When renting or leasing a space, most people think of interacting with a landlord when it comes to managing the property and dealing with any potential issues. But some properties have a property manager that negotiates and communicates with tenants rather than a landlord. So what exactly is a property manager, and what do they do?
A commercial property manager in a nutshell is a steward of another’s property. The manager serves as a liaison between the landlord and tenant. The lease serves as the governing document in the relationship, and it is the manager’s job to ensure both parties comply with the terms of the lease document both parties executed. While the specifications and responsibilities of a property manager vary based on property type and terms of their contract, the following are just a few of the typical tasks performed property managers.
There are numerous hats worn by the property manager, which can be divided into two different but related categories—the physical and fiscal aspects of the property. On the physical side, the manager inspects the condition of the property, hires and manages all the vendors and service providers, and makes recommendations for improvements and maintenance of the asset to preserve its value. On the fiscal side, the manager prepares the annual budget, collects tenant rent payments, pays all service providers and vendors, handles the banking and mortgage relationships, reports all financial activities monthly, and distributes cash to the owner as directed by the owner.
Many of a property manager’s tasks are similar to that of a landlord’s. Unlike a landlord, however, a property manager does not own the property they manage. Property managers are hired to conduct the affairs mentioned above when an owner is unable to personally tend to them. Although property managers are not technically landlords, they still must abide by state landlord-tenant laws, acting as a sort of middleman between the owners and tenants of a property.
The best commercial property managers are adept at time management, and building longstanding relationships with their tenants, owners, and vendors, which goes a long way to ensure the smoothest business environment for all concerned.