What is a Property Management Company?

A property management company is a loose term used to define a company that does — exactly what you might guess they do — manage properties.

Beyond that, a property management company handles much of what an individual landlord may traditionally take care of including collecting rent, tenant maintenance requests, vetting applicants and other similar responsibilities.

Does every rental have a property management company?

Not every rental unit is managed by a property management company. Many detached homes and even apartment communities are managed by the individual or company that actually owns the property.

If you don’t already know this information, you can find out whether an apartment is owned by a property management company or by an individual proprietor by simply asking your landlord or leasing agents.

What makes a property management company different than a landlord?

couple shaking hands with landlord

Property management companies are quite different than landlords. Let’s take a look at some of the major differences.

What a landlord does

  • Both own the building and manage the rental unit(s)
  • Typically involved in general rental operations
  • Oftentimes, directly accessible by tenants

What a property manager does

  • Paid by the property owner to manage rental operations
  • May be located in an off-site office in the same city as the rental or some other city entirely
  • May never interact with tenants

Should you rent from a property management company?

There are certainly pros and cons to renting an apartment from a property management company as opposed to an individual landlord. Having a personal relationship with your landlord can be mutually beneficial, but property management companies are often able to provide higher-end service.

In most cases, you should make a decision based on which unit you prefer instead of who owns it. However, if you find yourself needing to make a critical choice between renting from a landlord or a property management company, be sure to ask as many questions as you can and not commit before you’re fully convinced the unit is right for you.

Additional resources

  • What is a Property Manager?
  • What is a Landlord?
  • What’s the Difference Between a Property Management Company and a Landlord?
  • 5 Things Landlords Look For When Picking Tenants
  • What Property Managers Look for in a Resident

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