Not All Property Managers Act Professionally
As a property manager, this is a touchy subject to be writing about—many in the industry would prefer that this topic not be discussed at all. Many would prefer to “let sleeping dogs lie,” as it were. However, I see things differently. I believe that an open discussion about what constitutes “good” property management—and when a rental owner should consider firing a “bad” property manager—is one way to elevate the industry and improve the overall reputation of property managers and the satisfaction of rental property owners.
Given my vantage point as the 2020 and 2021 president of the Sarasota/Bradenton chapter of the National Association of Residential Property Managers (NARPM) I have a bird’s eye view of many of the “going’s on” in the Sarasota and Manatee county rental real estate markets, and I can tell you for a fact that there are many sub-par operators claiming to be “professional” property managers who have neither the skill, experience, temperament, nor acumen to be legitimately doing so—I would certainly never hire one of them to manage one of my properties. But then again, I know who they are, and you probably don’t.
When Should You Fire Your Sarasota Property Manager?
- Have the communications between you and your property manager gone silent?
- Are you experiencing erratic/sporadic deposits of your rental payments?
- Does your property manager give you a song-and-dance routine when you ask for maintenance expense details and actual vendor invoices?
- Has it been 3, 4, 5 months, or more since your rental hit the market, and it’s still sitting vacant?
- Do they stick to the letter of the management agreement, or are they always changing things up and making excuses?
- Do you have a sneaky suspicion that something just isn’t quite right with the way things are going between you and your property manager?
Those are some of the “red-flag” warning signs that may indicate it’s time for you to fire your current property manager and bring on a true professional. That said, there are some misconceptions that owners sometimes have that cause them to erroneously find fault with their property manager when there’s actually no fault to be found.
The Truth Is, You Can’t Always Blame Your Property Manager
Not every negative occurrence can automatically be legitimately blamed on your property manager. When something goes wrong with a property, or a tenant experience turns out badly, it’s the first inclination of some irresponsible property owners to immediately blame the property manager and cast aspersions on their integrity and professionalism. The reality is this, “Some things just happen, and it’s nobody’s fault.” Properties will break, and some tenants will turn out to be schmucks—it’s a reality of owning rental properties, and landlords need to get used to the idea that things will not always go smoothly.
The difference between a good property manager (one that you should cherish and keep) and a bad property manager (one that you should get rid of at your first opportunity to do so) is the way they react when things start going south. A good property manager jumps into the fray, keeps the lines of communication open, makes decisions that are in the best interest of the owner, and works to minimize the hardship and chaos that ensues. They are the property owner’s trusted “boots-on-the-ground” when the “you know what” is hitting the fan. A good property manager is the property owner’s lifeline in times of trouble and is worth his weight in gold.
In the Sarasota, Bradenton, Venice, Florida area, there are many sub-par operators claiming to be “professional” property managers who have neither the skill, experience, temperament, nor acumen necessary to effectively serve the needs of rental real estate investors. There are several “red-flag” warning signs that may indicate it’s time for a landlord to fire their current property manager and bring on a true professional. That said, not every negative occurrence can legitimately be blamed on the property manager, so property owners need to be conscious of when it is and when it isn’t appropriate to consider firing their property manager.
About the Author
John Michailidis, JD, is the Broker/Managing-Member of Real Property Management of Sarasota & Manatee, a Sarasota, FL based residential property management company. Real Property Management of Sarasota & Manatee provides both Full-Service and Lease-Only services to Sarasota, Bradenton, Venice, and North Port area landlords. If you own residential investment real estate anywhere in Manatee or Sarasota counties, do feel free to reach out to our team at 941-216-0005, or through our website.
We are pledged to the letter and spirit of U.S. policy for the achievement of equal housing opportunity throughout the Nation. See Equal Housing Opportunity Statement for more information.