What Is a Property Manager Responsible For?

Tenant Screening, Collecting Rent and Property Maintenance

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© The Balance, 2018

If a landlord wants help taking care of the daily responsibilities at their rental property, he or she can hire a property manager. A property manager can be hired for one simple task, such as collecting rent, or can be completely responsible for the operations at the rental property.

Their exact responsibilities will vary based on the type of property they are managing, the amount they are getting paid and the terms of the management contract.

Here are seven important roles a property manager can take on.

1. Responsible for Managing Rent

Collecting rent is a basic responsibility of any landlord. Therefore, it is one of the most common jobs a landlord will pass on to a property manager. A property manager's rent responsibilities could include:

  • Setting Rent: The property manager would set the right rent level to attract tenants to your property. To determine the rent range, the property manager will look the market where the property is located and analyze comparable properties in the area.
  • Collecting Rent: The property manager will set up a system for collecting rent from tenants. To ensure optimal cash flow they will set a date to collect rent each month and strictly enforcing late fees.
  • Adjusting Rent: The property manager can increase the rent each year, according to individual state and/or municipal law. They can also decrease the rent if they feel it is necessary.

2. Responsible for Managing Tenants

Managing tenants is another core responsibility of a property manager. The property manager may be involved in finding and screening prospective tenants, managing daily complaints and maintenance issues and handing tenant move outs and evictions.

  • Finding Tenants: Property managers are responsible for filling vacancies. They will advertise the rental and create a compelling ad. They also understand what attracts tenants, so they can offer tips to help makeover the property.
  • Screening Tenants: Property managers should have a consistent screening process, including running credit checks and criminal background checks, which can decrease your chances of tenant turnover. 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: This can include setting the lease term and making sure it has all the necessary clauses to protect the owner. This includes determining the amount of security deposit required.
  • Handling Complaints/Emergencies: The property manager may deal with maintenance requests, noise complaints and handling 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.

3. Maintenance and Repairs Roles

The property manager must keep the property in safe and habitable condition. Property managers are responsible for the physical management of the property, including regular maintenance and emergency repairs.

  • Property Maintenance: This includes 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 fix the problem or hire someone else to do it. They often have a large network of reliable plumbers, electricians, carpenters and other contractors.

4. Knowledge of Landlord-Tenant Law

Good property managers have an in-depth 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

5. Supervising Responsibilities

  • 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.

6. Responsible for Managing the Budget/Maintaining Records

Property managers can be responsible for managing the budget for the building and for maintaining all important 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 judgment 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.

7. 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.