The Roles, Responsibilities and Duties of a Property Manager
Whether you’re thinking of hiring a property manager, or starting a career in property management, understanding the full range of property management duties is absolutely necessary. Generally, a property manager is hired when the property owner would like to outsource some or all of the responsibilities associated with keeping their rental property running. This includes basic tasks, but can also involve taking reigns over the entire operational process at the property. Below are a few of the most common duties property managers perform.
Assisting with tenant turnover
Residential leases are commonly six to twelve months in most markets. This naturally results in multiple vacancies every year. Property managers are responsible for turning over past tenant units in order to have them restored to rent-ready condition. They may also suggest any unit improvements that could be made to justify a rent increase. A property manager will also enforce move out dates, collect keys, and refund security deposits, as necessary.
Attracting Potential Tenants
Filling vacant units by attracting new tenants is vital to an ongoing real estate business. However, it can often be one of the most difficult tasks. Many owners are happy to hand over the duty of marketing and showing off units to potential tenants, allowing them to focus on other aspects of the business. Property managers who are proficient in the local market will know exactly when, where, and how to advertise vacant units within a property.
Screening New Tenants
Depending on the property, the owner will have specific requirements they like tenants to meet before signing off on a lease. Owners will also require tenants to present documents such as pay stubs, bank statements, and credit reports to confirm certain criteria on their renter’s application. The property manager will be responsible for reviewing this paperwork and other information as part of the screening process.
Securing the Property
Property management includes creating a secure environment that satisfies tenants and owners. When renters feel protected, tenant retention drastically improves and property managers can justify increasing monthly rates. They will often contract security guards, implement security devices and safeguards, or both, to emphasize safety on the premises. Property managers are also tasked with creating plans and procedures that build preparedness for emergencies that may occur.
Setting and Collecting Rent
While property managers are often responsible for attracting tenants, the duties of setting and collecting rent from those tenants are just as important. For this reason, property managers should have a firm grasp on the market and how similar units are priced. Additionally, keeping track of rent payments and tenant account balances is a fairly time-consuming task, which is why property managers will usually take this on. They are usually responsible for defining and setting processing, such as online payment methods, for collecting rent from tenants.
Handling Tenant Complaints
Meeting with tenants and handling complaints via email and phone is one of the most common duties of property management. In large, multi-unit dwellings, property managers field dozens of tenant queries ranging from maintenance concerns to noise complaints. Handling tenant emergencies, such as water leaks and heat loss, may also fall under the duties of a property manager.
Between calculating repair costs, depreciation, rental income, and a variety of other cash flow events, financial management of a residential property can get complex quickly. Property managers are usually responsible for maintaining the property budget while also striving for financial objectives set forth by the owner. The duties of property management also include taking corrective action to ensure the budget remains on track.
Coordinating Maintenance and Repairs
While speaking with clients is a major role in property management, directing and supervising maintenance and repairs teams is also very important. Most tenants will require repairs at some point during the duration of their lease agreement. It is the responsibility of the property manager to coordinate with repair teams to resolve tenant issues. General maintenance of the property is necessary as well. Tasks such as landscaping, paints, and snow removal, in colder climates, will all fall under the property manager. They will be responsible for outsourcing this work and ensuring it gets done affordably and promptly.
Enforcing Local Tenant-Landlord Laws
Property managers should understand the specific market in order to enforce laws pertaining to the tenant-landlord relationship. They also ensure both tenants and landlords are acting within their rights under the laws. Staying on top of the local legislature regarding evictions, lease terminations, security deposits, and property safety standards all fall under the duties of property management.
The property manager’s primary role is to act as the liaison between renters and property owner. This makes strong communication between the property manager and owner invaluable. Property management duties and responsibilities involve actively communicating income, expenses, maintenance requirements, and any other pertinent issues surrounding the operations of the property. The manager is essentially the ‘eyes and ears on the ground’ while the owner can take a hands-off approach and focus his time on other endeavors. However, the manager must possess quality communication skills to keep the owner informed about the performance of their investment property.
As you can see, property management duties and responsibility heavily resemble those of the owner. A good property manager can provide structure and processes to an inexperienced real estate investment, while a bad example can result in the demise of the business altogether. When searching for your next property manager, be sure to keep these common duties and responsibilities in mind.