A top responsibility of a property manager is preserving and increasing the value of owner properties. They should be quickly addressing tenant issues and requests while providing owners with a transparent system of how their money is being spent. The best property managers accomplish this with their internal staff and their network of qualified and licensed vendors whom they trust.
Some issues should be discussed and reviewed with a prospective property manager:
• How does the property manager track incoming resident maintenance requests and the subsequent work orders?
A property manager should have a system that efficiently answers tenant maintenance requests and tenants should be able to submit their requests online.
• How are after hours maintenance requests and emergencies handled and who handles them?
There should be someone qualified available at all times to handle tenant emergency requests.
• What system do they have in place to practice preventative maintenance?
Preventative maintenance is the means by which a property manager maintains the value of your property and avoids letting small issues become larger and more expensive problems later on. This involved predefined maintenance, inspection schedules, and promptly addressing known issues.
• Do they have their own maintenance crew?
Maintenance crews should be covered by workers compensation, licensed, bonded, insured, and available 24/7/365.
• What contractors do they work with?
Contractors should also be covered by workers compensation, licensed, bonded, and insured. Does the management company oversee the contractors’ work for quality, code compliance and cost effectiveness? Some owners like to take the extra step of researching the primary vendors that will be used to make sure there are no red flags.
• Do they have any conflicts of interest with their vendors?
Relationships should be solely based on good work and best price. Vendors reward management companies for their business, but this should be in the form of discounted rates, which benefit the owner, rather than "referral bonuses" that go to the management firm.
• What rules do they have in place regarding contractors entering occupies properties?
Property managers should have a well established policy.
• Do they provide itemized statements with receipts for the work performed?
Every property management company should be able to provide the owner with solid documentation of where their money is going. This adds accountability and transparency to the billing process.
• Do they let tenants perform repairs?
Tenants perform inferior quality work, and their lack of insurance coverage, liability or workers compensation could leave you liable in the event of an accident or injury. If tenant repairs are not allowed, make sure it is written into the rental agreement. If you are comfortable allowing them, at least have the tenant sign a waiver and agree that the repairs must be approved by the manager.
• Do they allow tenants to hire their own handyman?
The rental agreement should also prohibit this for it can be the cause of certain issues or problems.
• What recurring maintenance tasks do they expect the tenant to perform?
This is not considered a liability hazard although providing these services eliminates the issue of tenant neglect and can improve tenant satisfaction which helps with retention.
• What is involved in their process for preparing a property to be re-rented after a tenant has vacated? How long does this process take?
The property should get the standard cleaning, paint job, and re-keying. This is also a good time to consider strategic improvements that will maximize rental revenue. Property managers should be able to offer effective feedback.