey, I reported this water leak a month ago and you guys didn’t do anything about it, now it’s worse.” Well if we have that written communication where you reported that, then it’s really easy for you to say, “Hey, you know you’ve got that written record, you know that we reported this. It was your responsibility to come get it fixed.” If everything is done by phone and you just call in and report that problem, we don’t have that written record, so now when you’re saying you reported it, but we don’t remember it, now we’ve got an argument and we want to avoid that. We don’t want to have arguments, we want to make sure that we know what was done, which is best for us and for you.
That’s a perfect situation where it’s good for you to have that written record that says, “Hey, I reported this, you guys were responsible for fixing it and you didn’t.” I mean that’s a perfect example of where it’s not just in our benefit to make sure these communications are in writing, it’s also in yours. That’s a big issue for why we want to have everything in writing.
Finally, unfortunately, it’s a legal issue. Every now and then we have to evict a tenant or we have a dispute in small claims court over repair or something to that effect, where there’s a lawsuit. We just need to be able to go to court and say, “Hey, here’s our evidence of what we communicated to the tenant, what the tenant communicated to us.” We need to be able to have those records. That’s a rarity, you know very few leases result in many sort of legal action, but it does happen. We have about, two percent of our tenants have to be evicted, so we have to have written records for those sorts of things. For those reason we prefer all communications to be in writing.
That’s why when you call the main office number it’ll send you to a message that asks you to submit a written communication instead of calling. That there’s a lot of good reasons for that, you know we’re not just trying to avoid you. We want to get your issues resolved, but the most efficient, the best way to do that is in writing. The way to do that, there’s two different ways you can reach us in writing other than just mailing us something. The easiest ways to do it are to send us an email, number one. That email address is firstname.lastname@example.org. If you send an email to that it goes into the big company inbox where multiple employees have access to that. That’s why I say it’s so efficient.
Instead of you just calling one person’s phone and they may not be in the office, if you’re sending an email to that inbox, it doesn’t just go to one person, it goes to multiple people. Whoever’s working is going to get that message and they can deal with it as quickly as possible. That’s the best way to reach us.
The other way is on your resident portal. There’s a place on your resident portal called conversations. If you use that box, and you can create a new conversation and write to us, that will also automatically go into that email box that we have that notifies all of our employees that there’s a message that we need to respond to. Those are the two ways to communicate with us in writing. Of course if you don’t have internet access, you can always write us a letter. You can do that also, but we recommend you use email, that’s the best way to reach us, we’ll get to it as quickly as possible.
Please keep in mind we do have normal business hours, so we’re open from eight to five Monday through Friday. We’re closed on weekends, so that’s not a way to deal with an emergency situation. We do have the emergency maintenance line if you have a leak or a fire or something like that at your house, call the main office line, 678-648-1244. The first option you’ll have there is to report a maintenance emergency if it’s after hours. If you hit that button for that, that’ll send you to a 24/7, 365 call center. There’s always someone there ready to take your call and deal with whatever the maintenance emergency is. For anything other than that, use the email@example.com or the portal to communicate with us. That’s the most efficient way, it’s the best way to handle it, and then those are the reasons we do that. If you have any questions, same thing, send us an email to that email firstname.lastname@example.org we’ll be happy to answer those questions. Thanks.