Property management involves much more than just collecting rent and paying taxes. It encompasses maintenance and repairs, upkeep and beautification, and tenant relationship management. Maintenance and improvements are necessary to protect the value of the property, while other duties include advertising vacancies and showing properties, screening tenant applicants, handling bookkeeping and recordkeeping, and dealing with maintenance vendors.
Three of the most important areas a property manager needs to excel in to be successful are recognizing the need for maintenance and improvements, dealing with vacancies, and knowing when to hire someone for repairs or handle them on a DIY basis.
Maintenance and Improvements
In his book “The CompleteLandlord.com Ultimate Property Management Handbook,” William A. Lederer describes maintenance and repairs as one of the biggest property manager jobs. H
e says property managers have some options when it comes to maintenance. They can do it themselves, use contractors and professional services, or a combination of the two, doing small jobs themselves and hiring others for bigger work. Property mana
gers are responsible for providing the general maintenance, preventative maintenance, and emergency repairs that safeguard property values and tenant safety and comfort. It will be important for property managers with more than one property to develop good relationships with service professionals who provide 24-hour maintenance and emergency property services at fair rates.
Dealing with Vacancies
A waiting list of tenants who want to rent is preferable to chronically vacant properties. Marketing pro
perty rentals depends on advertising where tenants look when they need to move, word of mouth, and offering tenant incentives such as lease signing bonuses or discounts and referral awards.
One of the best ways to avoid problems with tenants and resulting vacancies is to use good tenant screening procedures. Property managers should never take a prospective tenant’s word on financial and reference information. They should check income, credit, references, and backgrounds in compliance with fair housing laws. Services such as AAOA Tenant Information Checker help property managers check out tenants quickly and easily.
Lederer says property managers need to be knowledgeable about fair housing and landlord/tenant laws when dealing with tenants and potential renters. Property managers must be careful to use leases and rental agreements specific to the state and local laws that apply to their locations and should have an attorney review all contracts before using them with tenants.
Contractor or DIY
Property managers and landlords must follow housing codes and laws regarding property maintenance, but deciding how maintenance will be handled depends on a few factors. Property managers working from long distances or different states than where the property is located may have no choice but to hire service professionals to perform maintenance and repairs. If they live on the property or nearby, do-it-yourself can be an economical option, especially for preventive maintenance tasks such as regular inspections of plumbing, lighting, hallways and stairs, front and back entrances, and any common areas such as laundry facilities or courtyards.
However a property manager decides to handle maintenance and repairs, an organized, efficient process is the most effective way to keep up maintenance. A schedule of preventive maintenance tasks and budget for maintenance and repairs keeps costs and tasks under control. Fannie Mae recommends allocating two percent of the property value annually for these costs. (1,3)
Yours in #multifamily, _Trevor