75 Questions a Landlord should ask when hiring a Property Manager

Tired of Landlording your Rental Property?

Leveraging your time with a Property Manager is the way to go, but, you need to make the right hire – the first time.

This means finding a property manager that focuses on the following :

  • Your type of rental property
  • Will be as attentive to your property as you want them to be
  • Has legal and effective rent collection procedures
  • Provides 24 hour repair and maintainance to rental properties
  • Has preventative measures in place to find future repairs

However, whether you are in-state or out-of-state as a landlord, you should appreciate that your commitment to your property manager is for the long term.  So, you first need to determine, “What is my exit plan with my rental portfolio?”. This includes :

  • What improvements should you make to the property?
  • What are realistic rents going to be, per unit, when you exit the property?
  • What expenses can you target to reduce?
  • What expenses are anticipated to go up?

Then, you are ready to interview your first property manager that measures the criteria as stated above.  Once you are ready to do so, here’s the questions we recommend preparing for the initial interview :

  1. How many units do you manage?
  2. What towns do you manage within?
  3. What TYPES OF PROPERTY is in your 3rd party management portfolio?
  4. How many investment properties do you own personally?
  5. What organizations are you members of?
  6. What designations do you host within the organizations you are a member?
  7. How is your management team structured? Portfolio or Departmental?
  8. Have you had any violations with State Regulator or Better Business Bureau?
  9. What are the protected classes under Fair Housing Act?
  10. What types of insurance coverage does your property management company carry?
  11. What insurance limitations are in place?
  12. Can you supply insurance declarations to us to review?
  13. Are professional photos and video taken of the vacant property for lease?
  14. How will you advertise the property for lease?
  15. What websites will you advertise the property for lease?
  16. How does your showing process work?
  17. Will feedback be provided from potential tenants on the showings?
  18. How does your application process work?
  19. Who pays the rental application fee?  Landlord or tenant?
  20. What reports will we see with any application packet?
  21. What do you consider to be an acceptable “rent to income” ratio?
  22. What do you consider to be an acceptable credit score for our new tenant?
  23. How to securely store all application packet material?
  24. How long will you store all application packet material?
  25. Who makes the final decision regarding any application – property manager or landlord?
  26. Can we review the lease template prior to moving forward with your management services?
  27. Can we review your management agreement prior to moving forward with property management?
  28. What is your leasing fee for filling a rental vacancy?
  29. What is your average vacancy rate?
  30. Does the landlord pay a fee with a renewed lease upon expiration? How much?
  31. Who drafts the lease?
  32. Who sets the standards for late fee, rental due date, etc.?
  33. How much of a security deposit do you recommend be held in reserves?
  34. Who hosts the security deposit?
  35. If property management company hosts security deposit, is it held in a Trust or Escrow account?
  36. Will I have access to an online portal to review all applications and past leases?
  37. How often can I expect my Landlord Rental Statement?
  38. Will the property manager send us an annual 1099 for rents collected?
  39. How can the tenant contact your property management office for repairs?
  40. What do you consider an emergency with a repair request?
  41. When is the landlord contacted for a repair concern?
  42. Does the landlord have to put down a repair deposit when using your property management services?
  43. Do you upcharge a fee on top of the repair invoice?
  44. Are your repairmen “in-house” or contracted out?
  45. Does the landlord have to put down a repair deposit to cover invoices?
  46. What insurance do you have in place for repair liability?
  47. Do I need to register my property with Village or County?
  48. Does the Village or County perform a rental inspection?
  49. What paperwork is required by the Village for renting the property?
  50. Will you meet the Village on an inspection for the rental property?
  51. How will the rental price be determined?
  52. If the property does not rent after 30 days, what happens?
  53. Do I pay a management fee when the property is vacant?
  54. How many times per year will you provide an inspection of our rental property?
  55. What software will the property manager use for reporting the inspection?
  56. Will photos be included in the property inspection?
  57. If something is found broken or needing repair during inspection, how is that handled?
  58. How are move in and move out inspections handled?
  59. What is the tenant held responsible for upon move out?
  60. How long does it take before tenant gets deposit back to them?
  61. What is the cancellation clause of your property management agreement?
  62. Does your property management company have the exclusive right to sell our rental property?
  63. How do you handle evictions?
  64. How many evictions have you had in the past 12 months?
  65. Do you have a preferred collection agency to enforce judgment collection?
  66. Can I use my own attorney or repairman that can assist with repair or legal guidance?
  67. Do you require renter’s insurance of our tenants?
  68. Will the tenant have access to the landlord’s contact information?
  69. Can I receive 5 referrals from landlords?
  70. What is your management fee and how is this structured?
  71. What is your average retention rate of landlords?
  72. Do you provide any discounts if we purchase future rental property through your real estate brokerage?
  73. Do you market to tenants to turn them into buyers?
  74. What different ways can tenants pay rent?
  75. What different ways can tenants request repairs or contact your real estate office with rental questions?

OK…that’s it.  If you can get a property manager to answer all of these, that is very impressive.  Should you ask ALL of these questions to each management company you interview.  Not necessarily.

However, the more information you can obtain, the clearer the picture will become and the more confident you can be in your decision.  Reason being…hiring a property manager should be intended to be a one-time decision – not an annual decision.  Get it done right – THE FIRST TIME.

Note : This blog is written by an experienced landlord and property manager.  This blog should not be considered legal advice, but, the opinion of an experience landlord and property manager.