Property Calculator

What Does a Property Manager Do?

Sophia Merton
December 8, 2022

Owning and operating a rental property is a lot of work, and it can quickly become a full-time job as you build your investment property portfolio. At the same time, you might not be excited about the prospect of giving up a percentage of your rental income to a property manager. What does a property manager do, exactly, and is it worth the cost?

Property managers can take care of tasks like collecting rent, finding and screening tenants, dealing with tenant turnover, performing or hiring out regular and preventative maintenance, and dealing with repair requests. They act as boots on the ground in terms of the daily management of a property and communicate pertinent information to property owners.

What Does a Property Manager Do?

Property managers can be either an individual or a company that a property owner hires to oversee and manage an investment property. There is a long list of responsibilities that property managers can take on, including setting and collecting rent, filling vacant units, handling maintenance requests, and dealing with tenant communications.

colorful townhouses managed by a property manager
Investment property owners can hire property managers to take care of the day-to-day operations of their properties, typically for a percentage of the monthly rental income in addition to other fees.

Whether you’re thinking about hiring a property manager for your rental property or you’re considering property management as a career, it can be useful to understand exactly what this role entails. Let’s look at some of the common tasks taken on by property managers.

Follows Landlord-Tenant Laws

Landlord-tenant laws and regulations can get complicated, particularly if you are an investor that owns properties in a number of different municipalities or states. The last thing you want is to deal with legal issues when it comes to your rental property, and hiring a property manager can help to mitigate that risk.

Each state has its own laws about things like security deposits, evictions, and other typical landlord issues. On top of that, many cities have their own regulations regarding the relationship between landlords and tenants.

Property managers are often better equipped to deal with the laws and regulations in their area than remote property owners, as they tend to be experts in the local area where they work.

Performs Routine and Preventative Maintenance

Another important task of property managers is keeping the property in good shape, which involves both routine and preventative maintenance. Tenants are quick to up and move out of rentals that a landlord isn’t taking care of, and property managers can step in to deal with everything from lawn care and snow removal to HVAC servicing and gutter cleaning.

riding lawn mower being used by property manager to take care of rental
Property managers either take care of routine and preventative maintenance of the property on their own or find and hire companies to perform necessary maintenance tasks.

While some property management companies might have an in-house maintenance team or take on the tasks themselves, others hire out of the job.

Handles Repair Requests

If there are any repairs required, property managers will communicate the issue to the owner and, pending approval, schedule any necessary repairs. This might mean something as simple as light bulb replacement or something as extensive as HVAC system repairs.

Finds and Screens Tenants

Property managers use the requirements outlined by the owner (and local, state, and federal housing laws) to perform legal tenant screening.

couple screened by property manager moving into new house
Finding and screening tenants is one of the tasks property managers will take on for you, which can help you avoid legal issues and save you a lot of time and energy.

Through this process, they find qualified tenants that are likely to follow the terms of the lease, pay rent on time, and generally take care of the property.

Enforces Lease Terms

It also falls within a property manager's responsibilities to communicate important terms of the lease to tenants during the lease signing before they move in. As a part of this process, they’ll also inform tenants about what the consequences are if they violate the lease.

Handles Complaints

If you’re a property owner, it’s possible that a lot of your time will be taken up dealing with tenant complaints, particularly if you’re responsible for a number of units. Property managers can take on this task to reduce the burden on owners, promptly respond to complaints, and act as a go-between when necessary.

Conducts Regular Inspections

Prevention is key when it comes to keeping costs low for rental property owners, so property managers take on the task of conducting regular inspections. This way, they can identify anything that needs to be fixed before it becomes a costly repair.

Deals With Evictions

Even when you have a strict tenant screening process, evictions are never completely avoidable. If they’re necessary, property managers can help deal with the legal aspects of removing a tenant from the property.

Collects Rent and Fees

Property managers also collect rent payments as well as any other fees owed by the tenants.

woman putting cash into an envelope for rent to be given to property manager
Property managers act as middlemen between tenants and property owners in many respects, including the collection of rent and other fees.

These might include pet fees, storage fees, or late fees. Of course, they are required to follow all federal and state laws regarding security deposits, trust accounting, and other issues that relate to tenant funds.

Communicates With the Owners

Another major part of a property manager's job is communication with the owners. Considering the rental property is an investment, it makes sense that owners will want to know everything from income and expenses to vacancy rates and maintenance requirements. Property managers can even provide advice to owners about raising rent prices in the area, legal issues, or maintenance and repairs they believe are necessary.

Deals With Tenant Turn-Over

Whenever a tenant moves out, there’s generally some sprucing up that needs to occur. This is the case no matter how well the previous renters took care of the place. In addition to collecting keys, refunding security deposits, and enforcing move-out dates, managers will inspect the unit, clean it, and restore it to rent-ready condition.

How Much Does It Cost to Hire a Property Manager?

How much it costs to hire a property manager depends on a number of factors, including your location, the type of property, and the particular company or individual you hire.

That being said, the average cost is typically somewhere between six and twelve percent of the overall monthly rental income of the property.

There are frequently additional fees on top of the percentage of monthly income that you’ll want to know about. These can include:

  • Maintenance fee
  • Management fee
  • Lease-renewal fee
  • Leasing fee

It can be hard to part with your rental income as a landlord, but hiring a good property management company can be well worth the cost in some circumstances. This is particularly true as your portfolio grows, as being an owner can quickly become a second full-time job. Additionally, property management is absolutely key for remote rental property ownership.

Does It Make Sense For You to Hire a Property Manager?

Whether or not it makes sense for you to hire a property manager has to do with your particular situation. For example, hiring out property management is basically a necessity if you’re investing in real estate from a distance and is common for people that have expansive rental portfolios.

On the other hand, if you’re just planning on owning one rental in your hometown and you possess the skills needed to manage income-producing real estate, you might choose to keep your money in your pocket and take on the task yourself.

Of course, how hiring property management impacts your rental profit is another major factor. In order to view all of the most important investment property metrics in one place, you can use our rental property calculators to help you determine whether the cost of hiring management aligns with your financial goals.

We encourage you to share this article on Twitter and Facebook. Just click those two links - you'll see why.

It's important to share the news to spread the truth. Most people won't.

Written By:
Sophia Merton
Sophia received her BA from Vassar College and is a real estate investor and researcher. With more than ten years of experience owning and managing investment properties, she has gained valuable insight into the pros and cons of operating rentals. Sophia is dedicated to helping others create wealth through real estate and aims to provide straightforward information about every aspect of rental property ownership.
Get Our Newsletter
Subscribe to receive information, free guides and tutorials