The property industry involves many people with varying titles and responsibilities; investors, real estate agents, brokers, developers, real estate attorneys, inspectors, appraisers, marketers, loan officers, and consultants. Two of the most commonly known positions are landlords and property managers. What’s the difference between a landlord and a property manager? Can a landlord be a property manager?
What is a landlord?
A landlord is an individual, couple, family, or company that owns property or properties (apartments, homes, condos, mobile homes, other properties) and rents that property to tenants. Some landlords choose to manage the day-to-day operations of their properties while others hire a property management business to oversee the real estate for them. A landlord may have extensive experience in the roles required or they may simply be someone with the desire and finances to own and rent real estate. Landlords are often employed in another sector and/or industry and must find the time and energy to care for their tenants and property. The duties of a landlord include:
- Finding renters
- Screening prospective tenants
- Setting the rental price
- Collecting payment/rent
- Handling tenant requests/concerns/disputes
- Preparation/enforcement of lease agreements
- Property repairs and maintenance
- Keeping the rental property safe
- Performing in-person inspections
- Pest prevention
What is a property manager?
Property management companies don’t own property. They manage rental properties for owners in exchange for a flat fee or a percentage of the rent collected. They deal with the day-to-day business of rentals. The only duties retained by the landowner are approving actions suggested by the management company and making executive decisions. A property management agency may deal with commercial properties (shopping centers, office buildings), single-family homes, and/or multi-family buildings (apartments, condos). They typically have many employees who have undergone specialized training and development. The duties of a property manager include:
- Staying abreast of property markets
- Determining rent
- Collecting rent
- Adjusting rent prices as needed
- Preparing properties for rental (servicing, furnishing, cleaning)
- Advertising vacancies through a variety of channels (online, newspapers, community bulletins, real estate offices, signs, etc.)
- Interviewing tenants to determine suitability
- Preparing lease agreements
- Ensuring tenants follow the lease agreement
- Communicating with tenants regarding issues/complaints/disputes
- Conducting/outsourcing maintenance and repairs (building, appliances)
- Supervising/coordinating employees (concierges, security guards, cleaners, landscapers)
- Processing eviction notices
- Ensuring tenants move in and/or out in a timely fashion
- Ensuring the property complies with local legislation/safety laws
- Creating records/documents (payment receipts, actionable requests, reports for property owners)
- Tax preparations
Can a landlord be a property manager?
Yes, a landlord can be a property manager. The landlord can choose to act as their own property manager, taking on all the associated responsibilities and duties. In situations where the owner has the ability and/or desire to manage their own real estate property, legislation allows for this.
Why would a landlord choose to employ a property management agency?
There are many benefits of employing a property manager to oversee your rental property(s). Property management agencies:
- have extensive marketing/advertising programs
- help find high-quality tenants from a large pool of potential renters
- have tenant screening policies in place
- find qualified tenants quickly
- are efficient and effective, due to training, experience, and plentiful resources
- are familiar with local, provincial, and federal landlord-tenant laws
- reduce the possibility of facing legal charges (inaccurate lease documents, breaches of tenant’s right to privacy, discrimination charges regarding screening/selecting tenants, etc.)
- take care of the costly/messy eviction process
- help the landowner make more money (better tenants, rents paid on time, tenants stay longer, renters take good care of the property)
- reduce worry about monthly cash flow, cost of tenant turnover, lost rent, and/or repairs
- streamline the approach to dealing with maintenance and repair
- have a network of qualified professionals to efficiently repair/maintain the premises
- keep accounts for tax purposes and supply reports
In Alberta, Property Managers are required by law to be licensed practitioners, held to higher standards of conduct and knowledge than private owners. These licensed professionals must renew their license annually, which involves ongoing education requirements.
Can a landlord be a property manager? Though the answer to this question is yes, there are multiple valid reasons to hire a property management company instead. They have the experience, knowledge, and expertise to complete the necessary tasks quickly and efficiently. A property management agency will reduce a landowner’s stress, make them more money and save them time and energy.
Do you need a residential property management company to assist with your rental properties? Looking for an agency with a solid reputation for integrity and excellence? Contact Calgary-based GIL Property Management & Sales Ltd. Our highly skilled residential sales team can save you time, money, and effort, ensuring your property is occupied, maintained, and safe.