Professional property managers are indispensable for rental investors who lack the time or inclination to take a hands-on approach to managing their rental properties. For those who live far away, travel frequently, or guard their privacy, hiring an experienced property manager actually can pay for itself.
However, landlords who want to take a more active role still can maintain profitable rental investments by following some of these tricks of the trade:
The greatest asset that an experienced property manager possesses is the ability to find good tenants. That requires professionalism when it comes to tenant screening. For instance, a professional knows to:
Treat every applicant the same. Don’t look for specific personal characteristics, like young or old, male or female, single or married, but rather for qualifications — sufficient income, decent credit, and good rental history.
Verify the information on the rental application to weed out any applicants who are providing false info.
Check references, especially previous and current landlord.
Run a credit report on the chosen applicant.
Track applicants in the event someone later complains about discrimination.
A professional property manager knows that, in order to track any damage to the unit, it must be in good condition when the new tenant moves in.
A move in inspection report will be required to prove if a tenant causes damage. In addition, receipts for repairs will be required to make a monetary claim against a tenant.
The best way to manage tenants is to spell out the rules, and make sure tenants are aware of what they can and cannot do. Rules should be reviewed at lease signing, and again at a new tenant orientation. Tenants should have a copy of the rules or easy access via a website or social media.
Expect tenant complaints from time to time, and deal with them as soon as possible to avoid any further escalation or frustration on the part of tenants.
Repairs and Maintenance
Professionals know that repairs and maintenance are a significant piece in the rental management game. Managers have:
A system for tenants to report repairs. This system will include a way to track when complaints or requests are made, and the final disposition.
A network of contractors and vendors who will be making repairs. This preferred client status allows for quick response during emergencies, often provides warranties on work performed, and allows managers or landlords to vet the workers who will be given access to a tenant’s personal space.
An onsite presence or make frequent visits in order to monitor the condition of the property.
Move Out Process
Professional property managers keep a calendar that shows tenant move-out dates. Tenants are then contacted well in advance to determine if the tenant plans to stay or exit.
Experienced managers will perform move out inspections in order to track any damage to the unit.
Managers understand all the legal requirements for handling security deposits, including deadlines for returning deposit funds, interest calculations and accounting, and how to make a claim against a deposit.
Eviction and Dispute Resolution
Professional property managers hope for the best but plan for the worst. That requires contemporaneous documentation of all aspects of the individual tenancy as well as written policies to show overall management practices.
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Disclaimer: The information provided in this post in not intended to be construed as legal advice, nor should it be considered a substitute for obtaining individual legal counsel or consulting your local, state, federal or provincial tenancy laws.