If you think all it takes to be a landlord is placing an ad and cashing the rent cheques, think again, very carefully.
Most people think renting their house is quite easy, says Claire Flewelling-Wyatt, general manager of residential property management for Pemberton Holmes.
“If you get a good tenant it can be,” she noted. “But with the way the Residential Tenancy Act is laid out, you can get into trouble very quickly.”
Whether it’s a multi-million dollar property or a one-bedroom apartment, the problems can be the same because the rules are the same, she said.
“Under the tenancy act, everyone must abide by the same rules,” Flewelling-Wyatt said. “If you don’t understand those rules, you have no business being a landlord.”
Property managers act as a liaison between the owner and the tenant by marketing and arranging showings, executing leases and taking care of maintenance and tenancy issues.
“It’s not as much property management as people management,” Flewelling-Wyatt said.
A lot of the reasons for that is that homeowners believe the property they’re renting is their investment or their home, while renters are coming in with the intention of making it their home, she explained.
“Those two ideals can clash, so property managers have to manage both sets of expectations to ensure a smooth relationship,” she said. “You have to wear a lot of different hats.”
Managing trades including plumbing, electrical, contractors, insurance, lawyers and in some cases social services requires a varied collection of skill sets.
“We’ve had to deal with emergencies like flood, fires, suicides, murder, loss of life. A lot of judgment is required to deal with those situations,” Flewelling-Wyatt said. “You have to be very thick-skinned. The burnout rate is about five years.”
Other aspects of property management include collecting rent and making good decisions regarding maintenance to keep costs down. There’s also working with non-residents, explaining tax implications and helping the owner understand financial statements because the property is being run as a business.
“There are consequences when people don’t pay rent,” she added. “It can involve arbitration, small claims court and situations that involve lawyers and lead to court.”
Add to the mix that commercial and strata properties fall under a different set of rules, and it’s easy to understand why professional property managers must be licensed through the B.C. Real Estate Association.
“Pemberton Holmes has established its reputation through the level of training, experience and professionalism we provide,” Flewelling-Wyatt said.
Pemberton Holmes is a family-run business that has handled property management and real estate sales in the Victoria area and the South Island for more than 100 years. Four generations have carried on the family tradition since Joseph Pemberton first embarked upon his real estate ventures in 1887.
Offices in Victoria, Langford, Sooke and the Cowichan Valley handle listings that include residences for rent and for sale, strata management and commercial property rental and sales. For more information go to thepropertymanagers.ca.