Property Management

8 Replies

What maintenance and repairs items are typically included in a property management fee?

In Iowa, none. Maintenance and repairs are never fall under the cost responsibilities of the property manager, always the tenant/owner (tax write-off for owners). This is why it is important that a property manager collecting a fee does well to protect the interest of his investor by not assuming negligent costs. Every cost is either a tenant or owner charge. For this reason, if a tenant calls due to a malfunction of the smoke detectors and a technician is dispatched, you can have the following outcomes:

  • Technician determines the smoke detectors were faulty, and replaces - owner charge
  • Technician determined the smoke detectors batteries needed replacing - tenant charge
    • If written into the lease that the tenant is responsible for such replacement and the detector was easily reachable, - if not or if the tenant is elderly or disabled, assume reasonable accommodation: owner charge=time/labor & tenant charge=battery cost

Where the property manager must be mindful is in the allocation of the owner's resources (money). If the technician is employed by the manager and shows up to the job site and has neither smoke detector or battery stock on hand while attempting to charge the owner/tenant for the time it takes to go to the store and come back - that is negligent management. 

So in a way, if you have in-house maintenance technicians, than carrying commonly applied maintenance and repair stock on hand is cost included within the management fee (overhead).

If you have any questions, message me and I can elaborate in further detail! Hope I was able to help!

All maintenance costs fall on the tenant or landlord at the end of the day.  There have been times we have eaten an expense if we have made a mistake.  No one is perfect.  

A proactive maintenance schedule falls on the landlord side.   A property management companies job is to be react on the landlords behalf when it comes to maintenance.   A well thought out proactive maintenance plan will save money over the course of the investment along with retaining your tenants longer.    

For example:  replacing all smoke detectors, the inside of all toilets, and all faucets every 5 years can be done in a half a day by one contractor pretty inexpensively.  If one of those items break, you know the others are getting close so fix/replace them all at one time.   Reacting to one off repairs without a proactive approach will always cost more.  


What repairs are included?  The over-priced kind!  

Because most PMs don't vet or bother getting to the bottom of the service call that "my stove/sink/ac... is broke" - you get the maytag man to push the burner in, a plumber for a simple trap clean-out or an electrician to flip a breaker.

Just my experienced opinion.  Don't get me started on lease-up fees and lack of maintenance.  I'd self-manage if the property is in your backyard @Monica McLaurin.    

Just wondering about security deposits. Is it usual that the property management company keeps the deposit or is it always sent to the investor?
Thanks in advance.

It is common practice that the property manager keeps the security deposit in Indiana. For clarification sake, keeps just means they hold it until the end of the lease.

@Daryl Anderson I'd say it's common for the management company to keep the deposit. Take a look at the management agreement, there should be a "check box" where you can select owner or management company. A lot of management companies began keeping deposits in 2008-2010 because when owners were foreclosing/defaulting, the management company had to answer to the tenant. I also believe the tenants feels more comfortable knowing the deposit is with a 3rd party--after all, it is still the tenant's money.

I am not sure if  you are asking who pays for the maintenance    Our owners pay for all repairs and maintenance unless it is due to tenant negligence.  At move out we do a inspection and compare these photo to the move in photos. All  damages are deducted from the  security deposit. 

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