New landlord (well sort of), hired property manager but thinking I should fire her

5 Replies

Hello everyone! I decided to lease out my home while I am in graduate school, out of the area. My mother makes her living managing several of her own properties, however, I decided to go with a property manager because I didn't want to add to her load AND it would be a good drive for her to get to my property. So I hired, let's call her A. I signed a residential leasing and property management agreement lease with A in March. We decided to start advertising the property April 1. Well it's been less than a month and I have already seen some red flags. Since signing the agreement she has not been very responsive. She says she has 'good people' interested and sets up appointments to show the property but then I don't hear from her. I have to constantly reach out to her to find out what happened. Turns out several have no showed or canceled. 'Was she going to tell me?' is what I have started to ask myself each time I reach out to her because she does not initiate informing me. Most recently, we had a potential tenant see the property last week and they wanted the weekend to think it over. Last I heard, after inquiring, was that she was going to find out last night whether or not they wanted to fill out an application. I have yet to hear from A. Am I being unreasonable in my expectation to stay informed without having to ask every time? I feel like when I call or text her she has information/news to give me but I HAD to ask in order to get it. I am assuming she didn't hear from the potential tenant last night but it would have been nice to hear that from A. I am not getting a good vibe and thinking it's best to terminate the agreement. Since we haven't signed a tenant yet can I do that without incurring any costs or legal ramifications? I looked over our agreement and it only details what the termination fees are if I terminate with a tenant. It doesn't specify amount of notice either. I appreciate the advice!

as a property manager i know it can be hard to keep all the owners up to date and often it is time consuming and creates negative feelings when I need to call and let them know there is no news to report. have you looked at other means to communicate? email text etc? might be hard for her to make a phone call to you on a regular basis is she is fielding alot of calls from tenants and prospects.

If you started actively trying to find a tenant on April 1 and you don't have one yet, you have a problem. AFAIK, your market is pretty good. Finding a tenant should not take this long if its being actively marketed and priced correctly.

That said, I'm not sure I would expect blow by blow feedback from the PM about every showing. In my experience (limited), you get a lot of calls (dozens), some lookers (about 10) and then a tenant. I'd expect to get, perhaps, a weekly update about the number of calls, number of showings, and applications submitted, if any. If there is actually a good prospect that's submitted an app and passed screening, I'd expect to hear about that.

I've not used a PM except once to fill a vacancy, though.

I think starting the process on April 1 was a serious mistake. If it was ready to rent in March I'd have been marketing it ASAP. I've found most people want to move in on the 1st. And that I get the most calls and interest in the week or 10 days before the 1st. Starting marketing on April 1 means you're probably going to get a tenant on May 1. Starting on March 25 would have had a good chance of a tenant on April 1.

I agree with Rhett and Jon. When our PM has a unit up for rent, he usually updates us about every 4-7 days, depending on quantity and quality of showings he gets. You can't expect a PM to call you after every single showing, that just requires way too much time.

The bottom line is whether or not the PM found you a good tenant. Certainly you should expect quick responses to your questions and should be updated regularly on the level of showing traffic, but that's noise. At the beginning of the contract the PM should have estimated how long it would take to find a tenant based on the property, the neighborhood, and the terms you offer. If the PM is unable to find a tenant, you may want to talk about whether there are problems with the property, if the asking rent is too high, etc. etc. You also have the right to ask for a summary of the PM's marketing plan to make sure they are giving your rental maximum market exposure.

Of course you should expect good communications with your PM, but if you cancel the contract it should be because they just didn't find an acceptable tenant for you.

I've been dealing with property managers for 4 years now, and being informed of every possible meeting with potential tenants would drive all of us nuts. If they don't let me know within 10 days or so that a vacancy has rented again, I email and ask for an update. Maybe it would improve things if you work out a weekly update phone call or email, like each Monday until it is rented and any feedback she has if it is still vacant.

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