The Nature of the Relationship
Contracting someone to manage your residential property is like using an accountant or lawyer to manage your business affairs.
Many landlords expect their property manager to receive rent on their behalf, find suitable tenants, handle maintenance, and deal with disputes and termination issues. In essence, the property manager becomes the landlordís agent, looking after their investment.
Selecting a Property Manager
When selecting a property manager, consider asking the following questions:
|What are your
||Are you a specialised
property manager or a real estate agent who also does property
||How long have you been a
property manager in the area?
||Do you personally invest
in the area?
||How many staff do you
||Are you affiliated with
any particular professional body with a code of ethics?
||What are the roles of
your staff? Do you have staff specifically responsible for
finding good tenants?
||What resources do you
have for managing property over holiday periods?
||How many properties does
your business manage, and what percentage is currently vacant?
||What is the average
length of time it takes to fill a vacancy in the area?
||What computer system and
software do you use?
||May I see an example of a
monthly reporting package?
||Have you appeared in
Tenancy Tribunal cases? If so, what happened?
||What kind of insurance
coverage do you have? Is there any fidelity fund coverage?|
|How close is the property
managerís business to your property?
||How organised and tidy
are their offices?
||Do they present
||What does their website
look like? Is the content consistent with what they say when
you meet them?|
Take time to carefully check and agree on the property managerís responsibilities. You need to agree on all terms and conditions and clarify any queries at the outset to avoid problems later. You should always record your understanding in writing.
When developing the property management agreement, consider the following:
|What fee structure will
they charge? Does it fall within the average of 7.5 Ė 8.5
percent fee on rental received? What other costs does the
manager expect you to pay in advance?
||How often will they
report to you? What is included in the report? What is the
format of reporting? Do they offer online services?
||How will the property be
marketed to attract tenants? Who pays for marketing costs?
||What does their tenant
selection process include?
||What facilities do they
have for dealing with tenant issues, and any questions or
emergencies outside office hours?
||Will they provide market
rent information? Will they alert you to the need for a rent
review as part of their monthly reporting services? Will they
have sole discretion to impose a rent review or will they need your
||How often will they
inspect the property?
||What process do they
follow when a rent payment is late?
||Which kinds of
maintenance tasks are handled by the manager in-house? Which
tasks require outside contractors? Can they show you a list of
preferred or accredited service providers for maintenance work?
||What is their process for
getting quotes for maintenance and repair work?
||How do they provide
contractors access to the property during the tenancy?
||Upon termination of the
tenancy, how do they manage bond refunds and property inspections?|