Top 10 Reasons to Fire Your Property Manager
Written by: Veronique Hart, Property Management Specialist - Published: Sep 05, 2022
After signing an agreement with a new property firm, property owners expect that the property management duties will become simpler and more efficient. However, over time, conflicts with their management firm that are irreconcilable may develop. What options do property owners have when their property manager does not meet expectations? In order to replace bad management, property owners should first articulate why they are unsatisfied with their property manager and then take the proper steps to terminate their property management agreement (PMA).
10 Reasons Owners Fire Their Property Managers
There are many ways in which the relationship between a property manager and owner can go wrong. A bad property manager may neglect important tasks or responsibilities, leaving you as the owner to pick up the slack. In the meantime, the value of your property could suffer the consequences.
When Is It Appropriate to Fire Your Property Manager?
Generally, if a property manager has proven themself to be irresponsible, negligent, or unprofessional, you should consider seeking new management for your property. The following list includes the most common scenarios in which property owners fire their management firm or property manager.
1. Property manager does not fulfill paid obligations
The fee paid to your property manager covers a range of duties and responsibilities (such as rent collection, garbage removal, hiring contractors, etc.). If you are paying for a service and the property manager fails to provide it, you should remind them of the terms of your property management agreement.
2. Tenant complaints
Tenants are often the first to notice the effects of bad property management. If a property manager is negligent in their duties, there may be issues with public area maintenance or quick resolution of necessary repairs in rental units. If you are receiving a higher frequency of tenant complaints, it may be necessary to address this with your property manager to determine the cause.
Managing a large multi housing complex requires a high level of experience and expertise. As a property owner, your rental housing is a huge investment; for your tenants, the rented property is their residence. In the best interests of both parties, it is crucial that your property be overseen by an experienced property management firm.
4. Slow responses
As an owner, you have the right to expect prompt notification of any changes or emergencies regarding your property. Additionally, if you have questions or concerns, you should be able to get in touch with your property manager within a reasonable amount of time. Repeated failure to respond to your communications could be an indicator of larger issues within the property management firm you hired.
5. Failure to report regularly
In order to make the best decisions for your business, you should be updated on a weekly or monthly basis. Many property management agreements include specific clauses regarding expected frequency of reports from the property manager. If you do not receive regular reports from your property manager as agreed, they could be in violation of this clause in your agreement.
6. Neglecting to fill open vacancies
An unoccupied unit bleeds money. Part of the property manager’s duties are to advertise and fill new vacancies. If there are multiple vacancies on your property at once, ask your property manager what they are currently doing to market your rental property and how they plan to find new tenants.
7. Insufficient resources
One of the main benefits of hiring a property manager is the expectation that you will benefit from their wide network of resources. For example, a property management firm usually provides either an on-site team of maintenance staff or a network of qualified contractors. If you find that you are underwhelmed by your property manager’s resources, it may be worth their network to those of other local property managers to see how they measure up.
8. Failure to meet local health and safety standards
Meeting your city and state health codes is a legal responsibility that all property owners must fulfill. Failure to do so can lead to hefty fines and loss of your rental license. If there is a health or safety violation on your property, work with your property manager to find out who is responsible. If you find that the violation was caused by the negligence of your property manager, it could be grounds to terminate your agreement.
9. High cost with little payoff
Hiring a property management firm is an investment. Although a quality property management firm can help you grow your business, a poor property manager can end up costing you more money than they are worth. If you find that your property manager is eating into your profits without providing a quality service, it may be time to reevaluate their place in your budget.
10. Breach of contract
Lastly, if your property manager breaches any part of your contract or agreement that we haven’t already discussed, it may be time to think about changing management companies. It is important that you are aware of every provision in your agreement so that you can make certain the property manager is upholding their end of the administration of your property.
How to Terminate a Property Management Agreement
In some cases, a property manager and owner do not work well together and cannot resolve their issues. If communication and conflict resolution have not solved your management problems, it is time to terminate your property management agreement. However, this can be easier said than done. It is important that you abide by all clauses and regulations of your PMA when you begin the termination process. If you do not properly terminate your agreement, your property manager could potentially sue you for breach of contract. Review the following steps to ensure you are making the right move while ending your relationship with a property management firm.
1. Establish cause of termination
In order to legally terminate your property management agreement, you must have a just cause. “Just cause” essentially means that the property manager has, in some way, violated the terms of your agreement. For example, any of the reasons listed above could qualify as just cause for terminating a PMA.
2. Gather evidence
Once you have established the cause of termination, you will need to gather sufficient evidence to prove your case. Documentation, such as email correspondence, tenant complaints, maintenance records, photographic evidence, or other proof, can be used to validate your termination request.
3. Abide by notice requirements
After your evidence is gathered, you will need to notify the property management firm that you will be terminating your contract. In most property management agreements, there is typically a clause that requires you to notify management of termination one to three months in advance. Failure to abide by the notification requirements of your contract could leave you open to a potential lawsuit.
4. Notify tenants
Your tenants should be notified of any change in property management. Communicate with your property manager to decide who will be responsible for contacting tenants. Be sure that these communications specify when the change will take place, and provide contact information should your tenants have questions or concerns. Give as much information as possible regarding who will be managing the property in the future.
5. Retrieve materials
Before the official end of your contract, there are plenty of documents and materials you should receive from the property manager. For example, the property manager should return office keys, tenant applications and ledgers, inspection records, and other relevant paperwork and/or documentation before you make the switch to new management.