Property Owners love to be able to drive up and view their property.
Even if you live where your properties are, it can be difficult to
keep track of their condition, the tenants, and ensure that you follow
all of the Residential Tenancies Act rules and best practices.
Tenants often know enough of the rules to take advantage of owners if
they are not on top of things. Instead of worrying constantly about
what is going on at your rental property, you can hire a property
manager to collect rent, handle tenant issues, organize maintenance,
and plan for preventative maintenance.
Over the past 5 years, my business partner and I have built up a
property management business that manages our own properties as well
as third party properties. Based on the lessons we've learned, here
are the questions we would ask if we were hiring a property manager.
1. Are they experienced? Is your potential manager experienced in
managing rental properties?
2. Are they professional? What is their level of experience and
breadth of skills of the Manager and their team? Can they communicate
via email and take mobile photographs of the issues they are dealing
with? We've found a great way to keep the owner in the loop is to cc
them on our correspondence, and allow them to assist and advise if
3. How many other properties does the company manage compared with the
staff that is available? How much time will they be able to devote to
your property? Your property manager must have the time to help your
tenants with their needs and monitor any situations that may arise.
4. Are they available part-time or full-time? If you need a manager
that is available around the clock, a part-time applicant may not be
suited for the job. You will need to decide how much time you think
your property will need before finding the right person for the job.
In our opinion, it is best to have a team of full and part time
managers and maintenance crew that are cross trained.
5. Are they certified? In Alberta, Property Managers must be licensed
with the Real Estate Council of Alberta. They take specialized
property management courses from the Alberta Real Estate Association.
6. Are they easy to get along with? Personality counts, especially
with a property manager. If they rub you the wrong way, your tenants
may have the same response. A bad manager can lead to high tenant
turnover rates and may cost you money. If they are too soft, the
tenant will get away with damage, and late rent.
7. Do they get everything in writing and store files in an electronic
database? Requiring applicants to fill out a written application is
critical. This allows the property manager to follow up on their
references and have a record of their personal contact information.
All tenant issues and resolutions should be documented. Email works
well for this purpose.
8. Who is the team that will all be involved in the management of your
building. Get to know the maintenance personnel, the bookkeeping
staff, the front line administrators, etc. Make sure they are familiar
with your building and know how you would like to handle certain
9. Do they know how to collect rent and enforce the rental agreement?
If your tenants will turn over their rent to the manager instead of
you, you will need to make sure that your manager knows how to collect
the rent. If you do not feel comfortable with this arrangement, you
can request that your tenants send their payments directly to you.
10. Can they provide references? Make sure that your applicant can be
trusted with rent money, property care, and other concerns before
handing over the responsibility to them.
For more information, call our property management division at 403.823.2121