Let’s be honest: managing a rental property is a lot of work.
For an enterprising property owner, rental property is a great way to earn income–41% of US households now rent instead of own.
But if you don’t know what property management duties actually entail, you’re setting yourself up for a bad renting experience. A great property management company can help deal with many of the problems for you.
Here are eight things a property management company does to keep your property in tip-top shape.
1. Dealing with Rent Responsibilities
It’s not just about collecting the check every month, though that is a big part of it.
You’re also responsible for all of the duties surrounding rent. For example, you need to set rent at the right level to attract tenants to your property. This means you need to know the market where the property is located and know how to price competitively.
Of course, where rent is involved, you’re also in charge of handling late payments, partial payments, and other financial issues surrounding rent, and maintaining open communication with your tenants about any issues that arise.
2. Finding Good Tenants
But before you can deal with rent, you have to find tenants. Ideally, you should find good tenants who you can rely on to pay rent on time and take good care of your property.
This involves an extensive screening process–not quite Pentagon levels of intensity, but you shouldn’t be surprised by skeletons in your potential renter’s closet.
Credit checks and criminal background checks are the obvious choices, but you should also follow up with employment information to check whether the tenant reported their income accurately. You should also see if your tenant has been evicted or had issues at previous residences.
3. Marketing the Property
Part of attracting the right tenants, of course, is marketing the property so that tenants can find it. Otherwise, you don’t have any tenants to check.
The best property managers are good at finding the right online platforms and knows how to use them to represent the property’s best qualities and appeal to the right tenants.
This also includes prepping the property, taking good pictures, and knowing how to phrase your listings.
4. Maintenance and Repairs
Then, there’s the day-to-day side of property management. Specifically, maintenance and repairs.
A significant part of the property manager’s job, as part of the agreement between landlord and tenant, is to keep the property safe and habitable for the tenants who live there.
As such, they are either personally responsible for (or hire someone to handle) tasks like pest extermination, landscaping, snow removal, and trash management.
They’re also responsible for fixing issues as they arise, like leaks, electrical problems, plumbing, and other tasks necessary to keep the property in prime condition.
If you’re not sure where to start, here are six maintenance tasks you shouldn’t avoid.
5. Knowledge of Tenant-Landlord Law
The best property managers know that they can keep their property running smoothly (and avoid potential legal trouble) by maintaining up-to-date knowledge of state and national tenant-landlord laws.
For example, there are different limits on security deposits and procedures for returning a security deposit depending on what state you live in. There are also different laws regarding landlord access to a property, unconditional quit terminations, and regulations on handling abandoned property.
There are even different laws about time limits before a landlord can evict a tenant.
As a responsible, law-abiding landlord, it’s your job to understand the ins and outs of these laws before you open for business so that you can ensure your property runs smoothly.
6. Supervisory Responsibilities
If the rental property is like a workplace, then the rental property manager can be considered the boss.
As such, it is the landlord’s responsibility to supervise anyone they have working on the property.
For example, if you hire security personnel, you should ensure that they’re properly doing their job. If you hire cleaning or maintenance staff, you need to make sure they’re meeting the appropriate standards in their work.
You set their salaries, which means you’re responsible for holding them accountable if a job is done poorly.
7. Maintaining Records
It might not be what comes to mind right away, but one of the key property management responsibilities for a company like Westside Property Management is actually maintaining records.
The obvious example here is the budget, balancing the money coming in (rent) with the expenses (maintenance, utilities, landscaping, etc.). But the property manager is responsible for maintaining all important records related to the property.
For example, they should have copies of all signed leases, a comprehensive list of inspections, a record of repairs made throughout the property, rent collection records, insurance, taxes, and more.
Remember: the property is like a business, and it should have all the paperwork and records associated with a business.
8. Manages Move-Outs and Evictions
Much though property managers may not like to think about when a tenant will leave, they also have to deal with the reality of move-outs and evictions.
For the tenant, moving out involves coordinating with a moving company and a new lease, cleaning, and other tasks.
For the landlord, move-out means preparing the unit to house a new tenant. A big part of this is inspecting the unit, which will determine how much of the security deposit will go back to the tenant (and also how much cleanup and repair is required before the unit is liveable again).
Of course, tenants don’t always leave on good terms. If a tenant breaches the lease, the landlord is responsible for following the proper procedures to evict the tenant from the premises.
Making Sense of Property Management Duties
If you’re a landlord who’s just joining the renting business, figuring out the extent of your property management duties can sometimes feel overwhelming.
That’s where we come in.
Check out our blog for more tips on how to manage your property more efficiently, like these four property management skills you need.