I am currently in a middle of a lease and I was wondering if I can hire a property manager at this time?
I anticipate there to be no problem with you hiring a professional, qualified property manager to handle your property for you, even if you are in the middle of the lease. Property management by third-party professionals is an extremely well-established practice in rental real estate across the country.
The only exception is if your lease agreement prohibited you somehow from doing this, which would be highly unusual. Almost unthinkable, unless the prospective tenant requested it, wrote it into the lease agreement, and you signed it. I have never seen a standard lease agreement that restricts the landlord from hiring a manager or changing managers if he or she chooses.
Think of it: Why would any landlord choose to use a lease agreement with this provision in it? It only restricts you, and the vast majority of tenants won’t care. Indeed, it may be easier for them to deal with a local property management firm that is responsive to repair requests, etc., than an absent and distracted landlord.
Even a landlord who enjoys handling the little challenges that come up every week with rental properties and prefers to do it himself wouldn’t want to include a lease provision that restricts him from hiring a manager later on if he wishes. After all, you may want to take some time off, travel for a family emergency, or you may be hospitalized or become disabled and unable to attend to the property personally.
In these cases you will have to hire a manager at some point! So I can’t imagine any reason why you would have voluntarily restricted yourself a priori. The option to hire a property manager is part of responsible financial planning for those who rely for their retirement security on income from rental properties.
There is one exception, though you don’t mention it in your question: If you already have a property manager, and you want to hire a different one – and fire the first one, then you’ll have to refer to the contract termination clauses in the contract you have with your existing manager.
You do, however, need to take care to ensure that your new manager is aware of the terms of your existing lease. It must enforce and adhere to the landlord’s rights and responsibilities in the existing lease. A new property manager cannot change them willy-nilly to suit itself. For example, late rental payment deadlines and penalties should not change. The new management could be minor changes in policies and rules concerning upkeep and appearance of the units, though, and take reasonable measures to enhance and improve the property value – as long as there is no conflict with the lease agreement itself.
Writing about personal finance and investments since 1999, Jason Van Steenwyk started as a reporter with Mutual Funds Magazine and served as editor of Investors’ Digest. He now publishes feature articles in many publications including Annuity Selling Guide, Bankrate.com, and more.