Changing a property management company is never an easy decision. It takes time to develop a sound working relationship. Your property management company needs to know the residents to whom you prefer to lease (students, short-term, etc.), how you like your leases collected, and other matters related to managing your property. As such, it is understandably a difficult choice to make.
Is it easier to accept a few inefficiencies or issues in exchange for not having to go through the learning curve all over again with another company? This post will go over seven issues you will want to consider before you endeavor to change your property management company.
1. They are unresponsive
There are few worse things than a property management company which ignores your calls or emails. Property management is within the service industry, and an unresponsive company is completely unacceptable. It is normal for you to continue to be involved in your property, and your manager needs to answer your inquiries in a prompt and reasonable manner. If you consistently have to wait for an excess of 24 hours to get a response, even if it's just to acknowledge that your question has been received and they're working on an answer, you may need to move on to a new firm.
2. You're hit with hidden fees
Hidden costs are the favored trick of the trade for many disreputable management companies. They will charge against your leases for every little act from answering phone calls to responding to resident repair requests.
You don’t need to accept these fees as inevitable. You deserve to know up front how your property will be managed and what it will cost for them to do so. If your management company makes it a habit of sticking you with exorbitant and previously undisclosed fees, you may want to consider securing a new one.
3. No transparency
The only way to reasonably stay involved with your investment is if you understand how the company tasked with maintaining your property works. A common tactic of firms which only want to collect your fees without actually managing the property is through obfuscation. You should have a name, a number, and an email to reach your property's manager. Don't settle for getting the phone tree run around.
4. Securing new leases takes too long
The most critical juncture for a rental property is any time it is left without a resident. When empty, your property is racking up costs (including property management fees) with no lease payments to offset them.
Properties which go too long without a resident can become huge money pits. Therefore, it is crucial for your management company to quickly secure new leases. A company taking too long to do so is not at all concerned with the health of your property; it is only concerned with collecting as much as it can from you before you fold.
5. Late payments
The second most crucial concern for any property owner is the prompt collection and remittance of lease payments. Those payments are necessary to pay down the mortgage, pay utilities, and other costs. If you are always dealing with late or delayed payments for your properties, you should consider moving to a new management firm.
6. Unclear rules for residents
Your residents need consistent and clear rules. Are they allowed to have pets? When are lease payments due? When are they late? Are the rules for your property constantly changing or rarely being enforced?
A huge factor in people’s minds when they consider renewing their lease is whether or not there is constancy in their home. You need ongoing renewals to keep your property solvent, and anything which impinges on that ability endangers your property and your financial stability.
7. Violating Fair Housing Laws
Finally, does the management company violate fair housing laws? You are the one who is held responsible if there is a housing violation or if there is an accusation of discrimination.
Complying with the Fair Housing Act is critical for any leased property. These violations are easily avoidable if your property management company takes compliance seriously. Unfortunately, the Fair Housing Act is also easily violated if your management company asks the wrong question or denies a lease for the wrong reason.
In short, if even two of these issues occur with your property management company, you may want to consider a switch. You don’t need to accept poor management practices as unavoidable. You can find the right property management company for your investment properties.
PropertyAdvantage is a property management company in San Diego which manages properties throughout Southern California. Its team of skilled managers knows how to keep a property profitable and filled with residents at competitive rates. Contact us to learn more.