Rental property managers oversee and manage rental properties on behalf of the owners. They carry out tasks such as collecting rent, finding tenants, handling maintenance, and repairs, managing disputes and even assisting the eviction process. The key responsibility of this role is to help owners ensure the real estate investment generates rental income while ensuring smooth day-to-day operations. A career as a rental property manager requires great diplomacy, excellent people skills, and the ability to organize tasks effectively. 

Quite Stable: Rental property management is generally more stable than working in other more “sales-orientated” roles in real estate (e.g. real estate agent, mortgage brokers, etc.) Unlike property owners, the manager does not need to risk up from purchasing his or her property.

Foreseeable Upside: Successful property managers can accumulate a portfolio of clients and build up management income over time. This can be a relatively safe and stable way to build up your career and earnings year after year.

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Job Description

Rental property managers act on behalf of property owners to ensure the rental property generates rental income and runs smoothly. Rental property managers often deal directly with (1) tenants, (2) building maintenance contractors, and (2) any other parties (such as government agencies, accountants, legal, etc.). The rental property manager is often the first point of contact for tenants at a rental building. 

Property managers working as employees are paid with guaranteed salary and/or wages based on their duties and experience level.  For large rental property operations, the responsibilities are contracted out to a property management company that takes on a wide range of duties. Property management companies employ licenced rental property managers to carry out specific tasks. 

It is common to see large property owners that own many large rental apartment complexes contract out multiple buildings to one rental property manager to manage.

What Does a Rental Property Manager Do?

Though some landlords do opt to facilitate the operation of their rental units themselves, many choose to employ a rental property manager to assist with these duties. (This is especially true for larger property owners.) The roles fulfilled by the rental property manager can be quite diverse and are customized to suit each landlord and unique rental property.

Some rental property managers are responsible only for the collection of rent. However, many landlords prefer to contract out all services for the maintenance of their property to a competent manager that can oversee all operations. Some property managers service many different properties for different clients. 

The precise role a rental property manager is established by the landlord and often differs according to the type of rental unit requiring oversight. The allotted salary or fee also helps to determine what roles are fulfilled by a property manager and which ones are enacted by the owner himself. 

Among the possible roles a rental property manager may fulfill for a landlord are:

  • Rent payments

The one role that is most typically common to all rental property managers is the collection of monthly rent. But rental property managers are often more integrally linked to the subject of rent for these types of units than the average person may realize. Among the duties they may provide include the establishment of fair rental rates for a property and adjustments to monthly fees to reflect such changes as increases as a result of newly implemented tax laws or decreases for loss of certain services during times of renovation, repair, acts of God, or other unavoidable circumstances. 

  • Tenant management

Some rental property managers are tasked with finding and screening appropriate tenants for rental units. Their responsibilities can include placing ads in appropriate venues to alert home seekers to current vacancies. Once the right tenant has been selected, the rental property manager also assists with handling any complaints and requests for maintenance issues that must be addressed. 

As a final responsibility under tenant management, rental property managers also deal with the legal requirements and practicalities involved in evictions and tenants moving out of the rental units. 

  • Maintenance and repair oversight

One of the key roles a rental property manager provides is the oversight of the property as a whole to ensure each rental unit complies with the established municipal and provincial housing regulations. A critical component of this job not only centers on safety but also on ensuring that the unit itself is in suitable condition for tenants to live in. Emergency repairs are also a part of the mandate of the property manager, meaning this occupation can be known for somewhat irregular hours. 

Some property managers can perform necessary maintenance and repairs themselves; however, most commonly, they opt to hire appropriate professionals to carry out the needed tasks. 

  • Basic supervision and Inspection

On occasion, a landlord will require the services of a rental property manager to visit vacant rent units to ensure they remain free from vandalism. This particular aspect of the job means regular check-ins at the property where the facility is carefully inspected to determine that all aspects of the facility remain in good working order and are free from damage. 

  • Budgets and record-keeping

The landlord establishes the budget that the rental property manager must work within for the maintenance and regular operations of the property. These funds are allotted for such tasks as dealing with emergencies, authorizing repairs, paying contracted service providers, and more. 

Generate reports on rent collected from tenants, expenses incurred, inspection reports, original copies of signed leases, formal tenant complaints, repair accounts, and insurance fees.

The rental property manager maintains detailed and accurate records to help provide an accurate assessment of the physical state of the property, the required repairs and maintenance, and associated costs. 

  • Property taxes assessment and filing

Though it varies from job to job, some property managers assume the role of filing for and paying the taxes for a rental property while others assist the owner with the necessary steps to take to do so.

How Much Do Rental Property Managers Make?

The average salary for a rental property manager in British Columbia is $57,000 per year. However, rate of pay can be affected by a number of different variables. These include how many rental properties the manager is responsible for as well as the amount of time and effort expended into the work of helping each facility to operate efficiently. 

For rental property managers that operate in more metropolitan areas, earnings can reach as high as $94,000 annually. The amount of experience as well as location of the property also deeply impact the potential for income. 

Ambitious property managers who are entrepreneurial typically look to start their own property management business to increase earnings potential over time.

How Do the Numbers Work? Where’s the upside?

Rental property managers are paid depending on their role:

  • Working independently: Mostly a percentage of the rental value of the property (obviously managing multiple units at once)
  • Working as an employee at a company: A salary plus performance incentive if working at a company
  • Owning a property management company: Some combination of the following – fixed fee, percentage of rent income, tenant placement fee, eviction fees, maintenance and other admin fees. The actual fees are difficult to generalize; they largely depend on the size and location of the property, and requirements of the role.

The Upside: 

    • Since management fees are largely based on rental income from existing rental properties, fees are generally stable year over year. (In contrast, a real estate agent’s income can be volatile because it is completely driven by buy/sell activity.) 
    • Given rents have increased the past decade in Canada, the value of rents being managed has generally increased overtime as well!
    • Good property managers (management companies) build a portfolio of clients, which equates to growing fees and cash flow every year.
    • In essence, running a property management company can be building a stable source of cash flow that increases steadily over time, year after year.

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A Day in a Life of a
Rental Property Manager

When considering a career as a rental property manager, it is a good idea to take the time to understand what a day in the life of someone in this field looks like. There are many benefits to choosing this occupation, including flexible working hours, stable and consistent income opportunities with room for growth, and the joys of being self-employed. For job seekers looking for financial stability and job security, it is an excellent field to consider. What does a day in the life of the average rental property manager look like?

Rental Property Manager Mornings

As the first task of the day, many rental property managers catch up on any emails, text messages, and social media accounts (Facebook, Twitter, and Instagram) received. It is also a great time to review any developments that may have occurred that could impact their rental units and any work scheduled on them for that particular day.

Rental Property Manager Lunches

Since rental property managers do a fair bit of traveling from property to property throughout their day, a good lunch is vitally important to maintain appropriate energy reserves. Many rental property managers like to make this meal a working lunch by using the time to refuel their bodies while also ticking off a few essential items on their “to-do lists.”

Among the things a rental property manager can accomplish during their lunch break include:

  • Screen prospective tenants for rental units
  • Answer any correspondence requiring a response such as phone calls or emails
  • Prepare advertisements for rental vacancies in need of tenants 
  • Meet with colleagues to converse about efficient practices for property management strategies
  • Schedule appointments for necessary repairs
  • Address tenant complaints

Rental Property Manager Afternoons

Making the time to visit each rental property to assess the quality and care of the facility is an integral part of every rental property manager’s day. To most effectively use their time, most managers responsible for several different properties schedule their visits to specific locations on specific days, allowing them to apply their singularity of focus to that one property alone. 

Since all properties will require some renovations, repairs, and maintenance on an ongoing basis, it is also a critical part of the rental property manager’s job to check in with the hired contract service providers as well as to make an in person appearance to inspect the work. This is a vital part of ensuring that cost overruns do not occur, quality is maintained, and safety regulations are carefully adhered to. 

Addressing any tenant complaints is an important part of the rental property manager’s role. Sometimes these can be handled directly over the phone. Yet other times, an in-person meeting is necessary, particularly if a property inspection is required to resolve the complaint amicably. 

Rental Property Manager Nights

Most prospective tenants do not have the flexibility of working hours to be able to meet with a rental property manager during the daytime. This often means that screening interviews, lease signing, and even complaint resolutions need to occur on an after-hours basis.  However, with today’s digital technology, and with COVID-19, many property managers adopt to interview the tenants online via conference software, and use digital lease contract to avoid direct contact with tenants. 

Since emergencies rarely occur during regular working hours, the rental property manager must also be prepared to take calls during the middle of the night, on weekends, and at other inconvenient times of the day. At times, an on-site inspection may be required, and emergency assistance dispatched to the property. 

Career as a Rental Property Manager: Jobs and Growth

What Career Opportunities Exist for a Rental Property Manager?

With so many properties available for rent in the metropolitan Vancouver region alone, it is not difficult to see how a career in this lucrative field offers job seekers the job security, financial stability, and exciting career growth they need. 

Completing the rental property manager’s licensing program equips job seekers with many different skills that can assist them with getting jobs as property managers.

Property managers typically play the following roles:

  • Independent property managers: typically work for smaller landlords or owners; do not work as part of a larger company
  • Employee: Being part of a property management company as an employee, manager or executive
  • Company Owner: Owning a property management company large or small
  • Landlord: Some property managers end up being a large real estate owner themselves!

What are the Advantages of Choosing a Career as a Rental Property Manager?

Most people view becoming a rental property manager as a gateway to financial stability. While this is true, there are other benefits to be gained from a career as a rental property manager. These include:

  • Flexible working hours
  • Potential for income growth
  • Opportunity to employ social skills through working with people
  • Job satisfaction through the regular application of problem-solving skills
  • Financial stability in a field that offers competitive wages and job security
  • Diverse work responsibilities

Perhaps one of the biggest draws to this particular occupation is the feeling of playing a part in a greater whole. Rental property managers have the opportunity to assist people on a daily basis by helping owners to maintain beautiful properties and tenants to see resolution to any ongoing issues they may be experiencing. In addition to this, they play a vital role in helping home seekers find the rental unit that perfectly fits their lifestyle, uniting them with the ideal place that feels like home.

Why Should I Consider Becoming a Rental Property Manager?

For those seeking a new career opportunity, there is much to commend becoming a rental property manager. Though it is hard to argue with the benefits of job security and financial stability, people choosing this exciting career path have far more to gain than just financial rewards. 

Among the advantages people can realize from a job as a rental property manager are:

  • Job security – much less volatility than purely sales-orientated roles
  • Visible financial upside for those who are entrepreneurial or ambitious
  • Opportunity to unite home seekers with their ideal dwelling place
  • Satisfaction of assisting with conflict resolution
  • Flexibility of work schedules (for those who work independently)
  • Independence achieved through self-employment
  • Potential for income growth
  • Financial stability
  • Interesting work
  • Increased social and networking opportunities

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