Guide for Landlords: How to Deal With a Bad Property Manager
Renting out a property sometimes goes well. You find the right tenants, they're respectful, and you might even have a great property manager who makes everything easy.
In other cases, the whole thing can become a burden. You might have destructive tenants and property managers that are no good. That can put your property at risk, add stress, and reduce your return on investment.
We’re going to talk about how to deal with a bad property manager today, exploring methods for you to take as you mend the situation. We’ll also look at landlord insurance and what it can do to safeguard you.
How to Deal With a Bad Property Manager
The first thing to note about bad property management is that it can be hard to spot.
It’s important that you lay out a clear set of expectations for your property management company before you start working together. When those expectations are set, ask the company to give back regular reports on how they're meeting their expectations.
It’s unreasonable to expect blind faith. If they're upset or unwilling to provide you with regular check-ups on their work, they might not be the company to work with.
Let’s look at some of those responsibilities. If the following expectations are not being met, let your property manager know. When they fail to comply with your expectations, it could be time to drop them and find a new company.
Leonard the CEO of Iproperty Management: "I advise people with large property portfolios to go to a reputable management company if they can afford to do so but to always check in themselves from time to time. As a landlord, managing your reputation is important, and your property manager can reflect poorly on you if there are many complaints against them."
Setting and Collecting Rent
Property managers should use market insights to set a fair rental price for your property. You can set that price for yourself as well, but setting a rate too high might deter renters or contribute to tension between you and your tenants.
The manager should also enforce the collection of rent. It’s their job to have an easy way for tenants to pay the rent. It’s always a plus if they have a rental portal on their website that lets people pay online.
They are responsible for taking care of late fees and following up on tenants who don't pay.
Note: You can also use different platforms to help manage your rentals check out some of the best one's here.
Marketing The Property
A property manager markets the house and attracts new tenants. There might be some companies that don't take care of this for you, so make sure that you ask.
Since they manage the property, they should attract tenants, screen them, run background checks, and facilitate the lease.
If you find that the property management can’t attract tenants or pushes a lot of tenants away from signing the lease, there might be something wrong. Even if everything looks good on paper, there’s something to be said about how the individuals communicate with potential tenants.
If they don't have a personable attitude, people will be a lot less likely to rent from them.
Cleaning and Maintenance
They’ll also be responsible for checking the property before and after each renter lives in the place. These inspections determine whether the tenant has damaged anything and whether their security deposit needs to cover any changes.
During the lease, they’ll be responsible for any issues. A clogged toilet, broken window, faulty heater, or anything else that occurs might have to be taken care of by your management company.
You will be responsible for paying those costs, but they are the ones who take care of the actual work. Good property managers have a maintenance employee on staff or have connections to local contractors who can do the work.
There are also seasonal maintenance factors to think about as well. For example, running HVAC inspections at regular intervals can keep the air quality safe for tenants. Some of those routine maintenance points are specified in landlord-tenant law.
Make sure to be clear about these things when you start working with the company, though, because they might not take it upon themselves if they don't have to.
Respecting Renters Laws
If you notice that the property management company breaks any laws concerning renting properties, that’s a reason to cut your relationship right away. State and federal laws apply to running background checks, interacting with active tenants, and maintaining a property for someone else to live on a property.
Further, some laws specify how a landlord can evict someone. A property management company should understand these laws and follow them strictly.If they don't follow the law, they put you and your property at legal and financial risk. The goal of property management is to make things easier and more profitable for you.
Further, they’ll give your property a bad name. If you choose to keep renting through a bad property management company, you’ll be associated with a dishonest company. That reputation can stick around.
What to Do With a Bad Property Manager
If you notice that any of these things are happening, speak with the property manager about them. In the best case, they weren't aware they were doing anything wrong, and both of you can move forward.
When the company is resistant to change, that’s a bad sign. You can place reasonable expectations on them, and most companies will adhere to those expectations.
Resistance to your wishes is a great reason to get rid of the company and find a new one. Further, if you notice that they do anything illegal, fire them as soon as you can
You might even want to report a shady property management company to the authorities, they can easily violate privacy, lie to you, and put your property at risk.
"I work with property managers on a daily basis. If your property manager isn't keeping up with your contracted terms then first let them know where they could improve. If they continue to not meet the deliverables, then search for another property manager. This should be the last resort as sometimes expectations are not met because of a lack of communication. It's easier to fix a relationship rather than find a new one!" Paul Stein at Trusted House Painter.
Getting Landlord Insurance
A bad property management company can also add to the risk that your property will be damaged or mistreated. Tenants might care less about the quality of your home, the company itself might make costly mistakes, or worse.
In any case, it’s wise to have landlord insurance regardless of your property management company. It’s essential to be covered if something happens to the home, you have legal problems with a tenant, or your homeowner’s insurance doesn’t take care of what it needs to.
If you have homeowner’s insurance alone, your provider probably won’t cover any damages you incur while the home is rented out to someone else. This is something to check with your homeowner’s provider about, but it’s often the case that long-term rental damages aren’t covered.
Further, renting puts you at risk of being sued for injuries that occur on your property. Maybe there’s a faulty stair, and someone slips. The management company’s job was to fix that stair, but you may be liable for those injuries.
Landlord insurance offers some protection in that respect as well.
Landlord insurance usually comes with a duty to defend clause, giving you coverage for legal representation in issues with tenants. That’s a critical factor, considering there’s almost no limit to the potential legal costs of being sued or requiring a lawyer in general.
Another beautiful thing about good landlord insurance is that it covers your lost income when the property is unlivable. Whether it’s the rental company or an unruly tenant, there’s always a chance for things to go very wrong.
Some renters make a habit of causing damage, while some live in such a way that makes your home uninhabitable after they're gone.
In most cases, though, a natural disaster or unforeseen event will make a house uninhabitable. When that happens, your landlord insurance might cover the lost income when the tenant moves out.
Depending on the situation, those costs could add up to a considerable sum.
You take on a risk when you introduce a property management company of any kind into the situation. The same goes for bringing in tenants. Make sure that you’re covered through landlord insurance if any of those risks end up coming full circle.
Want to Learn More?
Getting landlord insurance to account for bad property management is just one aspect of being a landlord. There’s a lot more to learn, and it can get complicated. We’re here to help, though.
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