Guidelines to set for property managers

Wednesday August 7 2019

With guidance from legal counsel, draw up  work

With guidance from legal counsel, draw up work terms and conditions to be followed by the property manager. Net Photo 

By Shabibah Nakirigya

When property managers are given free rein over a property, they can easily take advantage of tenants to make extra profits. This is why there must be set guidelines within which they can operate.

Mr Adnan Mpuuga, the executive director of Eastlands agency, says before hiring a property manager, one must draw up conditions with help from legal counsel. He points out some of the conditions the landlord should be keen on when hiring a property manager.

Payment rates
Mr Mpuuga says the landlord should set a ceiling to how much the property manager can charge for rent. It should not be overly priced because this will keep tenants away. He says the property manager must consult the landlord about the rent they want to levy on tenants.

“Some property managers are greedy. They ask for too much money because they want to get a lot of commission,” he adds. When a landlord knows how much is being paid to the manager, they too will know how much to expect from them.

Terms of payment
Muhammed Kizito from Excel Property Consultants says you have to agree on the mode of payment you are going to use, be it via mobile money, bank deposits or physical cash delivery and how many months tenants should asked to pay for and also how to deal with late payments. He says some property managers ask for too much in form of advance payments without the landlord’s knowledge.

Period of contract
Mr Mpuuga says both parties should agree on the duration of the contract. Ideally, the contract should be annual or for three to five years.

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“Do not issue an open agreement or contract to a property manager because you may find it hard to terminate it,”Mpuuga advises.

Mpuuga adds that a closed contract helps a landlord review the manager’s performance and choose whether to renew or terminate the contract.

This also propels the manager to always meet their targets so that their contract can be extended.
Contracts also spell out what is expected of both parties.

“The contract is intended to eliminate confusion and create a clear mutual understanding between the two parties on how the relationship will function even in circumstances where a dispute might arise,’ he says

Kizito says it is advisable to screen several property managers before settling on the one to hire.

“During screening you can spot fake and real property managers. Usually, those who over sell themselves are fake and should be studied keenly.

“You have to ask for the previous work they have managed because many don’t have adequate experience,” he says.

Ask for a license
Mr Kizito stresses the need to ask for a manager’s working permit before hiring them.

“Many property managers operate illegally. Even those who are well known and have been in the field for a long time must be asked to present their licences. To be on the safe side, make sure the one you hire is licensed,” he says.

Mr Kizito adds that to determine if one is a good manager, they should meet the tenants privately and find out how they are treated by the manager and if there is anything suspicious about the way the manager conducts business.

Be vigilant
Inspection: Make impromptu visits to your tenants to find out how they are being treated by the property manager.

Receipts: Insist on receipts for all payments recieved.

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