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Property Manager and Owner Responsibilities

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It is easy for a property management team to feel as if they must listen to every demand and request of the property owner. After all, the property owner hired them in the first place – right? Not always.

Although it is important that a property manager strive to respect and include important stakeholders when making big decisions, there are also circumstances that should be kept to the professionals. Property owners hire property management companies for a reason.

Use this article as a guide to understand when to give in to owner demands and when it is time to let a property management firm stand their ground.

Lease Negotiations

Most property management companies come to the table with their own leasing structures. Leasing terms may need tweaked based on the property and area itself, but it is important that property management teams are able to make the final call when it comes to the ins and outs of leasing contracts.

If at any time a property owner wants to make exceptions to current leasing agreements, make sure to cover the following:

  • Ensure the leasing agreement still meets all state, county, and local leasing laws.
  • Establish a time for the property team, the affected tenant(s), and the property owner to agree on the new leasing structure and modify the lease accordingly.
  • Document everything! Even if the meeting and decisions are made in person, deliver and communicate a follow-up summary in writing.

Example of common exceptions requested by tenants and property owners:

  • Painting and acceptable paint colors
  • Minor updates to property
  • Minor maintenance to property
  • Indoor and outdoor personalization requests

Legalities

Good property managers will always do their best to respect the wishes of a property owner and negotiate to find a shared solution. The one time a property manager cannot budge? Illegal requests.

For example, a property owner may ask a property manager to alter the accounting records to reduce the amount of taxable income on the property. This is a great example of why the expertise of a property management team can be so important. Although the property owner may be completely oblivious, altering accounting records is against federal law. Not only should a property manager stand firm, but it is also a great opportunity for them to educate the property owner and explain the possible negative consequences of taking such action.

The benefits of paying less taxes are not worth being charged with tax evasion or tax fraud.

Owner Involvement

Every property owner has their own reasons for hiring a property management team. Some may hire a property team because they need their expertise, while others simply do not have the time to manage the property solo. Whatever the case, it is crucial that both the property owner and the property management team set clear expectations regarding owner involvement.

Will the property team handle all tenant screenings, maintenance requests, and leasing negotiations? Does the owner want to be involved in maintenance repairs above a certain dollar amount? Discussing these types of questions is a great first step to ensure a long-lasting, successful property partnership.

A property manager’s goal is to meet and exceed the expectations of their tenants and property owner. To make this happen, it is important that both parties are communicating regularly, communicating respectfully, and always in agreement on roles and responsibilities.

A little planning ahead of time can save a world of trouble in the long-run. The best strategy for avoiding conflict is having a plan to evade it in the first place. Both property managers and property owners bring something valuable to the table – it is just important to agree on what that looks like for the management of the property.

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