Questions to Ask a Property Manager: What You Need to Know Before You Sign that Lease!

Property managers are used to act as a gatekeeper for a particular property or group of properties. A property manager is often hired when the landlord chooses not to manage their own properties due to a variety of reasons.

When a potential tenant inquires about renting a property, chances are they will be dealing with the property manager instead of a landlord. This means that any questions they may have regarding the property or its operations will need to be directed toward the property manager.

First Things First

Assuming you are looking for an apartment, the first thing to ask about are vacancies that are available and their specifications. Properties have different specifications; number of rooms, bathrooms, and square footage will be presented at varying price points. So depending on your budget, price ranges for the properties you are eyeing should be included in your next line of questioning.

Once you have established that the available properties are right for you, there may be more questions you have to ensure everyone in your family is on board. For many of us, our pets are not just pets; they are an extension of the family, and their ability to go whereever you do can make or break a deal. To ensure Rex has a roof to sleep under, you may want to ask your property manager if pets are allowed in the property, and if so, what stipulations are involved. Many properties may indeed allow pets of a certain size, but will also require a non-refundable pet deposit to cover damage that your pet may or may not cause.

There are also the concerns of your actual children. A well informed property manager should be able to tell you about the surrounding schools, local kids activities, and how kid friendly the neighborhood is.

Singular Property Managers

All property managers do not work for apartment complexes. You may be interested in renting a singular home on its own plot of land. Since this home is not part of a larger community under one manager, the rules and regulations might not be as strict as those in an apartment complex. Though you might assume, the rules are not as complex as an apartment. To make sure you are covered from any wrong doing, it is always best to ask your property manager what is okay.

A common concern for tenants renting property that does not have a lawn service established is: who is responsibility? It is to maintain the yard work. You would hope a stipulation like that would be spelled out within the lease, but if it is not, you may need to ask the property manager what the protocol is. You should do this before you sign any lease, especially if you are not fond of the idea of you cutting grass in the summer heat.

Another concern tenants may have are what kind of agency they have to make cosmetic changes in the property. Nothing crazy like adding an addition room or any kind of remodel, but small changes like painting the walls or mounting things on the wall like a TV. Ensuring these changes are in line with what the property manager thinks is okay should be a top priority before starting any such projects, no matter how small they seem to you.

Whether the property you are renting is in an apartment complex or a singular rental property, you need to ask the property manager how you request assistance for maintenance related issues. Some apartment complexes require their tenants to report all maintenance issues to them in the form of work orders. Then, management will procure services to be provided on your behalf.

Ask Before You Sign

As a tenant, and especially a potential tenant, you need to know that all of your questions are important. At the end of the day, you are trying to protect yourself, and property managers are trying to protect their landlord’s investments. Asking questions and receiving clear answers from the property manager insures that you and your property manager are on the same page. Tenants who know what is expected from them are happier and tend to stick around longer. Those kinds of tenant/manager relationships are what maximizes returns on investments for property investors.

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Kostner Guyton

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