3 Tell-Tale Signs Your Property Management Company is Taking Advantage of You

March 4th, 2014

La Cresenta Property Management

Your investment property is your baby. No one worries more about the care for (and cash flow from) your property more than you. Considering this, it can be hard to trust that your property management team is protecting your investment and helping you make the kind of gain you’re hoping for.

After all, everyone’s got to make money. It’s only natural that your property manager has their own best interests at heart, right?

Wrong.

A property management company will not be successful for very long if all they are concerned about is making an extra buck off you.

The type of property management team you want to work with knows that your best interests are in their best interest. They know that if they put you first and take care of your investment as if it were their own then their success will follow. Ultimately, nothing beats a solid and trustworthy reputation.

So, don’t all property management teams want a stellar name and great client referrals? You would think, but it seems many companies are short-sighted. They are more concerned about putting an extra dollar in their pockets now than being in business later.

Here are 3 tell-tale signs your property management company is taking advantage of you:

1. Their records are incomplete or unintelligible

It is your property manager’s job to manage the budget and maintain records of all income and any expenses made. They should have a detailed record of items including, but not limited to:

  • Signed leases
  • Rent collection and rent changes
  • Vacancies
  • Inspections
  • Complaints
  • Maintenance requests
  • Cost of maintenance and repairs
  • Insurance fees
  • Etc.

If your property management company is unable to show you complete, clear, and detailed information of all the comings and goings of your investment property, then either they can’t be trust or are just plain sloppy. Whatever the case, you deserve much more and should take bad record keeping as a sign that it might be time to find a more responsible partner.

2. They don’t perform proper screening of potential tenants

Any property investor or property management company knows that vacancies = financial loss. That being said, a slightly longer vacancy can make a much smaller dent than choosing the wrong tenant.

How bad could it be? The wrong tenant could mean, among other examples:

  • Unpaid rent
  • Property damage
  • Driving away other tenants
  • Eviction (plus the associated cost and consequent vacancy)

Your property management team should do their best to lease your property to a suitable tenant. Failure to complete the necessary screening just to hurry and fill a vacancy may demonstrate that your property manager will cut serious corners just to keep the cash flowing. The consequences could be problematic all the way round. Any vacancy issues should be communicated rather than handled inappropriately.

3. They use their own to maintenance and repair vendors even when their rates aren’t competitive

There is technically nothing wrong with your property management company hiring their own maintenance and repair personnel to work on your property. However, keep an eye on this practice, especially if you find their bid exorbitant for the work that needs to be done, or if the work is done poorly.

Why? There’s a decent chance that your property manager is getting a cut by contracting their own personnel. They may even encourage their maintenance crew to create a high bid because it means they both get to pocket the extra cash.

Conclusion

Your investment property is precisely that: your investment. If you suspect that your property management team is abusing your business in order to make a little extra, you have the right to refuse to do business with them any longer.

You deserve a mutually beneficial partnership. A property manager who understands this and wants to earn your trust will protect and respect your investment like it is their own.