Dealing With a Property Management Company vs. a Landlord

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Dealing With a Property Management Company vs. a Landlord

Lisa Bernstein · Jul 30, 2009

A landlord may utilize a property management company for a large property or when several of their properties require management services. From your landlord’s perspective, there are advantages to using a management company. Even though a landlord is a property owner, they may not know how to manage a property. Properly maintaining a property, and dealing with tenants, requires a lot of knowledge. Your landlord may have neither the time nor the inclination to learn everything necessary. So, hiring a professional makes it easier to engage in the business of being a landlord.

What Does a Property Management Company Do?

Property management companies manage different types of real estate, including rental properties. When offering rental property management services, a management company does everything your landlord would do to manage your apartment building.

When renting an apartment at a property run by a management company, you will meet one of their employees as soon as you visit the property to view an apartment. If you decide to rent the apartment, a management company employee will take you through the rental process, just as a landlord would. This can include negotiating your lease and signing it on behalf of the landlord.

Aside from screening tenants and renting apartments, management companies are responsible for a number of other things. They take care of the property’s day-to-day maintenance. When you need maintenance in your apartment, you will contact them, and they will arrange to have the problem taken care of.  Any problems during your tenancy, such as apartment rule violations, will be reported to them. In addition, your monthly rent check will be sent to them for processing.

Management Companies and Landlord Rights

One of a management company’s responsibilities is to protect your landlord’s rights. Both landlords and tenants have rights based on a Residential Landlord-Tenant Act, which makes residential landlord and tenant laws more fair to all parties. It does this by defining exactly what rights and responsibilities you and your landlord have. Depending on which state you reside in, the laws will vary. The management company will assert your landlord’s rights in everything from enforcing the terms of your lease, ensuring your compliance with state building and health codes, and even starting eviction proceedings against you.

How a Management Company Differs From a Landlord

There are differences in dealing with a management company versus a landlord. For example, as a professional service company, a management company often uses more stringent standards for screening tenants. While landlords are sometimes lax about selecting tenants, management companies adhere to strict guidelines. They do this because they do not want to cause any losses for your landlord by renting to a bad tenant, who must be evicted.

A management company is also more formal in their interactions with tenants, since the relationship is that of a company to an individual. If you’re used to dealing directly with your landlord, you may find working with a management company somewhat impersonal. On the other hand, management companies offer professional management services which will make the building you live in run more smoothly.

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Lisa Bernstein: As a long-time apartment dweller and seasoned condominium trustee, I have dealt with numerous landlord-tenant, property management, and day-to-day apartment complex issues. My extensive, direct experience has led to invaluable insights into apartment life from both the tenant and management perspectives.

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