Unfortunately this decision has been made even harder since the law was amended in 2010 which opened the door for management companies to be created without the requirement of qualifications or basic training, resulting in many landlords falling victim to inexperienced managers and poor business management.
So, how to choose? Questions to ask your prospective Property Manager include:
- Do you charge for inspections?
- How often do you inspect?
- If you pay a bill on my behalf, e.g., the plumber, do you mark-up this price?
- If you have to take a tenant to court, what are your charges?
- Can I talk to some of your clients?
- What percentage of your clients have rent arrears?
- What types of properties have you managed?
- How many properties do you currently manage?
- If you're away on holiday, who cares for things?
- What is your process for identifying good tenants?
- How much notice do I have to give you to cancel your services?
... and so on. Something else to ask about is the contract. Very few firms use anything other than the standard residential tenancy agreement, but this can leave the landlord woefully unprotected in many circumstances. One firm that does specialise in the legal side of things is Tenancy Solutions. Well worth a call. (They also offer a Tenant Finding Service, which is not so common).
Here are a couple of good resources, which contain a bunch of other questions:
- Questions to Ask a Prospective Property Manager Though written for USA, most applies here in NZ
- Twenty Questions To Ask A Property Manager Before You Hire Likewise, USA-based
- Selecting a Property Manager from Ministry of Business, Innovation and Employment (finally some local content!)
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