Property Management 101: Everything you need to know

Property Management 101: Everything you need to know

Rental property management is something that will always come into your mind as a landlord starting your property investment journey.

Deciding whether to self-manage your rental property (or properties) or hire a property manager is one of many big decisions you’ll face and questions you’ll ask.

 

What does a property manager do?

 

Essentially, a property manager’s role is to bridge the gap between you as a landlord and the tenants living in your properties.

A good property manager’s duties will include ensuring your rental properties are well maintained and adhere to health and safety and other lettings legislation.

When looking to hire a property manager, or use one within a lettings agency, you should look for:

 

  • Someone who is organised
  • A good communicator
  • A calm and considerate personality

 

How to become a property manager

Becoming a property manager doesn’t always require you to have experience in the property sector.

But you do need to be able to maintain a good relationship with tenants and be able to communicate with them effectively.

If you’re a landlord looking to self-manage your rental properties and in essence become a property manager yourself, you’ll certainly need these skills and the ability to keep on top of maintenance demands at your property.

Organisation is key when you’re a property manager, as you’ll need to undertake regular inspections and keep abreast of regulation and legislation changes, as well as handling tenancy renewals and deposit returns or disputes.

 

Property management fees

Property management fees can vary for many reasons.

Firstly, you may find differences between the fees charged by an estate or letting agent and a specialist property management company.

Secondly, the fees you’re charged for property management will depend on the kind of service being provided.

Lettings agents will generally offer three basic tiers of property management:

 

  • Tenant find only
  • Rent collection
  • Full management

 

In the case of tenant find, the agent will usually find you a tenant, collect and lodge deposits with a deposit protection scheme, undertake an inventory and draw up a tenancy agreement for a one-off fixed fee.

Rent collection means your property manager or lettings agent will collect your tenant’s rent and process the payment to you, or chase the rent if it’s late, all for a fixed fee.

A full management service sees a property manager look after all aspects of your rental property, including rent collection and maintenance requirements. Full management services usually see a property manager or agent take a percentage of your monthly rent as payment, usually between 10% and 20%.

 

Property management agreements in the UK

Property management agreements between a landlord and property manager are not dissimilar to a tenancy agreement between a landlord and a tenant.

A binding contract that sets out what is expected of both you as a landlord and your property manager, a property management agreement also sets out the fees that will be paid and the timescales of the agreement.

Most importantly, it also makes clear the legal liabilities of both landlord and property manager.

Make no mistake, this agreement is always required if you’re hiring someone to manage your rental properties.

It’s a document that protects your interests – while a verbal agreement might seem like less paperwork and less hassle, such an agreement is rarely enforceable by law.

 

How to manage multiple properties

Managing multiple rental properties is not for the faint-hearted.

Of course, it can be done. CJ Hole property managers often look after hundreds of rental properties to an extremely high standard.

But one of the benefits of becoming a portfolio landlord is the freedom ongoing rental income can give you.

You might want to give up work and become a full-time landlord – but if you’re managing dozens of your own rental properties, that’s a huge demand on your time.

If you are going to manage multiple properties yourself, you’ll need to be organised and structured in the way you work – not to mention ready to except phone calls from tenants, often at highly-inconvenient times, regarding emergencies.

 

How to be a good property manager

If you’re intent on self-managing your rental properties, you’ll automatically be a property manager.

But how do you ensure you’re a good one? Here’s our top-10 tips for being a good property manager…

 

1 Treat your properties like a business

If you do this, you’ll automatically fall into an organised, systematic process that will help you be a better property manager.

Put contingency plans in place, too, when it comes to maintenance – having a fighting fund and trades you can call on at short notice will help you fix issues quickly, meaning you keep your tenants happy.

 

2 Get screening right and good things will follow

The biggest mistake a self-managing landlord can make is letting the wrong tenant into their rental property. It can lead to major problems, potential evictions, court orders and lots of expense.

So, getting tenant screening right at the start of the process is crucial.

 

3 Treat tenants as you’d like to be treated

You don’t have to be lifelong friends with your tenants, although some landlords do end up building amazing relationships with the people in their rental properties.

But you should always treat tenants with respect and not allow personal feelings to impact your decision-making as a self-managing landlord.

 

4 But don’t be overly nice

Being a property manager is about fairness – fairness to the landlord and fairness to the tenant.

So, as a landlord, you should also aim to be fair to yourself and your tenant.

Don’t be tempted to let rules slip. If you’ve stated no smoking in your rental property and your tenant asks, don’t amend the rules simply because you like them.

 

5 Don’t be afraid to ask

Being a property manager landlord is about learning – and it never stops because every tenant and every scenario is different.

If you come across an issue you don’t have the experience to deal with, ask someone who does.

Whether it’s a good local lettings agent or someone with more experience in property management, there’s no shame in asking for help.

In fact, failing to do so can often be far more costly.

If you’re looking for great property management services, CJ Hole will be able to help. Find your local branch here.