photo credit: TheAlieness GiselaGiardino??
One of the things that many people fail to take into account when they consider working as property managers is the fact that they are always going to end up stuck in the middle. The purpose of the property manager is to work as a liaison between the landlord and the tenants of the property. To do so without going crazy, you really need to be able to draw clear boundaries on both sides as to what your role is going to be.
The specific role that the property manager will play varies considerably between properties. Some landlords only expect the property manager to collect the rent and report any problems with the building. Other landlords expect the property manager to play a more active role in handling problems with tenants and taking care of issues that arise on the property. It’s fine that these terms vary but they should never be unclear. To make sure about that, the landlord and property manager should sign a written agreement about what’s expected and what the protocol will be for handling common situations.
On the other side of the middleman equation will be the tenants who live in the building. You won’t have a written contract with them about your role but you also shouldn’t fail to make it clear. You might even draw up a letter of introduction with the landlord which outlines your basic role for all new tenants to understand. Whether or not you do this, you’ll have to expect that tenants will try to put you in the middle. Be clear about what issues are yours to deal with and what problems they need to go straight to the landlord to discuss.
The main thing for all parties to keep in mind is that each member of the landlord-manager-tenant relationship has a specific role to play. It is your job to make sure that you don’t cross the boundaries of your own role as well as to make sure not to let others cross them. Being clear and confident in your communication with everyone should keep problems to a minimum.