How to… find a property manager

Good property managers offer landlords a win-win: not only do they reduce the number of hours that a landlord needs to spend looking after his or her property, they can also be a cheaper option in the long run. A property manager’s expertise can help simplify the traditional headaches for landlords: working with tenants, ensuring rent or service charges are paid on time and keeping up with necessary maintenance work. These are all reasons why it is essential you should find a property manager well versed in the renting sector.

When looking for a new property manager, always ensure that you begin sourcing candidates from a regulatory body or a recommendation from another landlord. However, property managers are not all the same and different companies will offer different levels of service. Therefore, it is essential that landlords hire property managers who offer them the correct services for their needs. In particularly, it is crucial that a landlord understands details like whether a property manager solely deals with long-term lettings, or whether they offer short-term letting services too.

Any good property manager should know their local area. Make sure that you ask any potential property manager about the history of the area that your property is in. This will give you a better understanding of their ability to deal with commons issues. It is always worth thinking about what questions a would-be tenant would ask and putting those to any potential property manager.

The managing agent is the main point of contact for tenants and therefore it is important that more than just being competent in legal and financial matters, the way in which an agent conducts themselves reflects upon the landlord. Telephone manner and email correspondence are a key method in which agents and tenants interact, therefore be sure to get a full scope of their manner as it could often reflect badly upon the landlord. Responsiveness and speed are often as important as the ensuing actions.

It is also important to understand the breakdown of costs to ensure you maximise the service you receive. Property managers will charge between 7% to 10% of the rent. However, always consider whether the smallest percentage is the best in the long term; property managers might also ask for additional fees. Furthermore, with the introduction of the Tenant Fees Act, landlords are limited in the scope of charges they can make to tenants and therefore managing agents may look to recoup these costs from the landlord. For example, many good property managers will ensure that they pay regular visits to the tenant to ensure that the property is in good stead. Make sure that you are not caught out by this being a paid extra outside of the standard service.

Likewise, make sure that you know how property managers intend to deal with repair and maintenance work. Often, managers will want to manage maintenance decisions up to a certain cost. Ensure that you are happy with this threshold before committing to a property manager.

Finding a good property manager can make a landlord’s life easier whilst significantly reducing the cost of renting out a property. It is always sensible to make the investment in a good property manager — it will be in your interest in the long term.

Written by Israel Moskovitz, first appeared on my Medium profile.

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