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Hiring Property Manager

I recently hired a property manager to help me handle this rental property. I was in such a hurry  that I rushed the research process. The first one I found, I met her at the house & hired her right away. They're great to work with --until she informed me they found a tenant, & have given them an offer for the property. I informed her, that I need to be present for the lease signing and key issuance, Also requested copy of the tenant's application .  Plus I want to have the tenant write the security deposit check payable to my name. The property management contract said that it is negotiable & the security deposit funds to place in their account is certainly an "option" if I choose to.  A day later, the owner replied and said I was asking too much, & that my demands too high for them to fulfill, and accused me of not trusting them. And therefore they wish to terminate the contract.   Is this all normal?  Should I fire them?

Sounds to me like you got lucky that they bailed. Unless you have multiple properties and you are hiring a full service mgmnt "COMPANY", you're better off being the final decision maker and just using the "independent" property mgr for rent collection/deposit to an account YOU are only signatory on, repairs during lease term, fielding those 3 AM phone calls, periodic inspection of property, etc.
Michelle, Contact either a Management Co or RE Agency that has property management. In CA they normally charge 1/2 months rent. For this they (or should) advertise, show property and run a credit / reference check. When they find a qualified renter, they should contact you and give their opinion. They also should fax/email (.pdf file) you a copy of the application and credit report for your review. With this information, you make the final decision to accepting them. I feel the work they are doing is well worth 1/2 the months rent. I DO NOT let them manage the property. Locate a good handyman for minor repairs. This is a must. It's normal for the Agency to collect the Sec.Dep and rents before move-in. They also will do a property inspection and give the new tenants keys, etc. after the inspection on move-in day. They will send you a check for amounts collected less their fee. Not to worry about 3am calls. They're exclusive for the President of the USA...LOL it was stated.
One more thing, Michelle, if you don't have your own rental agreement, ask the Agency for a copy of their agreement including any addendums. Don't be afraid to ask them to include changes or additions that you feel are necessary.
Thank you Stan & Will for feedback. Ends up, the property mgmt company I hired has a "crook" mentality. They showed the house, took applications, took security deposit payable to their company name even though I specifically said I'd like to keep hold of the security deposit  ( all without informing me any of this as it is all happening). When I finally ask how the property showing are going, she said she found me a tenant already. In a joyous surprise, I was curious to find out who the they are. So I ask for a copy of the application that was filled out,  a glimpse of the credit report, possible a copy of the rental agreement she's to have the tenants sign so I can add an addendum item. Property manager  got so upset & gave me attitude. Refused. Said they don't provide owners copies of the above mentioned. And security deposit they keep since its payable to their name.  They threat to cancel the agreement between me and them, claiming I was too demanding. I ran real fast and agreed.
Problem now is -- they have my tenants security deposit to my property. They refuse to give me my tenants contact numbers, until  one of the tenants called me and ask when they can move in.  Having my own lease agreements & walk through forms on hand, I moved the tenants in on my own, I did the walk through w. them, since property mgnr cancelled the contract before this  tenant is moved in.   Tenant now refuse to give me a security deposit until they get theirs returned from this property mngr ( whose contract between me & the property mngr is now cancelled) . I asked property mngr for return of key & the security dep check nicely, can i pick it up, she said no. they have PO box address,can they mail, she said no, they have to mail it to the tenants. Been few days, they have not received it, and... I'm  nervous because I  *still*  don't have a security deposit collected from this property and tenants have already move in. All happening within ONE week. Jan 1. Any Advice? What do i do ?
Glad things worked out, Michelle. I noticed that you stated "a glimpse of the credit report, possible a copy of the rental agreement." There is no "glimpse" or "possible". Before you sign w/an agency ask them for a copy of their Agency Agreement (between you and them) + a copy of their Rental Agreement, etc for your review. Ask them what they charge for finding a tenant (only) and what they do for that amount. Thanks for sharing. I believe your experience will help others.
Michelle, you should not have allowed them to move in since you did not sign a lease agreement. The tenant would have to have contacted the Agency for the security deposit. Not knowing all the details, you probably would not have been liable since lease was not signed. Since you have no contract w/Agency and no lease was signed, the Agency would have to return the security deposit to the tenant. However, they should also send you a key to the property. If tenants have not moved in yet, hold them off until you get the sec.dpst. It's up to them to get it from the Agency. Keeep in touch.
Sometimes, doing things yourself works out better if it is possible. Be very prudent in checking your prospective tenants out thoroughly. Use a good sound lease, this web-site is a good place for that. Get an attorney ready just in case. I would rather save my money that could be spent on a property manager and use it towards legal fees if needed. Property managers are not bad.....but unless you have a really large portfolio and no time to manage, save the money....they make mistakes too.
Hi I'm a property mgr in Idaho..never heard of such a problem.  Seems like you have a real problem on your hands.  I give references for my cleints, I put the security deposit in an escrow account.  That way it is held to protect both owner & tenant.  I guess I should take 1/2 the 1st months rent, we don't do that here, just 10% of the amount (nothing of the deposits).  Good luck!! Pam , Idaho stated that your company's fees are 10% of the monthly rent. Correct? Questions: (1) what is the avg. rent in your area for 2 / 3 bedrm unit? (2) What does your company offer the LL for the 10%?
I agree with all that Denise mentioned. However, "Get an attorney ready just in case"....I'm not sure why one would need an attorney in CA., unless it's for advice. A landlord should be able to handle most of the problems that arise.
Stan, It depends if you are talking a house or an apartment.  We are in a small town near the OR border, they may range from $475 to  $900 a month.  If you have pets it is a non refundable pet fee, of which I take no part of.  I have a staff that will go in and clean, if need be, someone on call that can fix something wrong for $12 an hr. or you can have someone else if you wish. I pay for the advertising & screen the tenants.  I have tenants that have been w/me for 3 yr in some cases.  I have been doing this for awile now & have clients from CA, WA, FL, NV, & ID.  Most of my tenants get their deposits back.  Here the LL talk to one another, the best part of a small town of which I am the largest agent in the town.  I have rentals in a 75 mi area, am on call 24/7 & must say enjoy what I do.  For one of my clients I even set up teams to go in and do whatever needs done to get it remodeled so we can get on the ground for renting.
Hey Pam, if you like the 1/2 rent, it may be time to move to CA...LOL. I'd be more than happy to consider you to find me renters at 10%. $90 (10% of $900) barely covers (my humble opinion) your expenses of finding a tenant if you're paying for credit checks, advertising and showing the property. I don't know how many times in the beginning I waited for an interested party only for them to be a no-show. To me, time is money. That's why I started hire agencies for finding and screening my tenants. However, I make sure I get copies of application, credit report and agent's thoughts on the individual(s) and I make a final decision. Thanks for responding. It's nice to know what rates are in other areas.
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