Want to Know What a Property Manager Does? Here’s the Job Description

Dawn M. Smith
Written by Dawn M. Smith
Updated August 15, 2022
A property manager showing an apartment to a couple
Photo: FG Trade / E+ / Getty Images


  • Property managers serve as the eyes and ears of a property owner.

  • They are responsible for a wide array of rental management tasks. 

  • Property managers charge between 8% and 12% of monthly rent.

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Whether you own an apartment complex or want to rent your vacation home in the off-season, hiring a property manager can help save you time, money, and frustration. However, finding the right property management may take some time, depending on your needs. 

Factors like location, experience, and knowledge all come into play, and you may end up with an individual property manager or decide to work with an entire management company. Here’s what property managers do and why partnering with one might be the best solution for your rental property.

What is a Property Manager?

Property managers and property management companies handle daily maintenance and upkeep of the property, and they’re trained real estate professionals who can do so much more, depending on their client’s needs. 

A property manager essentially serves as the eyes, ears, and often a nose for residential or commercial rental property owners. Owners hire property managers to handle and inform them of a wide range of tenant issues and maintain the physical property. 

What Does a Property Manager Do?

If you own a property but have no interest in maintaining it yourself or live too far away to perform routine maintenance, hiring a property manager or management company might be your preferred option. That way, you’re not on the hook for the property hassles that often occur, such as plumbing issues, loud neighbors, or eviction notices. Turning those less desirable tasks over to a property manager can help you avoid day-to-day headaches.

Common Property Manager Duties

 A property manager handling money transactions through her laptop
Photo: d3sign / Moment / Getty Images

Whether they’re managing a commercial property, a beachfront condo, or an entire apartment complex, property managers have a lot on their plate. They typically perform duties like these tasks.

Show Available Units  

One of the most important reasons a property owner hires a manager is to market available properties and maintain occupancy, so income isn’t lost in between renters. Property managers meet prospective tenants and show available rental units in their best light, showcasing its highlight features. A property manager also answers potential renter questions and acts as a point of contact during the lease term. 

Vet Potential Renters

Once a new tenant submits a rental application, it’s up to rental management to run the background and credit checks and conduct an interview. Property managers carefully work through vetting steps to look for potential red flags, like an insufficient monthly income or a criminal history. 

Collect Rent Payments and Deposits 

While many rent transactions happen online, it’s not uncommon for renters to pay their apartment fees, deposits, and monthly rent with a check or money order. Property managers collect the money and deposit it for the owner on time. They also process late rent payments, damage fees, and eviction notices. 

Perform Routine Maintenance and Specific Requests 

Rental properties have an extensive list of rules and laws to comply with in addition to local codes to remain in business. Property managers handle these details, including maintaining smoke alarms, carbon monoxide detectors, door and window security, and appropriate lighting.

They also take care of tenants’ specific requests if something goes wrong, like a clogged sink, a broken air conditioner, or visits from unwanted pests. 

Supervise Emergencies

When home emergencies occur, the property manager is available to handle the situation and oversee any necessary repairs. This responsibility is one of the main reasons property owners feel it’s essential to hire a property manager—so they can deal with daily home repair emergencies like burst pipes and fires. 

Follows and Enforces Landlord-Tenant Laws 

Property owners rely on their managers to stay updated with federal and local landlord-tenant laws. It’s beneficial for everyone involved with the lease to know their rights and responsibilities to avoid legal action. Property managers keep up with regulations regarding deposits, service animals, military members, various eviction processes, and more. 

Questions to Ask a Prospective Property Manager

Since a property manager or management company will take care of your investment property, it’s important to vet all candidates thoroughly before making a hiring decision. You want to find someone who is responsible, honest, and organized. 

During the interview process, be sure to ask the following questions:

  • What is your property management experience?

  • Are you comfortable performing routine maintenance?

  • How will tenants reach you?

  • Will you be available to answer tenant requests on evenings and weekends?

  • What are your screening guidelines for prospective tenants?

  • What options will tenants have for paying their deposit and rent?

  • How would you handle a difficult tenant?

  • Who will determine the rent prices?

  • How often will you provide me with updates?

  • What types of additional fees do you charge?

How Much Do Property Managers Charge?

The fees a property manager bills the property owner depends on the rentals’ size and the scope of the work. However, most property managers and management companies charge a monthly fee of between 8% and 12% of the total rent collected

There are often additional charges (tallied as a part of the flat fee or percentage) that the owner could see on the invoice from the property manager. 

Flat Management Fees 

Some property managers charge a flat management fee instead of a percentage of the total rent. The total cost usually depends on the client's needs (rent collection, vetting, maintenance) and the size and location of the property. 

Lease Setup and Renewal Fees

Owners also pay property managers a special fee for starting and renewing tenant contracts. These fees could include payment for their time spent on marketing duties, showing tenants the property, and handling the application process. 

Maintenance Fee 

Maintenance fees vary depending on the property management company or manager. For example, they may bill for their time handling maintenance and repairs, or they could charge a fee to cover the costs of pre-planned maintenance and repairs. 

Eviction Fees

Evictions are complicated and time-consuming, so it’s essential that the property manager understands the laws and regulations to legally evict a tenant to avoid lawsuits against the property owner. 

Pros and Cons of Working With a Property Manager

If you’re a property owner, you’ve probably questioned whether or not you need a property manager’s help, especially if you don’t live near your property or own multiple locations. Consider these pros and cons when deciding if a professional property manager is a solution for your rental property challenges. 

Pros of Hiring a Property Manager

  • Helps you oversee properties and take care of tenants’ needs.

  • Provides a reliable point of contact for your tenants. 

  • Manages and tracks daily maintenance, upkeep, and repair projects. 

  • Allows you to grow your investment business from afar. 

Cons of Hiring a Property Manager

  • Property manager fees could cost more than is feasible for your rental business. 

  • You might need flexibility during the property manager hiring process to meet your standards and expectations. 

  • You’ll give up some control over basic management decisions, like tenant screening. 

  • It can be difficult to replace a property manager.

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