The Responsibilities of a Property Manager

Investors rely on property managers for help running their properties—from setting rent to knowing local laws, this guide covers the job of property managers.
Written by Kathryn Mae Kurlychek
Reviewed by Melanie Reiff
You may think of property managers as little more than the people you write your rent checks to. But the responsibilities of property managers extend well beyond collecting monthly rent; in fact, property managers can be valuable resources for renters and investors alike. 
Large-scale real estate investors typically hire property managers to alleviate the burdens of day-to-day operations and responsibilities of commercial properties. But what, exactly, do property managers do
The answer is a lot! From filling vacant units to collecting rent and responding to emergency maintenance situations, property managers wear many hats—and here to help you understand them all is
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What is a property manager?

A property manager is an individual or company hired by a property owner or real estate investor to oversee and manage the day-to-day demands of a particular property or set of properties. 
Property managers can be valuable assets to property owners, especially if you’ve invested in multiple properties in a variety of locations. From providing greater expertise in local laws and regulations to alleviating the technical demands of owning commercial properties, property managers can perform many services depending on the needs of the proprietor.  

What does a property manager do?

Property manager responsibilities can include finding tenants, establishing and collecting rent, handling maintenance requests, and even setting the budget for the property itself. Here are some of the key responsibilities.


Whether an investor lives out of state or simply lacks the time to advertise and show a property, a key role property managers play is in marketing and filling properties for the owner. Property managers are responsible for listing units online, showing the property to prospective tenants, and screening
(e.g.: performing background and credit checks). 
The longer a property sits vacant, the more money the property owner loses—but working with a property manager can help eliminate the financial loss of vacant units, as well as provide a more consistent, local, and hands-on presence in the renting process. 


Speaking of rent—property managers are also responsible for setting and collecting rent payments and communicating with tenants regarding rent policies.
This also may include handling delinquent or bounced checks, overdue payments and collections, and even evictions. Once rent is collected, a property manager will deposit the payment for the owner—some property managers use an online payment system for faster processing. 


In addition to advertising, showing, and leasing units, property managers also directly handle and respond to maintenance requests. Whether it’s a broken appliance or a larger system failure, the immediacy of a property manager’s response can both prevent future issues and also ensure a tenant’s safety and satisfaction on the property. 
From addressing issues and complaints, responding to after-hours emergencies, and preventing code violations, property managers act as a proactive mediator between renters and owners in the realm of maintenance requests. 

Landlord-Tenant laws

Property managers help alleviate the day-to-day stressors of overseeing a property—and for investors with properties out-of-state or across multiple states, they can also provide a level of local expertise that owners may lack.
Property managers are well-versed in local and state tenant-landlord laws, and this knowledge can prove invaluable in preventing tenant disputes and possible legal headaches. 

How much do property managers cost?

The average cost to hire a property manager is usually between 6% and 12% of your property’s gross monthly rental income.
Added expenses of working with a property manager may include paying several fees, including:
  • Management fees—monthly payment for the general services property managers provide (overseeing day-to-day operations, processing requests, etc.)
  • Maintenance fees, which may either be a small flat-rate fee or a percentage of the cost of a maintenance repair on the property
  • Leasing fees to cover the marketing and tenant screening process of filling a vacancy on the property
  • Lease-renewal fees for the process of renewing a current tenant’s lease 
For property owners and investors, the good news is hiring a property manager is usually tax-deductible as it’s considered a qualified business expense.

The Pros and Cons of property managers

Property managers can be an asset to real estate owners and investors in relieving the weight of daily operations—but working with a property manager comes with a cost. When considering whether to hire a property manager, it’s important to weigh the pros and cons. 

Pros of hiring a property manager

  • Increases investment opportunities: Hiring a property manager to take over the immediate needs of a property can free up an investor’s time to expand their real estate portfolio. For this reason, most large-scale investors work with property management companies!
  • Local knowledge and expertise: Property managers are well-versed in local laws and regulations, and their familiarity with an area can make them better suited to communicate with tenants. 
  • Hands-on presence: Property managers can provide extra support to owners who may not live close by their particular property and serve tenants in a greater capacity as a result of closer proximity to the property. 
  • Ensures income stays passive: When you’re investing in rental and commercial properties, the goal is often to utilize these sources of revenue as a stream of passive income. Property managers can help ensure that the income you generate from your properties stays passive by overseeing details and managerial tasks that are often tedious and time-consuming for property owners.  

Cons of hiring a property manager

  • Expensive: Working with a property manager comes at a cost—literally! Most property managers levy a fee between 6% and 12% of the property’s gross monthly rental income,
  • Requires investors to relinquish some control: Owners may have to relinquish some control over the property for managers to have the necessary freedom to handle operations.
  • Risk of low-quality service: Relinquishing some control of your property runs the risk of receiving low-quality service, such as if a property manager is not adequately screening tenants or responding to tenant concerns in a timely fashion, which could lead to damage to a unit or property or high tenant turnover rates—both of which cost the owner.

How to find renter’s insurance

Regardless of the kind of property you rent, securing quality
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There’s technically no set educational background required to become a property manager, however, expertise in management, real estate, and economics are essential elements of the job. There are courses available to those interested in becoming a property manager or starting a property management company—a career that could prove lucrative.
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