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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75 CommentsLeave a Comment

  • Jack

    I’m on a condo board. There are 2 full time maintenance employees. Some units belong to a rental pool controlled by the management company, others do not. Can the maintenance employees who technically are hired by the management company, but work full time for our condo, also do work for non rental pool condos for an additional charge that goes to the condo association.

    In other words. Do on site employees legally work for the management company or the association.

    • Dee Chapman

      I have a similar situation to what the post above described. I own 1 of 9 res condos in a popular seaside town. The owner of the other 8 properties hires a mgmt company and runs their condos like a hotel. All communal and maintenance issues within the building are channeled through this mgmt company and they’re also paid to manage the condo association finances. I have successfully rented our condo for 2 seasons and received high accolades from all our guests but the complaints regarding things I can’t control (ex, noise from other condos, fire alarms going off in the night from out of date maintenance, dirty common areas, etc.) are increasing. The property mgr is horrible, but I feel powerless to enact any change. Suggestions PLEASE

      • Carolyn McGee

        First off, I’m starting to question your location, it sound like your Condos are minutes from my neighborhood. But, in my opinion so that you don’t loose future clients; those condos are in need of an on- site Maintenance for this late nite noise and alarm issues. And obviously to take care if future repairs etc. Definitely need a new Property Manager/Management Co. I am so sorry to hear this. Here I am a 13 year Veteran in the industry and can’t find a fit for what I bring to the table. I am a one Woman team with 4 Maint., 1Leasing Consultant and a Manager who will not leave the office. The Super Woman Assistant Manager who is the Glue that hold the non-team together. :( If you need help, get in touch. Good luck.

    • Carolyn McGee

      I actually live in a Property that meet this criteria. And happen to be in the industry. If I’m understanding your question correctly. I believe that the emoloyees are under the Property Management nit the HOA. Because the individual Condo are most likely “Owned” which would not require maintenance to perform any work on the unit in the way of turns etc. All of the rentals I believe are the only units that maintenance is responsible for. In my opinion. Unless there is some type of agreement that cause maintenance to be responsible for work performed on the rentals and owned units. I have been in the business 13 years and in 4 states. I have never been on a property that had an HOA (Board) and Property Mgt.

  • STEPHEN MARSHALL

    my towel bar fell off the wall,its about 60 yrs old. building manager tried to put it back up with some kind of Lepages gook & as he was leaving my apt. it fell off the wall & its been a month & towel bar is still sitting on the floor. What should I do? Thanx in advance.

  • Lisa Rowe

    I had to forward this post to you to get your thoughts on it…

    Does anyone know if it is legal for a property management company to “tour” a potential renters current home to inspect how they are living? My nephew who is over the age of 25 is currently working with a local property management company and they required to go to his current home (it is with a private owner) and “tour” his home to inspect how he lives… they have been jumping through hoops for a home to rent they just welcomed a baby and are needing a bigger house for their new addition. They have zero negative reflections on their record when it comes to anything at all always got their deposit back. I just don’t think this is legal for them to do this to actually go to his property to inspect it knowing this property is NOT one that they currently are managing at all… doesn’t add up anyone know of anything?

    • Carolyn McGee

      Weird my dear! Never heard of this in my 13 years, I don’t know about legal or not; but feel that this could fall into a Fair Housing violation if it effect the decision of whether or not they rent to him. That could see anything in his house that cause then to decline. Doesn’t sound right at all. I wouldn’t trust then in my hokm anyway. But good luck.

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