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Is Your Property Manager Licensed?

J. Philip Faranda May 24, 2015

Hello Albany — we have a problem!

This is something that is not new, but it is getting a little ridiculous. I am talking about Property Managers in New York State.

In the past few weeks I have come across a Property Manager that tried to tell my home seller that they have a prospective tenant that wants to rent to own their house that I have listed for sale. That there is no need to pay me — just pay him. So I go look up his license and you got it, no license.

This isn’t the first time I have come across bad property managers. In the cities of Buffalo and Niagara Falls, I run into this regularly. I am getting tired of the calls from Investor Owners who have been lied to, cheated and are on the brink of disaster.

Things like:

  • Property Managers trying to avoid following the laws
  • Property Managers not paying the owners money due
  • Property Managers charging huge fees for work, then not completing the work
  • Property Managers not filling vacant properties in a timely manner
  • Property Managers not returning calls

A reputable property manager is vital to your success as an Investor. As it currently stands, these individuals are licensed under New York State law. A property manager must be a licensed real estate broker, or be a licensed agent and hang their license with a broker in order to practice. These individuals are regulated by New York Department of State. To file a complaint against a property manager contact:

File a Complaint with Department of State

NYS Department of State
Division of Licensing Services
Complaint Review Office
123 William Street, 19th Floor
New York, NY 10038-3804
Phone: (212) 417-5790

Hiring a Property Manager

There are two major reasons why someone hires a property manager — the are too busy or they live too far away to manage the day to day operations of an investment property.

I wish I could recommend a great property manager to my clients, but I cannot. Instead I tell them that all property managers must either be a Licensed Real Estate Salesperson or Broker and there are some questions to ask prospective Property Managers before they hire them:

  • Are you licensed in New York State; then certify that the real estate agent or broker you are working with is licensed by NYS:
  • How long have you been a Property Manager?
  • How long have you been a Property Manager in Buffalo?
  • Do you do this full time?
  • How do you communicate with us?
  • What work do you outsource?
  • How do you collect the rent?
  • Do you have a cancellation policy?
  • Do you have a move in/out checklist?
  • How many vacancies do you currently have?
  • Do you also list properties for sale?
  • If I select to sell my property, must I list it with you?
  • How many Real Estate Sales did you have last year? How many of those sales were for your Property Management Clients?
  • Do you have people who work for you?
  • How do you handle coverage when you are away?
  • How do you conduct tenant screening?
  • Do you have experience dealing with section 8 properties / tenants?
  • How do you handle late/non payment of rent?
  • What types of marketing do you do? Ask for examples.
  • Do you have a website?
  • Ask for references. Call them, ask lots of questions.
  • How do you handle evictions? How many evictions have you had to do this year? last year?
  • How do you handle accounting? Monthly reports?
  • How do you handle the deposits for my tenants?
  • What are your fees? May I see them in writing?
  • What type of contract do you require?
  • Do you have your own rentals?
  • Can I see a few properties that you currently manage?
  • How many properties do you manage?
  • How are repairs and maintenance handled?

When you’re interviewing management companies, be very aware of how they handle themselves. Are they professional and courteous? Do they answer your questions fully? When you decide to hire a property manager, make sure you get everything in writing. If it isn’t in writing, it doesn’t exist! Also, make sure you have an “out” written into the contract so you can get out of the relationship if you’re not happy with it after 90 or 120 days.

What About One Of These Homes?

All statistics are gathered from the Buffalo Niagara Association of REALTORS®.

For more information, call our J. Philip Real Estate Team at (716) 650-0051

Thinking of selling your Western New York home? Interested in finding out the current market value of your single family home, condo or investment property? Then call us at (716) 650-0051 to discuss what is happening in today’s Western New York Real Estate Market. We would be happy to give you a personalized Comparative Market Analysis for your home or assist you to purchase a home.

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