You wouldn’t rent a house to just anyone, so why would you let a near stranger look after the tenancy?
Too often, we see landlords fixate on finding the ideal tenant to rent to without putting the same effort into finding the ideal property manager to work with. Yet, one is as important as the other to the landlord’s outcome. To be successful at renting, you need a tenant who holds up his end of the bargain and a manager who looks after that relationship and your property with a dab hand.
So, who is an ‘ideal property manager’?
‘It is someone who you feel comfortable communicating with,’ says Joanne Rae, REINZ head of property management, ‘someone who instils in you the confidence that their expertise and capability will stand strong, particularly in the face of a challenging situation.’
The property management industry is as varied as it is vibrant. Every business has something different to offer, which makes vetting all the more important for landlords.
Related video: The Residential Property Managers Bill
We get it. ‘Auditioning’ a property manager for the first time can be a daunting experience. Most of us are not accustomed to questioning or pushing back on professionals. But given how precious a property and tenancy are to you, wouldn’t you agree that finding the right steward for both is well worth the effort?
Joanne suggests these initial questions to get you started:
- Does the property management company operate a trust account for rent collected, and is this account reviewed independently each year?
- What types of business insurance do they carry, and to what level?
- How often are they appearing in the tribunal?
- What experience does their property management team have – for example, years in the property management profession?
- What regular education and training do they undertake, how many of their team have completed the NZ Certificate in Property Management?
- What’s their process with rental arrears, routine inspections, and reporting maintenance back to the owner?
- How often will you get paid the rent – will you be advised if there is going to be a shortfall in funds due to repairs being paid for?
- Are there any hidden fees not in the standard management fee?
- Will you have a dedicated property manager, or do they work in teams?
- Will you get the opportunity to approve a tenant before the agreement is offered to them?
- Do you belong to any member organisation like The Real Estate Institute of New Zealand?
- How many properties does each property manager in your organisation manage at any one time?
Related audio: How to assess the suitability of a property manager
A true industry veteran, Joanne is a seasoned property manager, and serves as senior consultant for property management with REINZ.