Blocks & Lots

What does a property manager do?

A property manager oversees a rental property for the home’s owner. Condos and co-ops employ property managers to make sure the building runs smoothly, manage tenants, and address their concerns.

Property managers may also oversee commercial real estate. Sometimes property managers are individuals. But there are many property management firms that specialize in this kind of work. There are also brokerages that manage properties.

Registration and city filings

One of the main tasks of property managers is ensuring the property meets city rules. For example, the property manager may register rental properties with the city. Owners must register all properties that neither the owner nor the owner’s immediate family occupies.

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Responsibilities and roles

In addition to paperwork, property managers oversee the day-to-day operations of a building and manage relationships with tenants. They may also set the rent price for a property, find renters, and handle evictions if necessary. They will also typically oversee maintenance issues that pop up in the course of renting.

In condos and co-ops, property managers follow the building board’s lead and help enforce rules. They enable communication between the board and residents. They may also resolve conflicts among residents.

Thus, you can think of a property manager as occupying a number of roles: rule enforcer and conflict manager but also a conduit for information and the go-to person for maintenance issues.

Property manager’s role in buying and selling

The property manager may assist a condo or co-op board with transitions in ownership of units by screening potential tenants and filling out paperwork associated with the buying process.

For example, the property manager fills out the condo questionnaire, which allows a potential buyer to get a mortgage.

Cost of property management

Property management fees vary widely based on the firm, the size of the building, and the scale of the services the manager will perform. Some building boards take on certain management responsibilities themselves to reduce costs. Others will opt for more expansive management.

The cost of property management will be factored into monthly common charges. Therefore, a change in management is one of many factors that can affect this add-on to the expenses of condo and co-op ownership.

How to contact property managers

Typically, there will be a way for you to contact the property manager directly. However, in the event you have a problem a property manager cannot solve or a complaint about management, you may go to the co-op or condo board.

New York’s property managers

Hundreds of firms offer property management services in New York. Some specialize in property management; others are real estate brokerages that offer management as one service among others. These firms vary widely in size and cost.

New York property managers do not need a real estate broker’s license if all they do is oversee the maintenance of a building. But if they list properties, negotiate rent prices, or collect rent, they must have a broker’s license.

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Top photo courtesy of Pacific Park Brooklyn.

Joe Zappa