Property Owner Responsibilities That Should Not Be Delegated

Are there any property owner responsibilities after a property manager is hired? When you hire a property manager in Indianapolis you likely decided to take one thing off your platter that you either hated doing, could not do because of distance, or you desired more free time. Making the decision to hire a manager is a great one for owners like these. It remains important that the owner continue to manage some obligations in order that the ongoing management proceeds smoothly.

What are these ongoing property owner responsibilities, and why the owner should not delegate them, are key components to a successful partnership with your property manager.

Property Owner Responsibilities

Taxes, Insurance, & Mortgage Payments

One of the most important responsibilities you have as a property owner in Indianapolis is to make the mortgage, property tax, and insurance payments. Some property management companies will make these payments for you (for a price). Those payments ultimately remain your responsibility. If the property manager does not make them, or is late doing so, the buck will stop with you. 

Banks and the government do not really care who was supposed to make the payment. For this reason, we suggest an owner continue to manage and take responsibility for making these payments.

Maintenance and Repairs

Even with a property manager, the owner always has the ultimate responsibility for the maintenance and repair of the property. While the owner should have some level of approval control, at the same time it’s the owner’s responsibility to not drag their feet in granting approvals. Occupied homes with emergency maintenance needs just may have to have a repair made outside of this approval. If that happens, it’s OK. Your manager is doing their job. You want happy tenants and do not want delays when emergencies occur. You need to be accessible so normal maintenance and repairs issues can be easily reviewed and approved. Then it’s the owner’s responsibility to provide the property manager the funds needed to expedite the tasks.

Tenant Screening and Approval

The property owner responsibilities do not include the actual screening and approvals if they have hired a manager. This should be one of the most important things you do not want to be involved in. There are two important owner responsibilities though when it comes to tenant screening and approval:

  1. Provide the manager direction as to any restrictions on pets or issues within a community as to numbers or types of vehicles. This direction MUST NOT include any guidance or direction for the type of tenants you desire. The area of Fair Housing laws is extensive and something to not play around with .
  2. Get out-of-the-way. Let the manager contact you with the good news of an approved tenant. Less is more. You do not want a manager to contact you with every application to provide a decision. Trust a professional manager to understand the characteristics of a good application.

Improvements

Improvements are not the same as maintenance and repairs. Improvements are those projects that are tackled during what is called the turnover period between tenants. These projects include the painting, carpet, appliance replacements, kitchen updates, etc. that may be appropriate to keep your property rented at top of the market value. Your manager will bring you suggestions based on their knowledge of the market and feedback from interested renters. As an owner, it’s your responsibility to have built up a slush fund to be invested in your property during these vacant periods. Developing a plan for your home and keeping it modern and fresh-with funding quickly available is important to your measure of return.

Legal Bills

It’s the property owner’s responsibility to pay the legal bill involved in any eviction process or other proceeding. We all want to avoid these expenses. Unfortunately they will occur and when they do, your manager will be utilizing professionals that will need to be paid. If the issue is an eviction there will be no funds coming in to cover the legal costs. Providing funds promptly allows all parties to do their job and find a resolution quickly. The good news (and bad news because it’s so common among landlords) is that an eviction filing is a rather inexpensive procedure.

Local Government Required Registrations

Local government registrations are increasing. These registrations are specifically pointed toward investor owned homes. The information required from owners is something you can’t expect your manager to handle. There usually also are filing fees. Your manager may be able to guide you if there is a local registration law. Ultimately, it’s the property owner responsibility to make sure all local government registrations are completed and filed.

A property manager is a great decision to simplify the day-to-day issues associated with your rental home. Due to the fact that there continue to be certain property owner responsibilities associated with the rental, the best procedure is to work in partnership with your property manager.

Are there other owner responsibilities you can think of? Please contact us and share your experience.

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WILMOTH Group is headquartered in Indianapolis, Indiana and Fort Myers, Florida. We focus on providing creative local solutions for a variety of residential real estate needs including, properties for sale, property management services in Indianapolis, and short-term management services in Tampa and Fort Myers.