What Is Property Management?

Managing a property is a role that comes with a number of responsibilities. In many cases, depending on the size of the portfolio and the type of property, the to-do list is enough for a full-time job.

This is why you may be surprised to find out that according to a 2018 survey, just 5% of landlords are professionals. This means that a large majority of landlords have other occupations or other responsibilities that they manage along with their properties.

When considering the variety of properties, including commercial and industrial properties that a landlord could own, the need for assistance in this area is abundantly clear. This is what has led to the emergence of the property management industry.

But what exactly does property management involve and what does it mean to be a property manager? We’ll explore this, and more, as part of this guide to property management.

  1. What is Property Management?
  2. What is a Property Management Company?
  3. What types of Property Management are there?
  4. How do you get into Property Management?

1. What is Property Management?

Property Management is the ongoing oversight and management of commercial, industrial, or residential real estate provided by a third-party contractor. Generally, it includes the running of daily tasks and operations such as handling maintenance, responding to issues raised by the tenant, collecting rental payments, and conducting inspections amongst other responsibilities.

The services provided will vary depending on the needs of the landlord, the property, and the company/individual. For example, a residential landlord may hire a property management company to oversee rental payments. Another example could be a property management company being hired to oversee the regular maintenance of a commercial property.

Other tasks undertaken could include screening tenants, as well as managing the drafting, signing and renewing of lease agreements.

2. What is a Property Management Company?

In short, a property management company will look after a property portfolio on behalf of a client. They are made up of a number of employees who will oversee the various aspects and day to day operations required to maintain the standards of a property.

In most cases, they will be aware of certain leases, transfer documents, and other important documentation. They are responsible for delivering agreed-upon services and delivering regular reports to the landlord regarding the status of the property.

3. What types of Property Managers are there?

There a various types of property managers that focus on the various needs of different types of properties. Many of their tasks will be similar, such as collecting rent and ensuring the properties in their care are properly insured for their protection. The main types of property managers are as follows:

Residential Property Managers:

Residential managers focus on properties where tenants and their families live. There are two major categories of residential property managers, and they are:

  • Single-family home managers look after individual residences. This could be a number of flats, detached, or semi-detached homes. These are owned by landlords with portfolios of various sizes and are often purchased for additional income. Typical tasks include the collection of rent, managing viewings, screening tenets, maintenance, and other day to day tasks.
  • Multi-family property managers look after larger residential buildings, such as a block of flats or an apartment complex. The tasks will vary slightly but are very similar to that of other residential property managers.

These managers will need to have a good knowledge of multiple lease agreements that will vary in their terms, as well as wider landlord-tenant laws and regulations.

Commercial Property Managers:

Commercial property managers specialize in business-related property portfolios. This could include properties like hotels, office buildings, shops, malls or even restaurants. Their responsibilities will have a heavy focus on maintenance, cleaning, and repairs.

Industrial Property Managers:

Industrial properties have unique needs based on their use, and they require specialised duties such as regular inspections to ensure compliance with regulations and codes. These types of properties are things like warehouses, distribution centres, and manufacturing plants and factories.

Special-Purpose Property Managers:

There are certain properties that have unique needs as they fall outside of these major categories. Spaces such as resorts, churches, theatres, and sports arenas have specific requirements and unique legal obligations that require specialised expertise. This is the niche that is filled by special-purpose property managers. They will have in-depth knowledge of their chosen industry and will provide bespoke services in line with the properties they look after. 

4. How do you get into Property Management?

Given the diversity of roles, and properties within the industry, there multiple ways to get on the career path of property management. The most effective methods to start on the property management pathway are as follows:

Getting a degree: There are certain universities that offer degrees in property management. However, there are other degrees where you can obtain relevant skills and knowledge such as:

  • Business administration.
  • General property management degrees, such as development or housing.
  • Accounting or Finance.
  • Urban Planning.

A degree will help you to not only get on the right career path but progress quicker as well.

Training Courses: If you already have a degree, or are looking for alternative options to university, you can always look into online courses. There are a number of online providers that offer courses to help grow your knowledge in this industry. Check that these courses have been certified or designed by ARLA (Association of Residential Letting Agents) or the NFoPP (National Federation of Property Professionals).

Work Experience: Relevant work experience can be just as important, in some cases even more important, than formal qualifications. The preference will vary from employer to employer, so it’s beneficial to have a good mix of the two.

You can use transferable skills from another job, such as administration skills, time management skills, and the ability to deliver on multiple deadlines and meet the expectations of multiple stakeholders. Customer services skills and effective communication are also crucial.

Alternatively, you can seek to find an entry-level position in the industry that has a low barrier to entry/skill requirement. Examples of these could be assistant or associate roles where you will have basic responsibilities and get the chance to work alongside others in the profession.

If you decide to take the plunge in to a career in property management, once you have built up the relevant work experience, you may decide to set up your own business.  Regardless of the type of property manager you become, you will need to protect your business, your staff and members of the public by choosing a comprehensive insurance package.

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