20 Common Questions About Property Management

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Although property management companies may differ in their service offering, here are some of the more common things that a well-rounded company will do:

  • Assess any work that may need to be done prior to going on the market
  • Determine the proper rent amount
  • Advertise the property
  • Screen applicants
  • Act as an official agent for the landlord
  • Implement a tailored lease agreement
  • Collect first and last rent prior to move in
  • Ensure utilities are in the tenants name (if applicable)
  • Ensure tenant insurance is in place prior to move in
  • Issue keys and fobs
  • Handle all tenants calls and emergencies
  • Coordinate maintenance
  • Recommend trustworthy tradespeople
  • Perform inspections
  • Be an ambassador to tenants

Hiring a professional property manager will benefit you in many ways.

A well versed property manager will be able to recommend, often minor, changes that will attract quality tenants who are willing to pay higher rent.

At the same time, keeping your property in a good state of repair will preserve, and often, increase its value.

Your manager will have the necessary skills to rent your property quicker coupled with the ability to identify long term tenants.

Your manager will have the ability to create and execute a comprehensive, legal lease agreement.

A reputable property management company will have strong relationships with reliable, local, and licensed trades.

A property management company is a perfect and sometimes necessary solution when you live a distance from your rental property, making it too difficult to manage yourself.

Insurance companies do not look favourably at long-distance landlords and may even refuse to insure your property unless you have a local management company in place.

In summary, property management alleviates stress and time for the owner, resulting in a more passive form of investing.

After all the information about your property is gathered and photos are taken, a compelling description is crafted highlighting the property’s benefits.

The property is then listed for rent on the most relevant websites.

As replies come in, the screening process begins and appointments are made to view the property. Interested tenants that pass initial screening will be guided through the application process.

Among many things, key indicators include:

  • Stable employment with enough income to qualify
  • Current landlord reference
  • Good credit history and score
  • Proof of identity
  • Integrity (good attitude, responsible, polite, etc.)
  • Suitability (is the unit is a good fit)

This can vary depending on the market, the vacancy rate, the condition of your property, the location, and the amount of desired rent.

With this in mind, it is wise to listen to your property manager’s suggestions, they know how to achieve the best results.

In most cases, a property that is well maintained and competitively priced, will rent relatively quickly.

The tenant is guided to deal with the property manager for all matters, including rental payments.

The rent is processed minus any fees owing to management and then forwarded to the owner electronically along with a supporting invoice.

If a tenant, without prior notice, is not on time with the rent, the manager will contact them within 24 hours.

After a sincere attempt to solve any issues that are causing the delay, the rent still isn’t paid in a timely manner, the manager will issue an N4 notice. This notice puts the non-payment on record and can be used for an eviction.

In most cases, a resolution can be uncovered before eviction occurs, otherwise a trained property manager will know if the matter should be escalated to the Landlord and Tenant Board Tribunal.

When the tenant contacts the property manager with a maintenance issue, it is first analyzed to verify it warrants a visit from a tradesperson. If so, the owner is notified (except for emergencies) to provide their input and subsequently give approval.

At this point, the tradesperson is contacted and arrangements are made to attend the property and recommend a solution, including costs. After the issue is rectified the owner will be billed by the tradesperson.

Unlike many property management companies, JMC does not markup the cost of maintenance.

JMC provides an emergency call line, available 24/7, to all tenants at the time of possession.

This line is answered by skilled technicians who have access to the tenant database and all approved trades. These are competent trades, trained to handle virtually any type of emergency, or decipher if it is something that can be handled during business hours.

There are various times when a property will be inspected, for example, before it goes on the market for rent and between tenants.

Another example are annual fire inspections to ensure smoke and carbon monoxide detectors are functioning properly.

Other inspections can be done at various times as the need arises. Inspections can also be done by request of the owner (for a fee), assuming there is a valid reason.

In cases of a freehold house, the lawn care and snow removal is designated to the tenant.

In condominiums, condo management typically handles this.

In low rise apartments, it could be divided between the tenants or it could be contracted out, whatever is agreeable and works best.

This is typically assigned to the tenant although in some cases, landlords will setup a company like Reliance to do it as part of a service plan.

One of the key elements of a successful income/rental property is having everything in good working order, well decorated and attractive.

This serves several important purposes:

  • It will attract better tenants
  • It will set an example to tenants of how you like the property kept
  • It will add value to your property

Historically, real estate is one of the safest and most lucrative investments.

This especially rings true with a rental property because your tenants are in essence paying down your mortgage while the property is gaining equity.

Over time, as the principal is paid down, you will have accumulated a healthy nest egg for retirement should you wish to sell, or a great source of supplement income in your later years.

Having a property management company in place makes this virtually effortless and stress free.

It is a great scenario when you have positive cash flow every month from your rental property but that depends on a number of factors:

  • How much did you pay for the property?
  • How much of a down payment did you make?
  • How long you have owned the property?
  • Do you own more than one unit?

It is not a requirement to be in the black every month. In fact, breaking even is a desirable goal knowing the principal is being paid down. Remember, even if you are contributing each month, it is money in the bank considering the eventual equity gain.

It’s important to look at the big picture now and years down the road.

Years ago, landlords didn’t believe in supplying appliances with a rental property. Over time they learned that tenants moving appliances in and out of a rental unit could cause extensive damage.

Today, it is considered a standard that landlords supply a fridge, stove, washer and dryer and a nice touch to include a dishwasher. A water softener is also a wise investment as it protects the plumbing and taps from lime and calcium buildup, and is appreciated by the tenant.

If the tenant is responsible for yard maintenance and snow removal, it is also good practice to supply a lawnmower, snowblower (if required), and basic yard tools.

A landlord is allowed to increase the rent every twelve months by the allowable percentage set forth by the government, unless there is a fixed term lease in place.

Because the Landlord and Tenant Board have no jurisdiction until a rental agreement has been entered into, you can refuse pets during the application process.

But, once a rental agreement has been entered into, the landlord cannot say no, and the lease cannot state no pets.

If a pet is causing damage or bothering other tenants, the landlord can ask for the pet to be removed with the option of evicting the tenant if they don’t comply.

Yes, you can say no smoking in the advertisement and in the lease. In most cases, it is stated, no smoking in the residence, but not necessarily on the premises, i.e. outdoors.

You will need to contact your insurance agent and let them know you are renting your property out, or that you have bought a rental property. They can advise you the type of policy required.

You will also need to let them know if you are using a property management company. They tend to look more favourably on this, especially if you live a distance away. You need to be thorough to make sure you have all the coverage you need. The tenant will need to have tenant’s insurance, including liability.

Real Estate Insurance Concept

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