What’s a Property Manager and do I need one?

Hiring a Property Manager

Property management is a loose term that can be applied to many aspects which come with the responsibility of owning land or property. This ranges from the upkeep of the property, i.e. building repairs and maintenance, to collecting rental fees from occupants, dealing with the payments of all outgoings, and insurance and supervision for any staff that may be employed on these premises. These last points mainly occur to larger properties and estates, where a property manager is required by the landlord as they do not have previous experience or they are not able to cope with the workload which this entails. The proprietor may only give part responsibility to the agent, or may delegate all the tasks to them.

Property management services also include the buying and selling of property, as well as negotiating with current tenants or looking for prospective tenants. Looking after rental properties is one of the main tasks of this type of management; these can range from rural to urban dwellings.

When would I need to employ a property management agent?

This situation would usually occur if you had property which you wanted to rent out but did not know what the procedures, laws and best ways to go about this were. It also applies if a person owns a large estate or property and cannot manage all the smaller properties on this land which they would like to rent out alone.

What does a property management agent do?

As with the role of management in any business, a property manager is responsible for all the tasks that come with the ownership of real estate.

  • The most important role which they assume is the acting liaison between the proprietor of the property and the tenants who are renting it from him or her.
  • One of the main tasks which the agent assumes is responsibility for all aspects of the litigation in these circumstances. Sometimes a separate solicitor with more specific knowledge may be required, and some property management companies will have a solicitor working within their team instead of them dealing with the legal aspects themselves. However, all agents are trained in what the regular legal proceedings are in most cases, and this situation is therefore not that common. These proceedings include Landlord and Tenant law, situations such as evictions, non-payment, harassment, changes to the pre-arranged services and if squatters ever inhabit the property.
  • The agent is also responsible for ensuring that all maintenance repairs are carried out on the properties.

These are all areas which the agent, as the acting liaison between the landlord and tenant, has to deal with thus they must be up-to-date with current laws and practices.

  • If the property is a commercial one, then the agent will be responsible for the hiring and firing of any employers who come to work here. They may be given sole responsibility of this, or the proprietor may wish to be active in these processes.
  • The property management agency will also be responsible for advertising your property and trying to acquire interest into it. They will produce particulars about the property, which will require them coming to inspect the property and conducting a survey of it so that an accurate description can be produced. In this way, some of the duties of a property management agent are similar to that of an estate agent or surveyor.

What qualifications should I look for?

If you are looking for a property manager to manage your rural property and land then you will need to employ a chartered surveyor, also referred to as a land agent. These agents will need to be accredited by the Royal Institute of Chartered Surveyors, which means they will have been examined by the terms of this institute. All surveyors who graduate from such colleges become MRICS. Recently there has been a qualification produced by The Association of Residential Lettings Agents called the Technical Award in Residential Lettings and Property Management (TARLPM). For urban lettings you should ensure that your agent is qualified under these conditions.

Where can I find one?

  • There are many property management businesses which situate themselves on the high street and will answer your queries on a walk-in basis.
  • If you are buying a large area of land or property with the desire to rent some or all of it out, then often your estate agent will be able to advise a suitable and recommended property management company who will be able to deal with your situation. Often larger firms will deal with all aspects of property and so you will sometimes find that if a business has an estate agent sector, it will also have a property management division.
  • The best way of finding an agent is by looking at The Royal Institute of Chartered Surveyors website which gives you a list of all agents who are MRICS. This means that all agents whose details you obtain will be sufficiently qualified, although you will not know their reputation.
  • The Association of Residential Letting Agents also provides a list of agents who are members of this association.
  • An alternative way to find an agent is to go by recommendations and word-of-mouth from other people who have employed property management services, which ensures that you know that this agent is reliable and trustworthy.

How much will it cost?

The agent’s fee will usually be a percentage of the rent which they manage to collect. This means that they work almost on a commission basis. The agent will be motivated to make sure that the properties are filled for the maximum time that they can be, ensure that the changeover time between tenants is kept to a minimum, and to guarantee that all maintenance repairs are done to the property so that none of the tenants will withhold rent etc. Some proprietors may withdraw some of the maintenance repair costs from the agent’s fee if it was caused by something which they overlooked, for example damp due to them not repairing tiles on the roof. The fee usually falls at around 3-10 percent of the landlord’s gross rent which is collected each month.

What should I ask my agent?

  • What are the chances of finding a tenant for my property?
  • Will you deal with aspects of litigation yourself or hire a solicitor?
  • What are your fees?
  • Are you appropriately accredited?

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