What Is a Property Manager?
Learn What a Property Manager Is Responsible For
You may know that property managers exist, but you might not know what exactly a property manager does. A property manager is a third party who is hired to handle the daily operations of a real estate investment. They can manage all types of properties, from single family homes to large apartment complexes.
The responsibilities of a property manager will vary based on their salary and the specific terms of their management contract, but can include the following:
Responsible for Rent
Property managers are responsible for setting the initial rent level, collecting rent from tenants and adjusting the rent.
- Setting Rent- the property manager knows how to set the right rent level to attract tenants to your property. They have an understanding of the market where the property is located and have looked at comparable properties in the area.
- Collecting Rent- they play the role of the enforcer. They ensure optimal cash flow by setting a date to collect rent each month and strictly enforcing late fees.
- Adjusting Rent- the property manager can increase the rent by a fixed percentage each year, according to individual state and/or municipal law. They can also decrease the rent if they deem necessary.
Responsible for Tenants
- Finding Tenants- property managers are responsible for marketing the property to fill vacancies. They know where to advertise and what to include in their ads. They also understand what attracts tenants, so they can suggest making cosmetic improvements to help makeover the property.
- Screening Tenants- they are responsible for sorting through the prospective tenant applications to find the tenant that is the best fit for your property. They have a consistent screening process, including running credit checks and criminal background checks, which can decrease your chances of being accused of discrimination. Experienced property managers have seen hundreds, even thousands, of tenants, so they have a better idea of how to select the right tenants; those who will pay their rent on time, have a longer tenancy and create fewer problems.
- Handling Leases- they are responsible for setting the length of the lease and making sure it has all the necessary provisions to protect the owner. This includes determining the amount of security deposit required.
- Handling Complaints/Emergencies- they are paid to deal with maintenance requests, noise complaints and have the necessary contacts to handle emergency situations.
- Handling Move Outs-when a tenant moves out, the manager is responsible for inspecting the unit, checking for damages and determining what portion of the security deposit will be returned to the tenant. After move out, they are responsible for cleaning the unit, repairing any damages and finding a new tenant.
- Dealing With Evictions –when a tenant does not pay rent or otherwise breaches the terms of a lease, the property manager understands the proper way to file and move forward with an eviction.
Responsible for Maintenance and Repairs
Property managers are responsible for the physical management of the property, including regular maintenance and emergency repairs.
- Maintenance- they are in charge of performing preventative property maintenance to keep the property functioning in top condition. For example, they are personally in charge of, or must hire someone to, exterminate, check for leaks, landscape, shovel snow and remove trash. This maintenance aims to keep current tenants happy and attract new tenants.
- Repairs-when there is an issue, the property manager must attend to it themselves or must hire someone to attend to it. They often have a large network of reliable plumbers, electricians, carpenters and other contractors.
Responsible for Knowledge of Landlord-Tenant Law
Good property managers have a thorough knowledge of statewide and national laws regarding the proper ways to:
- Screen a tenant
- Handle security deposits
- Terminate a lease
- Evict a tenant
- Comply with property safety standards
Responsible for Supervising
- Other Employees- if there are other employees in the property, such as a concierge or security personnel, the property manager is responsible for making sure they are doing their job. The property manager can set their salaries and even fire them.
- Vacant Properties- property managers are often hired to look after vacant properties to make sure there has been no vandalism and to perform routine maintenance. They also make sure contractors and other repairmen are completing their work in a timely manner.
Responsible for Managing the Budget/Maintaining Records
Property managers are responsible for managing the budget for the building and maintaining all pertinent records.
- Managing Budget- the manager must operate within the set budget for the building. In certain emergency situations when the occupants (tenants) or physical structure (investment property) are in danger, they may use their discretion to order repairs or likewise without concern for the budget.
- Maintaining Records- the property manager should keep thorough records regarding the property. This should include all income and expenses; list of all inspections, signed leases, maintenance requests, any complaints, records of repairs, costs of repairs, maintenance costs, record of rent collection and insurance costs.
Responsible for Taxes
- The property manager can assist the property owner with understanding how to file taxes for the investment property.
- The property manager can also file taxes for the property.