A property manager is a person or firm charged with operating a property for a fee, when the owner is unable to personally attend to such details, or is not interested in doing so. The property may be individual title owned or it may be owned under sectional title, share block company owned and may be registered for residential, commercial office and retail or industrial use.
Property management involves the processes, systems and manpower required to manage the life cycle of all acquired property including acquisition, control, accountability, responsibility, maintenance, utilization, and disposition.
Duties of property management include accepting rent, responding to and addressing maintenance issues, and providing a buffer for those landlords desiring to distance themselves from their tenant constituency.
There are many facets to this profession, including managing the accounts and finances of the properties, and participating in or initiating litigation with tenants, contractors and insurance agencies. Litigation is at times considered a separate function, set aside for trained solicitors. Although a person will be responsible for this in his/her job description, there may be an solicitor working under a property manager. Special attention is given to landlord/tenant law and most commonly evictions, non-payment, harassment, reduction of pre-arranged services, and public nuisance are legal subjects that gain the most amount of attention from property managers. Therefore, it is a necessity that a property manager be current with applicable laws and practices.
The tenant of a property expects the property manager to:
- Ensure the “quiet enjoyment” of the premises an assurance that the premises will be able to be used and enjoyed for the intended purposes without interference from the landlord and/or other tenants (save for emergencies)
- Provide a comfortable living environment that is properly heated, cooled and ventilated with as many amenities as possible compatible with the rental level
- Provide security and safety – the ability to live and/or work in a building in which there are no inherent defects or conditions that might be hazardous to health or to property
- Provide status -accommodation and facilities that meet socio-economic and cultural standards for the tenants and their guests.
The owner of a property expects the property manager to:
- Carry out the owners instructions, control costs and maximise revenue to maintain a stabilised cash flow as a return on capital invested (commonly referred to as the capitalistion rate or the cap. rate)
- Exercise control over the building to safeguard the capital invested, provide a duty of care through proper maintenance of the building
- Be professional and well informed on Fair Housing laws and property management practices and procedures
- Enhance the value of the property by making improvements that will increase its market value, retain and enhance pride of ownership.