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Landlord FAQ’s

What does a property manager do exactly?

A central role is that of liaison between the landlord and/or the management firm operating on the landlord’s behalf and the tenant. The typical responsibilities of property management include accepting rent, responding to and addressing maintenance issues, advertising vacancies for landlords, and performing credit and background checks on tenants. In exchange for the services they provide, property management companies charge landlords a percentage of the gross rent collected each month.

What else can a property manager do?

Property managers may manage construction, development, repair and maintenance on a property.

What laws are in place for property management?

There are many facets to this profession, including participating in or initiating litigation with tenants, contractors and insurance agencies. Litigation is at times considered a separate function, set aside for trained attorneys. Commonly an attorney will work under a property manager to resolve legal issues. Lawyers, property managers and tenants may be faced with any of the following legal matters: evictions, non-payment, harassment, reduction of pre-arranged services, and public nuisance.

What types of real estate do property management companies oversee?

Property managers oversee all types of properties, including homes, apartments, mobile home parks, stores, offices, industrial properties, and storage facilities.

Why should I hire a professional property management company, or real estate management company, to manage my rental property?

If you lack the time or expertise needed for day-to-day management of your commercial or residential real estate investments, an expert property manager can help you. A property management company can:

  • Market your rental property to minimize vacancies and maximize income (note: Property managers have the marketing know-how to reach potential renters and they have the experience and resources to weed out risky rental candidates)
  • Fill vacancies with the best possible tenants
  • Maintain and keep your rental property in good condition (note: Property managers handle and coordinate routine and emergency repairs.
  • They have the experience to avoid unnecessary repairs and save you money)
  • Track income and expenses to determine profitability
  • Negotiate rental agreements
  • Collect rent and track tenant deposits
  • Comply with federal, state and local laws
  • Respond to tenant requests and deal with difficult tenants

In short, property managers help you make the most from your rental property and they can save you time.

I live far from my rental property. Does it make sense for me to hire a property management company to manage my property?

A local property manager can keep an eye on your rental property to make sure that the tenants are taking good care of it. Local property managers tend to find problems sooner and correct them more efficiently. In addition, local property managers often have contractors they work with and trust for various repair jobs, which can save rental property owners money and time.

Can a property manager help me find and keep good tenants?

Often, good tenants will rent only through a reputable property manager. For tenants it is simpler to have a professional company coordinate all of the services associated with renting: viewing the property initially, negotiating and signing the lease agreement, dealing with maintenance and repairs, and making rental payments.

Can a property manager help me avoid bad tenants?

Typically, inferior tenants will target owner-managed rentals because they will not qualify for rentals managed by professional companies. Because bad tenants cannot be evicted without notice and evictions can take months and are costly, property managers will track references and do thorough credit checks on potential renters.

Will a property manager show my property?

Yes. While it may be inconvenient for you to take time to show your property, and to deal with potential renters who may not show up for their appointments, it is a property manager’s job to respond quickly to requests from potential renters to view a property. Additionally, property managers can also pre-screen potential tenants.

Can a property manager or real estate manager help me with administrative and financial details?

Yes. Generally, property managers and real estate managers handle the financial operations of the property, ensuring that rent is collected and that mortgages, taxes, insurance premiums, payroll, and maintenance bills are paid on time. In community associations, although homeowners pay no rent and pay their own real estate taxes and mortgages, community association managers must collect association dues. Some property managers, called asset property managers, supervise the preparation of financial statements and periodically report to the owners on the status of the property, occupancy rates, dates of lease expirations, and other matters.

Can a property manager help me with upkeep and maintenance of my investment property?

Yes. Property managers negotiate contracts for janitorial, security, grounds keeping, trash removal, and other services. When contracts are awarded competitively, managers solicit bids from several contractors and recommend to the owners which bid to accept. They monitor the performance of contractors and investigate and resolve complaints from residents and tenants when services are not properly provided. Managers also purchase supplies and equipment for the property and make arrangements with specialists for repairs that cannot be handled by regular property maintenance staff.

What should I look for in a property manager?

Look for experience in important areas, such as maintenance, leasing, collections, marketing, advertising, tenant relations, financial analysis and budgets, and knowledge of relevant local and state laws. In addition, many property managers are credentialed by national industry organizations, which can help you narrow your search.

What if a tenant needs evicting?

Even though a property manager will do everything possible to avoid problem tenants, if an eviction is necessary, the property manager can help you deal with the whole process, from providing the required eviction notices, to filing court documents and working with the local sheriff.

How do property managers charge for their services?

Fees are typically paid in one of two ways – commonly a percentage fee, and sometimes a flat fee. Percentage fees can be a good incentive to the manager to improve the income of the building. A flat fee may be more appropriate when the property is a condominium or a type of cooperative complex.

What is the owner’s employment relationship with the property manager?

Property owners either employ the property manager directly or they employ them indirectly through a contract with a property management firm.

Will I need a property management contract or agreement?

Regardless of the type of property, a written agreement between the owner of the property and the manager is very important, as the manager will be taking on significant responsibilities with the owner’s real estate. At the very least the contract should–

  • Identify the parties and the property
  • Specify the length of time of the contract
  • List the responsibilities and the authority of the manager
  • List the responsibilities of the owner
  • State the fees and leasing or sales commissions
  • Include the date of the agreement and the signatures of the parties