10 Questions a Landlord Should Ask When Interviewing Management Companies

by Joe Killinger
CEO, theRRD.com

Finding a reputable property management company can be quite daunting as it is difficult to really know how well the company is run.  We have put together a list of items you should ask when interviewing a potential property management company.

1. How long have they been in business?

You want to associate yourself with an established company, as this speaks to a company’s length of service in the community.

2. Do they manage other assets in your area?

A property management company should have a presence in your local area, managing properties that are in the same asset class as your property. For example, if you own an apartment building in West LA, you should look for companies that manage apartments in West LA. The properties they manage may be available on the webpage, if not, ask this question while interviewing them in your initial conversation over the phone.

3. Are they carrying the proper insurance coverages?

The company should at a minimum carry general liability and workers compensation for their business.  In addition, it is always wise to look for a company that also carries Errors and Omissions insurance.

4. Do they have their own experienced maintenance team or do they have to hire maintenance companies?

Many times smaller property management companies will outsource their maintenance. In addition to asking if there is an additional service charge for this, also ask how the management company vets their vendors (do all of their vendors carry liability insurance, are licensed, and have workers compensation insurance).

5. Do they have emergency services?

The ability for a property management company to handle every property incident, particularly emergencies, is crucial. At any time, day or night, a property manager must be equipped to handle emergencies that occur on your property. Communication is key in any tenant / landlord- management relationship – a toll-free number that is answered by a human 24/7 should be a mandatory service provided by any reputable management company.

6. What kind of reporting do they offer the property owner?

Are the reports sent monthly, or do the owners have online access?  If the management company offers online access to the monthly reports, do they charge extra for this?

7. How do they set up the bank accounts for your property and will you have access?

Is there one trust account, or do they offer individual property accounts for each of their clients?

8. How often will they visit your property?

You want to make sure your property maintains its great shape. A world-class management company will ensure the grass is being cut, maintenance requests are fulfilled, and property regulations are followed. Visiting the property on a regular basis will ensure all maintenance work has been completed to the highest quality, as well as check to see that any other issues are addressed.

9. How detailed is their tenant screening process?

A reputable management company should thoroughly screen their prospective tenants, running a background and credit check, as well as looking for any prior violations committed on other apartment properties, available with Incident Reporting from providers such as theRRD.

10. Do they keep up to date with current laws?

Different municipalities have different laws related to rental units.  Are they familiar with the laws, do they update their information/forms to comply with these laws, and are they up to date on any changes in the labor laws?