The tasks that your property management team handles can have a huge impact on the success of your rental properties. They range from checking in with tenants, to making repairs around the property and of course, rent collection. It's important for each member of the team to be aware of what work they're responsible for and also track their progress so that you know what the status of their work is and how much time is spent on each task. This helps forecast team resources in the future. That's why we recommend using a task-tracking and shared inbox app like DoneDone to help you stay organized!
This post is to help both property managers and rental property owners focus on the most important tasks and help you implement processes to stay organized, keep your tenants happy and your properties rented.
Before we talk about a property manager's responsibilities, let's discuss why they're important and what happens when tasks are left undone. Tenant complaints can cause a loss of rental income. Poorly managed property management teams often don't know what is expected and won't be able to meet deadlines, leading to a decrease in profit because of vacant rental units. Make sure that there are clear guidelines for response times for tenant requests and communicate the consequences if they are not met, like vacant units and loss of rental income because you're not able to retain good tenants.
Finding new tenants is often a difficult process for property managers. It can be time consuming, tedious and overwhelming. We'll cover the most important tasks from attracting tenants, making sure they're well qualified and then executing a well written lease and onboarding them to their new home.
I'll assume you already know the basics. We all know to post an ad online or on social media. That's not the hard part.
In order to attract good tenants, you need to make sure your rental is in tip-top shape before you put it on the market.
The most important things that people look at when they're looking at potential properties are usually cleanliness and safety. A renter will be much more likely to rent if these two factors meet their standards.
Your rental ad should present your rental unit as well maintained, clean and safe with high quality photos to prove it. Detailed, clear information about the property should touch on everything prospective tenants would want to know. Don't make them search for answers.
The goal is to make prospective tenants want to rent your property and have them fill out a rental application right away!
With rental applications in hand, it's time for property managers to start screening tenants.
You want to make sure you identify new renters that will be a good fit for your property. The screening process should include an in-person meeting with prospective tenants and property managers, credit checks, and other background checks. You should also do a property walk-thru with prospective tenants so they understand the ins and outs of your rental property.
First impressions are vital when it comes to prospective renters. This is where prospective tenants get to see firsthand if they feel comfortable enough to move into your property on a long-term basis. It's important that they walk away from the screening process convinced they would be happy living at your rental property.
The goal with this process is to find tenants that you can trust. You want to be able to rely on them as a long-term resident, not worry about having to chase after rent payments and repair damages.
The screening process is also a good opportunity for tenants to get comfortable with their future landlords.
A prospective tenant should feel comfortable asking questions and speaking up about what they're looking for in a property. This will help you understand their needs and build their confidence in you as a property manager and begin to nurture a healthy landlord tenant relationship.
It's extremely important to always have a lease agreement with your tenants. This protects both property managers and rental owners from unnecessary liability. It also sets clear responsibilities for tenants and property management teams alike.
Creating an effective lease agreement is vital to maintaining good relationships between property managers, renters, and landlords. The best way to do this is to be transparent about expectations on all sides of the relationship while being fair and reasonable at the same time.
It's important that a property manager provides clear instructions and expectations to the tenants in their lease terms. A property manager should include their property management company info in their lease, contact information for both property managers and owners, property descriptions, as well as policies on pets, smoking, parking spots, etc.
The property management company should also provide information on the property inspections that will happen each month or year depending on the needs of the property. The property management company should detail any changes in fees that need to be paid by the tenant around maintenance or rent increase.
A property manager should provide clear instructions about how to communicate with them and when. This is especially important if a tenant has concerns about disruptions in services or repairs.
We recommend using a shared inbox and ticketing app to handle all maintenance requests and client communications. This ensures communication transparency across the entire team and tracks the status of each tenant inquiry all in one place.
The property management team should always be welcoming and attentive to the needs of the new tenants. This includes greeting them upon their arrival, answering any questions, and making suggestions for restaurants and things to do in the area. It is also important to provide an orientation tour as well as property documents detailing collecting rent, security deposits and how to submit maintenance requests.
The property manager is the first person tenants will encounter when they visit their new home. The property manager should always be on time to greet people in a professional manner, and should take any inquiries from current or new tenants seriously. They are there for your tenants after all! Early communication can go a long way towards alleviating concerns, answering questions and preventing tenant complaints.
As part of the onboarding process, property managers should be sure to provide the tenant with an orientation tour of their space. This includes showing them their unit, how to use appliances and where things are located in the building. The property manager should also be prepared to answer any questions tenants might have about the community and how to submit maintenance requests.
For property owners and their property managers who are collecting rent, it's important to maintain accurate records of rent payments and any other received funds. Without accurate rent collection records, collecting delinquent rent or deducting legitimate fees from a tenant's security deposit can be difficult. It's crucial to record the amount collected, the date received and allocate the payment to the appropriate account like rent, pet fees or other expenses.
The best way to keep accurate records is to create these records electronically. This can usually be achieved through signing up for an online software like QuickBooks or using a mobile app. Tenants are able to pay rent using the app. They can also log in and view their payment history, the amount they owe and their balance.
This ensures payment records are always up to date and creates transparency between the tenant, property manager and property owner.
These records can also be leveraged in the unfortunate event that you need to collect overdue rent from your tenant.
For example, if you need to collect delinquent rent for the months of July and August, you can use these records to list out which payments have been made and compare that with what is due by the tenant.
Property maintenance and repairs are just facts of life when it comes to investment properties. There's just no way around that. General repairs come in two forms - property maintenance that you've planned and budgeted for and repairs that you did not. The former is preferred to the latter.
Preventative property maintenance is a critical task for all rental properties. Property managers must have a good understanding of what to look for in terms of signs of wear and tear or signs that your property is at risk. A good understanding about the preventive maintenance that you'll need to undertake will help you in budgeting for the repairs and staying on top of the cost.
What should property managers look for?
A professional property manager understands what to look for when it comes to the risks of neglected or deferred maintenance. Some things you should look out for are:
- standing water from roof leaks that causes damage to your property - if you have a flat roof, make sure you inspect it on a regular basis
- rotting wood materials including window frames, cladding and fencing
- storm windows or doors that don't close properly or become warped over time, making them difficult to use or catch cold drafts
- gutters and down spouts that don't drain properly can lead to mold or mildew in your bedroom
Items like this can be budgeted for and addressed before they can cause serious damage to your investment property. Plan ahead so that you can prevent costly repairs or replacements.
Unlike maintenance, emergencies and other unforeseeable repairs can have a devastating impact on your investment property. So what can you do to mitigate the impact of unforeseeable events?
You want to be prepared for the most difficult and expensive repairs that can happen. These are emergencies, like a sewage backup or burst pipes, or unforeseeable problems, like roof leaks from a weather event.
Emergency property repairs can be expensive and disruptive. Planning ahead can help save you thousands of dollars and maybe even your investment in the end.
Planning your emergency repairs is an investment that pays off for both you and your tenants. While you can't predict what will happen, you can prepare for how your property management firm reacts.
As property managers, we need to consider what emergencies could happen on our properties and how we would handle them. Emergencies and unplanned repairs can have an impact on your property management business and potentially your investment. Here are a few ideas of what you can do to prepare for emergency repairs.
It's not always possible to foresee every type of repair. But you can prepare your property management firm on how they will react by planning ahead. By doing this, you'll be prepared for emergencies that may arise on your properties and keep both your property owner and your impacted tenants relatively happy in a difficult situation.
We know we've covered a lot here. That's why it's critical to keep these tasks and workflows in a single app that your entire team can use. Don't rely on messy email chains, stick notes and your own failing memory.
Start a trial of DoneDone and see how we help you simplify property management. Whether it’s prioritizing work, communicating with team members and property owners, or keeping track of their progress on tasks - DoneDone will keep your whole team focused on the task at hand instead of worrying about what they need to do next. Make sure that nothing falls through the cracks and start a free trial of DoneDone today!