How to Keep Your Property Manager on His Toes

By: Ryan Lee

Property owners have to play their part in ensuring that their property manager does a good job and that the property is well-managed. It certainly helps when owners take a proactive stance in the operations and maintenance of the property.

The first tip is to be proactive. The owners should have regular meetings with them at least once in two months to get updates on what’s going on. Property owners should also set realistic budgets for the property manager to operate in. They should not try to cut the budget unnecessarily. It is also important to conduct regular tenant or customer satisfaction surveys to get feedback on the services provided by the property manager in order to track their performance.

Setting up key performance indicators (KPIs) for the property manager while establishing a proper reporting channel with them are among the key things property owners could do. Property owners should conduct joint walkabouts with their property manager, identify issues in the property and find solutions together.

A property manager is not an expert let’s say in law, or insurance and taxation, so you cannot expect them to know everything. However, a good property manager can be a good contact for various matters and in getting help from the real experts. Hence, it is imperative that owners provide support for the property manager, employ quality management staff, and have a good point of contact between the owners and the manager.

Well-managed property does not come cheap.

A lot of joint management bodies (JMBs) or management corporations are concerned over the cost or the fees charged if they hire a property manager. But if you give peanuts, you get monkeys. So if you want a good property manager, you have to be willing to pay good salaries or fees, adding that people need to understand that the fees also cover the back-end support from the property manager’s headquarters.

For instance, the engineers, security officers and staff from the headquarters may be able to provide expert advice and check various aspects of the building. No doubt, having a bad property manager can cause nightmares for the property owners. And problems involving property managers are many and varied.

JMB may then face difficulties in collecting service charges and fees as the property owners would refuse to pay due to the disappointing performance of the property manager. Moreover, there may also be a lack of transparency in the maintenance and sinking fund account and lack of professionalism in the property managers general conduct.

Kill the ugly, educate the bad and emulate the good.

The “Good” property manager

  • Able to upkeep the property at its optimum level, prolonging it’s lifecycle, reduce replacement cost and improve yield.
  • Able to ensure that your investment does not go down in value.
  • Able to maintain the premises with professionalism.
  • Able to work with full integrity and trustworthiness.

The “Bad and Ugly” property manager

  • Cause mismanagement of property.
  • Cause difficulties in collection of service charges and funds.
  • Lack transparency in managing monies and funds.
  • Lack of professionalism in general conduct.


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