Do research when hiring property management company

May 12, 2019 GMT

If you own a property that you want to rent out, but you do not want to be a landlord, a property management company can take care of the responsibilities for you. Property managers handle advertising, interviewing and screening tenants, collecting rent, checking the property, and doing routine maintenance. It is important to make sure you research potential property managers carefully before you select one.

The Better Business Bureau of Greater Houston and South Texas offers tips to keep in mind when looking for a property manager:

Get referrals. Decide if you are more comfortable with a small, local business or a large property management business and ask your Realtor for referrals. Look for a property manager with specific expertise with the type of property you own. Be sure to check BBBHouston.org for business profiles on property managers and to read the complaints and customer reviews for any company you are considering.

Interview potential managers. Meet with property managers in person to see if you feel comfortable with them. Make sure they address all your questions and concerns. Be sure to ask how many properties they manage and if they own any of the properties. When the property manager owns their own property, you may be competing for tenants. Find out how often they check on their properties and how they handle maintenance.

Check out their work. Look at the property manager’s current rental ads. The ads should be professional and appear in numerous locations. If possible, visit a few of the properties they manage. Look at the condition of the building and surrounding property. Talk to current tenants to see if they are satisfied with the management and maintenance. Ask if the property manager deals with complaints and repairs in a timely manner.

Discuss price. Property managers usually charge between 5% and 10% for their managing services. The manager should charge their fee based on the rent they collect rather than rent that is due. This will prevent you from paying for tenants who have not paid their rent. Ask the manager what services the fee includes. Find out if there are additional fees for advertising, evictions, or visiting the property for maintenance.

Review the management agreement. The agreement should define the responsibilities of both the property owner and the property manager. Check that the agreement also details all included services, any extra fees, compliance with fair housing laws, and the cancellation policy. Make sure the agreement includes any oral promises made during the interview. Read everything thoroughly before signing and do not sign if there are any blanks in the contract.

The Better Business Bureau is an unbiased nonprofit organization that sets and upholds high standards for fair and honest business behavior. Visit www.bbbhouston.org or call 713-868-9500. Leah Napoliello is senior director of Investigative Services with the BBB of Greater Houston and South Texas. Send questions to Leah Napoliello, Better Business Bureau, 1333 West Loop South, Suite 1200, Houston, TX 77027, or e-mail lnapoliello@bbbhou.org. Include your mailing address and phone number.