What Is Property Management?
In its broadest sense, the term property management encompasses all the duties and responsibilities involved in the administration and oversight of real estate. We typically use this term in the context of managing rental properties. A landlord may take on these tasks independently, or hire a property management company to manage properties and tenants. In some geographical locations, the municipal government may require a landlord to use a property management company if said owner lives far from the apartment or home that they are renting out. Rules and regulations for property management companies vary depending on location, but many states require managers to have a real estate license in order to provide services. The various elements of property management include building maintenance, financial management, working with insurance companies, and consulting with attorneys to address legal issues.
When it comes to the responsibilities associated with leasing properties, there is a tenant lifecycle that begins with attracting renters, continues with screening and retaining renters, and concludes with turning units around after tenants move out. For a quick overview of some common tasks related to this lifecycle, here is a partial list of property management responsibilities:
- New Tenants: Attracting new tenants includes setting appropriate rental rates, marketing the property with high-quality photos, advertising the unit online (including on your own website if possible), and hosting open houses. Once you have potential tenants, it’s time to undertake a screening process, which may include an interview, an application, a background check, and a reference collection. You will need to give new tenants a lease and any other agreements, and, after you collect a security deposit and rent payment, you’ll provide the tenant with keys. You will copy and retain all signed documents and complete any administrative tasks in order to update tenant information and verify payments.
- Current Tenants: When new tenants are going through the orientation process and signing agreements, make sure that you clearly state expectations to avoid issues later. Maintaining positive relationships with renters helps with tenant retention, which can save time and money. You should document for reference any communication or issue that arises with a tenant. Other ongoing tasks include performing routine maintenance on properties, dealing with repairs, collecting rent payments, and notifying tenants when it is time to renew a lease.
- Tenant Turnaround: Hopefully, tenants will stay on top of payments and provide adequate notice when they decide to move. If not, you will have to provide warning notices to a tenant, which can ultimately lead to an eviction process. When tenants are moving out, you conduct an inspection to determine whether they are responsible for any needed repairs. Their portion of that responsibility determines the amount of their security deposit refund. As you prepare the unit for the next renters, tasks focus once again on attracting new tenants, thus, restarting the tenant lifecycle.
Management companies typically create and follow a property management policies and procedures manual in order to create consistency in business practices and establish clear guidelines for handling all of the tasks listed above, and more.
Property Management Templates
Property Management Spreadsheet - Excel
Manage finances for multiple properties with this Excel template. The spreadsheet lists rental income and expenses so that you can quickly view which properties are most profitable. While this spreadsheet is designed for tracking financial data, you can easily modify it to include tenant details and other property management information.
Property Management Agreement Template
A property management agreement form provides a binding contract between a landlord and a property manager in order to protect both parties and provide clear expectations. This template provides a basic outline that you can edit to suit your specific needs. A typical agreement describes the property manager’s responsibilities, payment details, dates of service, and other terms.
Download Property Management Agreement Template
Property Management Checklist Template
Having an organized checklist of tasks to follow can make the management process feel less overwhelming, reduce the chances of forgetting important duties — especially those that affect legal compliance — and keep your business operating smoothly. Anything that fosters good business practices can reinforce a positive reputation with tenants. Use this template as is, or adjust it to create your own comprehensive checklist.
Download Property Management Agreement Template
Vacation Rental Property Management Checklist
This checklist template is specifically for vacation properties, allowing you to create a detailed list of duties, from marketing and leasing to cleaning and exterior maintenance. You may want to create separate checklists for seasonal responsibilities or keep administrative tasks separate from maintenance duties. No matter how you use the template, a simple checklist can help you stay on top of managing vacation rentals.
Download Vacation Rental Property Management Checklist
Maintenance and Inspection Templates
Maintenance Work Order Template - Excel
Use this maintenance work order template for repairs or routine maintenance projects. The template includes important details, such as the terms of service, the work description, itemized costs for labor and materials, and an approval signature. Keep copies of your work orders so that you have detailed records of maintenance issues and associated costs.
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Maintenance Log Template
Record maintenance data in a running log in order to keep track of damages, repairs, and preventive maintenance. Issues may include updating household appliances, ordering repairs, or preparing a unit for new tenants. This simple log template can help ensure that you approve and complete maintenance requests in a timely manner.
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Property Management Inspection Checklist
Use this inspection checklist as a move-in or move-out form. Edit the checklist so that the list of items conforms to your property, and include any necessary move-out tasks, such as collecting keys or returning a security deposit. An inspection checklist can help keep you from overlooking items and can provide a comparison between the property’s move-in and move-out condition.
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Commercial Property Inspection Checklist
Designed specifically for commercial properties, this inspection checklist includes exterior and interior spaces, such as common areas and elevators. Depending on the size and type of building, you may need to add details to or remove details from the checklist. To meet safety standards for commercial buildings, include items such as emergency equipment, heating and cooling systems, and accessibility requirements.
Download Commercial Property Inspection Checklist
Rental Application Template
A rental application helps you collect and verify tenant information, including references and rental history. You can customize the template to include whatever instructions or disclosures you need. You can share this PDF application with prospective tenants via a website, an email, or a printed copy.
Download Rental Application Template
Tenant Reference Check Template
This simple template can help you organize your process of checking references, ensuring that you’ve contacted all individuals and verified important questions. This form also makes it easy to compare applicants if you are choosing between multiple renters.
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Rent Receipt Template
Providing rent receipts and maintaining copies creates important documentation for both tenants and property managers. This Excel template has sections for listing landlord and property information, payment date and method, rental period, and more. Tenants may appreciate receiving a rent receipt for their own tax records or other purposes.
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Security Deposit Receipt
This receipt template includes landlord and tenant details, plus information regarding the terms of refunding a security deposit. If you want to include the terms described in a lease agreement, simply copy and paste that text into this Word template. Typically, you refund a security deposit to tenants upon their moving out, provided that the residents haven’t caused damages to the unit beyond the normal wear and tear.
Download Security Deposit Receipt
Month-to-Month Rental Agreement
A month-to-month rental agreement can provide flexibility for both tenants and landlords. Use this contract template to describe the terms of a month-to-month lease, including the cost of rent and the payment due date, the number of occupants allowed, and other agreements. The landlord and tenant sign the template to create a binding agreement.
Download Month-to-Month Rental Agreement
Lease Amendment Template
If you need to make changes to a lease, an amendment describes the updates and allows tenants to agree to the changes. As with any contract template, check your state laws or consult with an attorney to ensure that you are following proper guidelines when creating or changing a lease agreement.
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Lease Extension Template
If a tenant and property manager decide to renew a lease that is ending, an extension agreement can briefly describe the continuing terms of the lease. It’s important to document these changes so that tenants receive clear communication and so that all agreements are in writing. This template provides a simple outline that you can modify for your specific needs.
Download Lease Extension Template
Lease Termination and Tenant Vacancy Templates
Tenant to Vacate Form
Tenants can use this form to notify landlords or property managers that they intend to move. Offering a notification in writing creates a record of the date of the alert and provides landlords with a tenant’s forwarding address and contact information.
Download Tenant to Vacate Form
Notice to Pay Rent or Quit
A notice to pay rent or quit informs tenants that the rent payment is overdue and serves as a warning that failure to comply will result in legal action. The notice provides instructions for paying the amount due (including any late fees) or vacating the property by a certain date.
Download Notice to Pay Rent or Quit
Eviction Notice Template
An eviction notice provides tenants with a specific period of time, such as 60 days, to move out of a rental property. Rules related to evictions and the amount of time tenants have to vacate may vary in different geographical locations. Maintaining records of tenant evictions can provide documentation that you may need if the eviction process leads to legal proceedings.
Download Eviction Notice Template
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