6 Signs You Should Fire Your Property Manager

Written on April 11, 2016 by , updated on December 9, 2016

Fire Your Property ManagerAlthough it’s possible to manage your rental properties yourself, doing so isn’t always the best decision, and that’s when hiring a property manager comes in handy.

  • Maybe you don’t live near your property and have no one to check on it regularly.
  • Maybe you have many rental properties and just don’t have the time to manage them.
  • Maybe you simply don’t want to be involved in property management duties and prefer to be only an investor.

The big downside to hiring a property manager is that doing so eats into your bottom line. Landlords typically pay between 8% and 12% of the monthly rent collected to the property manager. But if the property manager does a great job for you, it could be worth the price.

A good property manager will do the following:

  • Find quality tenants for your property
  • Collect rent
  • Let you know when maintenance and repairs are needed
  • Arrange for the maintenance and repairs
  • Be the contact person for your tenants
  • Handle evictions (hopefully it won’t come to that!)

The problem is that some property managers slack off, falling short of their duties. After all, they’re getting paid whether they do the work or not. If your property manager is good only at taking your money and nothing much else, it might be time to kick them to the curb. Here are six ways to tell whether it’s time to fire your property manager.

Related: Should I Hire a Property Manager

1. You Don’t Hear From Your Property Manager

A good property manager should be proactive. They should be on top of things at your property, and they should be reporting to you regularly. You shouldn’t have to ask them about your property or spend a significant amount of time managing the property manager.

It’s even worse if your property manager doesn’t return your calls or emails. It’s difficult to trust that this property manager is doing their job, making this reason enough to fire them.

If you’re not 100% sure that your property manager is doing a good job, then they’re probably not.

2. Your Property Manager Doesn’t Inspect the Property

Property managers typically conduct a yearly inspection inside the property and a quarterly inspection of the exterior. If your property manager isn’t living up to this bargain, it’s time to let them go.

Regular inspections are necessary to ensure your property stays in good shape. You should receive a report that lets you know what sort of repairs are needed, whether there are any code violations, and anything else you would need to know about your property. If you don’t get a detailed inspection report each year, something’s wrong.

If you live near your property, you probably drive by from time to time to make sure everything looks good. But if you don’t live close to your property, you rely on your property manager to be your eyes.

Let’s say you own a single-family home, and your property manager tells you they will drive by your property every three months to check on the home’s exterior. Your tenant has been there for nine months, and you have received no bad news from the property manager. Meanwhile, a friend of yours was in the area and reported to you that the front lawn looks as if it could be on American Pickers or Hoarding: Buried Alive. It appears as if your property manager wasn’t doing what they said they would.

3. Your Tenants Are Left High and Dry

If a tenant complains of a needed repair, your property manager should let you know immediately and then arrange for the job to get done in a timely manner. If your tenant contacts you because they can’t get any help from your property manager, it’s time to fire this manager.

Not making needed repairs will strain the best landlord-tenant relationship. Not to mention if the repair is major enough to make the place uninhabitable, your tenant might have grounds to break the lease.

4. You’re Constantly Getting Bad Tenants

Part of the property manager’s job is to get your property rented … but not just to anyone. If the property manager isn’t doing a good job of screening tenants and is putting deadbeat tenants in your property, it’s time to fire the property manager.

Tip: Before you hire a property manager, ask what percentage of tenants they’ve evicted. This number should be low.

Tenant screening is an integral part of a property manager’s job.

5. You Aren’t Getting a Monthly Report

Every month, your property manager should send you a report of your income and expenses related to your property. The report should list how much rent was collected, how much was deducted in property management fees, how much was taken out for maintenance, etc.

If you aren’t getting detailed reports, ask for them to be sent to you. If you still aren’t getting them after asking for them, you should fire this property manager.

6. They Charge More Than 10%

The industry standard price is 10% of the monthly rent + 1 month’s finder’s fee. However, this price is becoming more and more expensive. Unless you are investing in long-distance properties, you can accomplish everything a property manager does yourself, without having to pay for it.

If you’re interested in saving money, check out Cozy, which offers many of the same DIY property management services – free for landlords, tenants, and property managers.

Consider Managing Your Own Properties

If you observe any signs of a bad property manager, you might wish to first discuss your concerns with your property manager. Your property manager might come through and step up their game.

If you give one more chance and see no improvement, you could probably do much better by hiring a different property manager or even by handling this job yourself.

Related: Free Property Management Software: Cozy

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68 CommentsLeave a Comment

  • karen

    we rent the basement of a house.property manger lives upstairs.when we moved in 7 months months ago he didn’t wanna give us a lease.after pressuring him we got a 6 month lease which says on it he is property management acting for owner. met owner once,property manager now states he purchased the home and is owner,never renewed our lease.i pay rent on first of every month my husband plows the snow ..does a lot of yard work.guy upstairs does nothing his side of yard looks like a dumpster driveway has junk piled all around it.what can i do. i found out deed is in owners name.electric is in owner name this manager is just blowing smoke up my rear end and i wanna tell him so i bad what i no but hes the kind that will evict us,if we contact owner

  • chisum leung

    ​i have a question !! I had a property management since 2011. We been working well i guess.
    Start this year 2018 he collect the first 3 months rent but DIDN’T give it to me.
    Everytime i called and ask him he kept saying he will deposit to me today….
    what should i do?

    • Tony pham

      Same question as Leung

    • Erin

      Hi there. So I just had this same issue. My renter moved out paid 3 months rent. It’s not clear as to if I will be receiving this money. Just wondering if you ever got your money from your management company or if they pocketed it ? Starting to think this might be the way they make all their money.

  • Frank Parrotta

    I would like to fire the property manager but keep the renter. how I do that.

    • Laura Agadoni

      Hi Frank,
      Tell the property manager that you no longer need their services, and see what that entails per the terms of your agreement. Then contact your renter to let them know that all communication from here on out will be with you, and give them your contact info. Good luck!

      • Dolly

        I got a position for a property manager job at a storage facility they want me to move in right away can I lie and say I’m moved in when I’m not? It’s not a good time for me to move out where I am right now and they don’t want to wait any longer. I don’t wanna loose my job

  • Connie

    If a property management says they’re going to provide you with appliances, such as a washer, dryer and refrigerator, but don’t, what can you do? I signed my lease 2 weeks ago and have received no word about it, and my calls have not been returned, nor are my emails. They originally said the would call me. It’s in my lease that they are providng me with these things. I even have to pay $25 a month for the washer and dryer.

    Also, whoever did maintainace left the old and moldy appliances in my front porch and I do not want them there. Is it ok if I tell them to move it?

    I know my property management has a ton of properties they manage but I feel like if they can’t manage their properties efficiently they shouldn’t be taking so many!


  • Belinda Wise

    the property manager were i live is very unproffessional she picks and choose who paper work she do resident sit in her office to tell on others and basiced on the information she will try and put you out going off of hear say i dont want to put my daughter in a city school i can finally afford the rent but threat to be put out only happens when i cant get her to respone to any of my calls and have to go over her head and call her manager i live in a low income housing and am at a lose i dont know what to do to avoid being put out

  • Nancy Geib

    My property manager knew weeks in advance our renter was leaving but failed to inform us right away. Right before he told us we did two major financial life changes, first my Husband quit his job to find something better (a recent retired vet. ) and we bought a new car. If we had been informed my husband certainly would had waited loger to quit his job and we would had thought harder to buy a new car. Is there any legal action we can tske against him for his failure to inform us in a timely manner? Especially since we still have kids to provide for?

    • Laura Agadoni

      Hi Nancy,
      I can’t give you legal advice as I am not an attorney. Here’s some general advice: Read your contract to see what your property manager’s duties are. I assume one of them is to re-rent your place, so maybe you won’t have any down time. If you are unhappy with the property manager, you could fire this one and get another one, fire this one and manage the property yourself, or ask about adding a clause to your contract on when they need to inform you about tenant turnover if that is not already addressed in your contract and that is important to you.

  • Michael A. Westfall

    My property manager never comes to the house when I told him about the windows being broken when I first moved in never fix them his employer sexually harass my girlfriend slept in my house while I was sleeping after he asked me could you stay I said no we’re going to bed so he went downstairs and close the door like he was leaving but didn’t leave woke up he was sleeping on my floor what do I do they’re trying to evict me right now

  • Kausar Psrvez

    I have rental property in Il in Dupage County. Can my friend manage it for me
    or I have to have a licensed management company to manage?

    • Laura Agadoni

      Hi Kausar,
      As far as I know, you can ask a friend to manage your property if you don’t want to do it yourself.

      • Kausar Psrvez

        I thought manager has to be licensed in Il

        • Laura Agadoni

          Hi Kausar,
          Yes, in Illinois property management companies must be licensed. I’m not an attorney, so I don’t know what the rules are for asking a friend to manage it for you. It might depend on whether you pay your friend. Find out your state property management law for details on the situation you have in mind.

  • Nate262

    So here’s one I’d love to get some feedback on. I’m currently an onsite manager, hired by a management company and the offer per my employment was rent reduction on a maintenance basis. I have requests for things like a working air conditioner, and they go ignored. My wife was interested in becoming a leasing agent but didn’t due to her hours at work, now they just volunteered her into the position, and after multiple talks in person try to assure me that they will find a leasing agent, yet send all the incoming leasing calls to me, the property manager. Several conversations later the story changes, to a point where my paycheck could be docked for not performing work that isn’t in my agreement. Advice please? Im lost on what to do.

    • Laura Agadoni

      Hi Nate,
      Get everything in writing. With a situation like yours, it might be best to have 2 separate agreements: a lease and an employment contract. Everything should be in those 2 contracts: your lease terms in the lease and a list of your specific duties in your employment contract. If something is broken in your rental unit, you go by what the lease says on how to make repair requests. This article might help with that one: https://www.landlordology.com/how-to-solve-5-tenant-complaints/ Good luck!

  • Gregg K

    I have a lease with property management company. Have had some contact with owner who says he is going to fire management company and I should pay him directly. My concern is I have lease signed with management company and am worried who I should pay. I figure the lease trumps verbal from owner. Have asked owner to get something from management company breaking my lease and figuring where my security deposit will go. Do I need to set up escrow to hold monthly rent until they resolve issue?

    • Laura Agadoni

      Hi Gregg,
      Usually who you pay rent to is stated in the lease. If that will change during the lease period, an addendum typically should be added to the lease with the contact information of the new person you will pay. So you don’t break your current lease. You go by the same lease, only you start paying the new person who is on the lease addendum. When you move out, assuming you caused no damage and are up to date on your rent payments, you should get your security deposit back. You get that back from your current landlord at the time of move-out.

  • Judy

    Can a property manager be sued for negligence if repairs were not made and it resulted in an insurance claim and months of repairs and inconvenience for the tenants? What if the same property manager is negligent in some of the items listed above as well – for example, not sending monthly statements, or not answering e-mails promptly?

  • Will

    What do you do if property manager is unresponsive to emails, phone calls, etc? We have sent a letter and hired a process server but we have not heard anything. Working with the tenant, can we replace the locks so that the property manager doesn’t have access and move ahead?

    • Laura Agadoni

      Hi Will,
      I’m not an attorney, so this is not a legal answer, and I don’t know what sort of contract you signed with your property manager. If there is nothing in there about your property manager having their own key, I would change the locks, give the tenant a key and have a key for myself.

  • Nicole

    Hi, I am firing my property management company today. I sent formal notice of termination via email and certified letter to the office. I have already told my tenant not to deal with them at all anymore as they have been extremely negligent and maintaining my property and avoiding tenant calls for assistance. My home has a bug infestation now as well as stolen copper wire from my walls. I do not have a contract with this company. The company i signed with shut down and moved employees to a different company name . This home is in Ga. Would I owe this company anything for firing them 1 month before their contract with my tenant ends? Again i dont have a contract with them. They have been withholding 3k of repair money i sent for 1 week now

  • Fran Heckrotte

    As a property manager I have been in the business for about 30 years. Your article does a disservice to my profession. To assume that a property manager isn’t doing a good job because the grass is tall is ridiculous. I do drive byes about every two weeks. I live in an area that grass can grow a foot in 10 days. I do interior inspections twice a year and exterior walk-arounds 4 times a year. I handle the midnight, weekend, holiday calls. My job is 24/7 even when I’m on vacation or out of town. You failed to mention that 10 % includes office space, office help, advertising, bookkeeping, tax reporting, supplies, postage, and a LOT of time dealing with vendors, tenants and owners not to mention rental laws. PMs exist because owners know value.

  • Eloise Dale

    I have recently moved into an active senior living apartments. Since I have not lived in an apartment in quite some time, I was looking forward to making new friends of my age group and the apartment amenities. However, I am feeling a bit uncomfortable with one of the odd practices of the new manager. Part of her job is to promote get together for the tenants. We started out with Holiday party, pot luck. But right away I felt very uncomfortable that ALL of the managers extended family where included in the TENANTS party! Not only where they included but her cousin provided entertainment and his future engagements where being promoted by her. And actually sent around a tip jar???

  • Cathys

    My property manager was late in paying the internet bill on my rental property 9 times out of 17 times since I transferred to them, the monthly report never match with amount of money that got deposited in my accounts, last year I requested copies of the leases, they gave them to me but all the numbers had been altered, this year I asked them for general ledgers of the past years but they had been avoiding my requests and gave me all kinds of excuses. What do I do in this case? I

  • Chris

    Can a property management group just replace non essential applies without my knowledge or consent? The washer/dryer combo unit had an issue the managing company replaced it and sent me a bill for 2k! That is totally ridiculous. What are my rights?

    • Anna

      Chris, that is ridiculous. What amount did you give them to take care on their own, without the need of your approval? Ours is $200. Anything over that needs our approval. Check your contact.

  • Cissy Strouse

    What do you do when the property management does not pay to the owner the money they’re collecting for rent?

  • Ari

    Hi, I fired my property manager for some of the reasons you outlined. I hired a new one immediately. Despite several calls and emails regarding transferring the tenant’s security deposit, the Property Manager would not respond. What should or can I do now? Thanks.

  • D Smith

    I told my property manager that a former tenant is hiding in a vacant apartment above mine and constantly throw parties at night. I found out one of the maintenace men is a relative who is helping the former tenant hide in the unit. The property manager thinks I’m crazy while the maintenace man and former tenants continue to stomp and call me foul names. I’ve even called the police department and the maintenance man told them it was a false alarm. I feel so helpless 😞😞

  • fredy

    I have a new project manager for a single family unit -due to distance-; they started less than a moth ago and so far do not comply with my request for writing things down such as copy of agreement; transfer of utilities. Suggestions on getting written and timely information!

  • Jess

    Hello, everyone who is looking for someone to manage their property properly please let me know, I am interested in managing property and I live by a code of doing things right. Please let me know if you are interested in changing, or if you travel and just want someone to manage your place during the time you are away, I would be more than happy to assist. Please do not make contact unless you are serious.

  • J.M

    What do I do when my manager is my neighbor, and he and his family is very loud? He and his family slam doors, and run up and down the stairs all day, sometimes there’s family violence mental, and physical. I have spoke with him about it, and he stated that sometime I will hear them having arguments, and to pretty much deal with it. They live in a two bedroom with six people living there, and at one time there were seven. Do I get in touch with the corporate office, and report what’s going on? What do I do? HELP!!!

  • Brian and Susan Schmidt

    Our property manager does not want to disclose when it tenants move out.

    The propane tank was left empty even though the tenants signed a contract that they were given it’s half way full. We got the bill. The tenants sign the contract that they did not have any pets, there were animal urine stains all over the carpet which required a special cleaning and we were giving the bill .

    The property manager doesnt want to give us a copy of the move out inspection or notify us when the tenant moves out they say they don’t have to tell us these things. we don’t know who to talk to. These things were never disclosed in our contract. We want to find out if this is legal or not. We live in California the rental property is in New Mexico

  • Antonio

    I am at a standstill. I have left more than several messages to my peoperty mgmt company but have not received a reply. This has been going on now morenthan 2 months. I am writing a letter to them and sending certified for signature. What if nothing comes out of sending the letter? What is my best approach to getting them to respond to me. I am requesting a disbursement to be deposited to my bank account.

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