What Must Be Included in a Property Management Contract?

What Must Be Included in a Property Management Contract?

Last Updated: January 13, 2023 by Cameron Smith

Hiring a new property manager is a big decision. After all, you need to hire the right company for the task at hand, whether that involves managing one property, several, or a large apartment complex. To ensure a given company is the perfect fit, you also need to know how to read a property management contract so you’re prepared for fees, owner obligations, and more.

In this guide, we’ll explore:

  • What a property management contract should include
  • The fees you should expect in a property management contract
  • Red flags to watch out for when reading a property management contract
  • How to read a property management contract wisely

What Should a Property Management Contract Include?

Property management contracts should include multiple key sectionsEach section should be broken down into different subsections or clauses that cleanly lay out specific responsibilities, fees, etc.

Property management contracts can range from a few pages long up to dozens – it all depends on the property management company and what they are expected to do.

As you read a property management contract, you should look for sections for:

  • Expected services
  • The management company’s authority to spend money
  • How rental income is collected and distributed
  • Obligations of the property owner
  • Property management fees
  • Extra compensation for special services rendered by the property manager
  • The term or duration of the property management contract
  • The property management company’s cancellation or termination policy
  • Any ownership interests or affiliates the management company may have
  • Insurance for the owner and property manager
  • The Equal Opportunity Housing Act
  • And other matters, such as attorney fees, tax withholding, etc.

Services Section

The services section of a property management contract should outline the expected duties and labor the property management company will provide to you, the property owner.

Property management companies usually offer a standard range of services, including but not limited to:

  • Walking the grounds of your property and picking up trash
  • Maintaining property facilities, grounds, and tenant appliances
  • Finding and placing tenants in your property
  • Collecting rent from tenants
  • Evicting problematic tenants
  • Marketing the property to attract prospective tenants
  • Upgrading the property if needed

The property management contract highlights the business relationship between you and a property management company. The services section is arguably the most important because it outlines exactly what the property manager will do if you hire them.

If, for example, you hire a property management company but the services section does not include duties for finding and placing tenants, that responsibility will fall on your shoulders instead. Therefore, you should carefully read the services section to make sure a given property management company offers the specific services you seek.

The services section, in combination with the owner obligations section (see more below), minimizes miscommunications. It ensures that both parties know exactly what they must do or are not obligated to do in a given circumstance.

Property management contract   on iPropertyManagement.com

Authority to Spend Section

The authority to spend section of a property management contract states the terms and conditions that a property manager must abide by when spending money or whether they are allowed to spend money in the first place.

Depending on a property manager’s policies, they may explicitly request or include a section stating that you give them permission:

  • To use authorized funds for task-related purposes, such as repairing property or placing tenants.
  • To apply for more funds if needed.
  • To spend money if needed and invoice you for repayment if the funds were needed for work outside their expected duties and, therefore, what the monthly property management fee is expected to cover.

The last possibility is very important to pay attention to when reading a property management contract. For example, imagine that you take a vacation and your property manager is left in charge of your rental apartment complex. While you are away and not able to be contacted, a tree falls on one of your rental units. The cost of the damage goes above what your repair reserve fund has in its account.

To cover the cost of the damage, the property management company foots the bill and repairs the unit (or begins the process of doing so). When you come back, the property management company bills you both to replenish the repair fund reserve and for the extra money they had to pay to remove the fallen tree.

The authority to spend section is important since. it ensures that both you and the property management company know:

  • What the property management company is allowed to spend.
  • How and when you will provide them with money to do necessary work, even if it’s not explicitly laid out in the contract.

Note that this same content could be found in another section, like the services section or fees section. Read the contract carefully and ask the property manager what their policy is regarding authority to spend if you don’t see this content in a specified section, though.

Collection & Disbursement of Income Section

The collection and disbursement of income section covers how the property manager will collect rental income (including when rental collection occurs each month) and how and when they will provide you with your due rent.

Property management companies can collect rent in three potential ways:

  • Cash
  • Check
  • Electronic wiring to a bank account

This key section of the management contract should outline how your management company collects the rent. That’s important for you as a property owner since it tells you how you can expect to receive your rent payments.

Furthermore, the collection and disbursement of income section describes when you should get paid after the property manager collects rental income from tenants. For example, if a property management company collects rent on the first of each month, this section could specify that you will receive the rent on the third of each month, after the management company has a few days to tally the income, chase after late payments, etc.

Read through this section carefully so you know what to expect – after all, disbursement of rental income is how you will make a profit as a property owner.

Property management contract   on iPropertyManagement.com

Owner Obligations Section

The owner obligations section describes any work or property management-related obligations reserved for you, the property owner. These are tasks or responsibilities that the property manager will not take care of unless contract modifications are made in the future.

For instance, a property management company may offer a variety of management services, like maintenance, tenant placement, etc. But the same management company may not explicitly say that it handles tenant evictions.

In that case, you need to read the owner obligations section to see if that shows up here instead. If so, you’ll be responsible for evicting problematic tenants, not the management company, if you sign the contract.

Potential owner obligations include:

  • Placing and evicting tenants
  • Marketing your property to draw prospective tenants
  • Holding tenant interviews

Note that the owner obligations section may further describe what you cannot do as the property owner. For instance, if your property management contract states that the management company is responsible for finding and placing tenants, you may not be allowed to find and place tenants at all.

Why does this matter? It prevents property managers from working at cross purposes to you or doing the same work twice. Following the above example, by preventing you from placing tenants, the property management company doesn’t have to worry about having to manage a tenant chosen irresponsibly. It can also use its full knowledge and experience to find ideal tenants.

Your owner obligations may extend to other things you should not do, such as not communicating with tenants, not leaving your personal property in rental units or homes, etc.

Fees Section

The fees section describes all of the fees a property management company charges you, the property owner, as well as contingency or potential fees that may be charged if certain requirements are met.

The fees section is also a highly important part of a property management contract. You should read through it very carefully with an attorney at your side. Read every fee that the property management company charges and be on the lookout for red flag fees or unnecessary fees that a reasonable company should not charge.

If necessary, tally up all of the fees to make sure that they add up to the expected property management fee you’ll be on the hook to pay each month. This is vital to ensure that you aren’t taken advantage of and that you aren’t charged unfair prices.

If you have a question about what a fee covers or whether it’s necessary, don’t hesitate to ask. Any property manager worth their salt should be able to tell you why they need the money and why they charge it. If a property management company doesn’t have a good explanation for a fee, it’s a red flag and potentially a sign that you should look elsewhere.

Property management contract   on iPropertyManagement.com

Compensation for Special Services Section

The compensation for special services section covers ancillary charges or compensation policies for extra duties or services that may not be listed under the “Services” section in the contract.

Special services can include things like representing a property owner at a Homeowners Association meeting or delivering eviction paperwork to a local judge or sheriff’s office. The compensation for special services section may be short or very detailed. In the latter case, the property management company may outline every specific circumstance or service they will charge extra for (especially if the management company has a lot of experience).

But if the special services section is relatively plain or basic, keep in mind that this also leaves you open to being charged extra for services that the property management company claims it needs to do. That’s not necessarily to say the property management company is not trustworthy; it just means you may need to be more careful or ask some clarifying questions of the manager before hiring them. Alternatively, consult your attorney and see what they advise.

Term/Duration of Agreement Section

The term or duration of agreement section outlines the duration of the property management contract in question. It will include clear dates for the start and end of property management responsibilities.

In a nutshell, this section describes the length of your business arrangement. If the contract is a yearly one (like most property management contracts), it will include the date upon which the management company ceases its services or the date upon which the contract must be renewed for it to continue.

Beware of property management companies that combine long contract terms or durations with high cancellation fees or policies (see more below). It may be that such property managers are trying to trap you into a predatory business relationship, making it difficult or costly to exit the contract for several years down the road.

Generally, it’s wise to keep the term or duration of your contract to a one-year arrangement until you and the property management company have worked together and learned to trust each other. Later, when you renew your lease with the same company you trust, you can consider extending the term in the duration of the agreement section, so you have a contract that’s valid for several years instead of one.

Property management contract   on iPropertyManagement.com

Cancellation/Termination Policy Section

The cancellation or termination policy section explains the property management company’s contract termination policy, including any related fees, when you are allowed to cancel the contract, etc.

This is an incredibly important part of any management contract to pay attention to. Your attorney (and you) should read it carefully. In this section, the property manager will stipulate:

  • What the termination or cancellation policy is
  • Whether you have to pay a termination fee for canceling the contract ahead of the term’s natural expiration date

Termination fees can be acceptable in two circumstances:

  • When the termination fee is relatively low, and absolutely no more than a few hundred dollars
  • When the termination fee only applies if you cancel your contract a few months into the arrangement – for example, you work with the management company for a month and a half, then decide to cancel

Companies charge these fees to cover filing extra paperwork as well as any extra supplies or personnel they may spend money on in anticipation of managing your properties.

You should find a property management company that does not have any exorbitant termination fees. Do not sign a property management contract if:

  • The termination fee applies to you no matter what when you cancel the contract (even if it’s just a month ahead of the contract ending, for example)
  • The termination fee is expensive, such as well into the thousands of dollars

Note that this section should also include the policies or behaviors that may cause a management company to cancel its contract with you, a property owner. For instance, if you fail to provide or replenish the repair fund for multiple months in a row, this section may stipulate that the property management company can cancel their business arrangement with you ahead of the term’s conclusion with no legal or financial repercussions.

Bottom line: read this section carefully, as you never know when you may have to terminate a contract earlier than you think.

Ownership Interests/Affiliates Section

The ownership interests or affiliates section describes any ownership interests that the property management company may have in third parties, such as marketers or contractors.

For example, if a property management company uses a marketing firm or advertising company to display or sell properties they manage, they need to disclose that information in this section. If the contract doesn’t have an ownership interests section at all, ask whether the management company has any known affiliates.

Why does this matter? Simply put, if you’ve done business with another company, like an advertising firm, in the past and had a bad experience, the last thing you want is to sign on with a property management company that uses the same business.

It’s about transparency and making sure that both you and the property management company know what the other’s business arrangements may be (if they affect your property management arrangement, that is).

Furthermore, this section may break down whether the property manager has any subsidiary companies, like a contracting company, that they plan to use for property management, maintenance, or repair services.

Property management contract   on iPropertyManagement.com

Insurance Section

The insurance section of a property management contract outlines both the type and amount of insurance required by you, the property owner. The insurance section will also state the type and amount of insurance the property management company holds.

Depending on your state or metro area, regulations may require property management companies and property owners to maintain certain amounts of insurance. For instance, most property managers require property owners they work with to have several hundred thousand dollars in liability coverage.

The insurance section will display:

  • What insurance policies you must have and maintain
  • The amount of those insurance policies
  • What insurance policies the property management company has

If this section is nonexistent, or if the property management company doesn’t appear to have insurance, ask them. You should not work with a property management company that doesn’t have insurance – not only is this irresponsible, but it’s also a sign that they may come to you for money if they make a mistake or damage your property.

In addition, property managers are sometimes legally required to have insurance. Working with a manager that doesn’t have legally mandated insurance could get you into legal trouble!

Fair Housing Act Section

The Fair Housing Housing Act section states that the property management company and you both support state and federal fair housing laws. The Fair Housing Act prevents landlords and property managers from discriminating based on protected classes, like race, sex, etc.

This basic section should simply state that both you and the property management company agree to abide by the standards in the EOHA. It’s an important legal protection to keep you safe if a tenant ever accuses you of discrimination or tries to sue you.

Contract Amendments Section

The contract amendments section includes the processes and agreements between both parties when it comes to changing or amending the property management contract. It’s an important section since it tells you who can modify the contract under what conditions and when the changes go into effect.

Have your attorney look over this section in particular. Make sure that the contract can only be amended by both you and the property manager, not one or the other party or some third party. Any contract should be flexible and open to adjustment if the right circumstances arise. Making sure this section is present on your property management contract will prevent headaches or legal battles in the future.

Ancillary Sections

Alongside the major sections described above, a thorough property management contract may include ancillary sections for things such as attorney fees and payments, mediation terms, and indemnification clauses.

Attorney Fees

In this potential section, the contract might state that if a property owner hires an attorney, it’s an operating expense. In this case, you would pay all of the attorney fees for the meeting and future contract inspections, not the property management company.

However, not all attorney fees sections are as cut and dried. Some management contracts may indicate that attorney fees can be split between the owner and the property manager, as the document concerns both parties, not just one.

This section can appear in many forms and with different terms and conditions. Speak to your attorney about what works for you and your bottom line, and consider negotiating with a potential property manager if you want to have an attorney look over documents regularly (which would be a recurring or regular business expense).

Property management contract   on iPropertyManagement.com

Tax Withholding

Depending on your state, some property managers are legally required to remit a certain amount of all taxable income to the local franchise tax board. This information should be listed in a tax withholding section of your property management contract.

For instance, in California, property managers have to remit 7% of their taxable income. For another example, property managers have to remit 30% of gross rental income for any non-US resident tenants.

Thus, this section may not appear on your property management contract if it does not apply. If it does appear, it will include:

  • How much money, in a percentage, the property manager sends to the tax board each month
  • Whether there are any specific circumstances or collection requirements for US or non-US residents

Indemnification Clause(s)

Most property management contracts include indemnification clauses (or one clause). An indemnification clause specifies that rental property owners must “hold harmless” their property managers for liabilities or damages, provided that those liabilities or damages arose from reasonable work/circumstances.

In simpler terms, the indemnification clause means that you can’t sue your property manager if they cause damages or liabilities, so long as those damages or liabilities happen by accident and without them being irresponsible.

This does mean that there are two exceptions to the indemnification clause:

  • If the property manager behaves with gross negligence (e.g., they lose rental money because they did not keep track of rental payments and lost the cash somehow)
  • If the property manager behaved outside the scope of the contract (e.g., they hired a contracting company to completely redo a rental unit without your approval)

An indemnification clause section is important both to protect you and a property management company, so make sure your contract has one before continuing.

Mediation Terms

Mediation is a legal process where two parties resolve the dispute with a neutral third party called a mediator. Mediation is frequently used as an alternative to litigation, which is costly, time-consuming, and beset with other negatives.

Your property management contract may have a mediation terms section dictating things like:

  • Both parties agree to mediate before progressing to legal action, like suing the other party
  • How mediation costs are paid (these are usually split between both parties)

It’s a good idea to sign a contract with a mediation clause to prevent potential litigation fees from catching up with you later. For instance, if you have a disagreement with your property manager over rent collection or who is responsible for paying for certain property damages, it’s oftentimes wiser and cheaper to go to mediation rather than to sue immediately.

Property management contract   on iPropertyManagement.com

Marketing Methods/Strategies

A property management contract may have a small section detailing marketing methods or strategies the property manager will use to fill vacant units. This is a rare section in general and is only important if you care how your property manager fills those units.

The section could detail:

  • What marketing channels may be used (e.g., online ads, TV ads, etc.)
  • How the marketing materials will be paid for
  • Whether the owner is responsible for assisting with marketing or providing input (or, conversely, if the owner is forbidden from providing input on marketing)

Expected Fees in Property Management Contracts

You should already expect to pay your property management company a fee every month. Your property management contract should break down the fees you’re required to pay for a company’s services. It’s a good idea to scan through the fees on a property management contract, so you know you are being charged money fairly and aren’t being charged inappropriate fees.

Some of the most common fees to look for in a property management contract include:

  • Property management fees, which cover most or all of the labor a property management company performs
  • Maintenance fees or reserve fund fees
  • Vacant property fees
  • Tenant placement fees
  • Inspection fees
  • Lease renewal fees
  • Property update fees
  • Any fees for extra duties not covered under the property management fee

Property Management Fee

Property management fees are the monthly or general fees charged by property management companies. These monthly management fees are typically between 8% and 12% of rent collected.

For instance, if you collect $1,500 per month in rent, the property management company will take between $120 and $180.

Note that some property management companies instead charge fixed fees. Fixed fees remain the same no matter how much rent you bring in. This can be advantageous in certain situations, like when you earn more rental than you projected. But percentage-based management fees are much more common.

If your contract stipulates a percentage-based management fee, make sure that it specifies the management company’s fee is based on rent collected, not rent due. Property management fees based on rent due may result in you being charged money you don’t have.

For example, say that you expect $2,000 per month in rent and the management company charges a 10% fee based on rent due, not rent collected. Normally, you pay the management company $200 per month.

But one of your tenants doesn’t make their rental payment, so you only bring in $1,500 that month. You still owe the property management company $200 per month even though you made less than in the previous month.

Read through the property management fee section carefully to check for this and for other red flags (see more below).

Property management contract   on iPropertyManagement.com

Maintenance Fee

Maintenance fees, also called maintenance or repair reserve funds, are fees charged by property management companies to cover the cost of labor and supplies associated with keeping up or maintaining your property. They can be anywhere from several hundred to several thousand dollars per month, depending on your contract.

For example, if one of your units has a bad dishwasher and the property management company needs to replace it, they will either charge you a maintenance fee for the cost of the dishwasher or take the cost out of the repair reserve fund you maintain.

Most property management companies request that you hold an amount of repair reserve funds in bank accounts or escrow accounts that you can both access. That way, the management company can dip into the repair reserve fund whenever they need it without having to bother you or ask for permission to make necessary repairs.

As a property owner, your responsibility is to keep the repair reserve/maintenance fee fund at a certain level at all times to cover emergencies. Read through the maintenance fee section very carefully so you know what your financial obligations are, how the property manager plans to pay for emergency repairs, etc.

Vacant Property Fees

Vacant property fees are charged if you have one or more vacant units that the property management company must nonetheless maintain. Vacant property fees may cost $100 per month, a few hundred dollars per month, or more.

Vacant property fees are meant to compensate the property manager since you aren’t bringing in income from vacant units, so their monthly commission fee will be lower. These are acceptable fees, however, as it is reasonable for management companies to have some compensation to pay for labor and supplies while they try to fill vacant units.

However, keep an eye out for excessive or exorbitant vacant property fees that are far higher than they should be. Furthermore, watch for clauses that stipulate that vacant property fees increase as time goes on; this just incentivizes property managers to keep your units vacant so they can collect more money in the long run.

That said, you may not wish to pay vacant property fees at all. You may instead consider it the responsibility of the property management company to fill vacant units – if the units are vacant, it isn’t doing its job.

If you must compromise, consider working with your attorney to draw up an agreement that allows vacant property fees up to a certain number of months, beyond which you don’t have to pay the property management company more money until they fill your units with tenants.

Property management contract    on iPropertyManagement.com

Tenant Placement Fees

Tenant placement fees cover the costs and labor associated with finding, screening, and onboarding new tenants. They’re perfectly acceptable, provided the property management company is expected to do all this work. Naturally, if you handle tenant placement and recruiting, you shouldn’t pay any tenant placement fees.

Tenant placement fees aren’t included in the monthly property management fee since tenant placement is not expected to be a regular service or labor.

Eviction Fees

Eviction fees cover extra labor, paperwork filing costs, and other expenses associated with evicting problematic tenants. Evicting a tenant is a long and drawn-out process and requires gathering paperwork and proof of that behavior, then filing certain paperwork with local judges or sheriff’s offices.

Again, if you plan to handle eviction processes, don’t pay this fee and make sure the contract reflects that arrangement. If your property management company handles evictions, however, you can expect to pay a few hundred dollars per eviction.

Inspection Fees

Inspection fees are biannual or annual fees levied when property management companies have to order professional inspections for things like pests, asbestos, poisons, etc. Since these costs are irregular, it’s fine for the property manager to charge you to cover them (provided they aren’t too expensive, of course).

Lease Renewal Fees

Lease renewal fees cover the labor needed to renew your lease with a property management contract each year (or each contract cycle). Lease renewal fees are not necessary at all; you should only agree to pay these if they are relatively low.

Property management contract    on iPropertyManagement.com

Property Update/Upgrade Fees

From time to time, your managed properties may need to be updated or upgraded to make them more appealing to prospective tenants. If your property manager has to contract workers to do this labor, or if they have to buy supplies or building materials, they may charge you property update or upgrade fees.

These fees can vary heavily in terms of cost. They may be several hundred dollars or several thousand dollars. They are acceptable for you to pay, provided that the update and upgrade in question are approved by you beforehand.

In this section, it is worthwhile to read the fine print and make sure that your ownership responsibilities/rights give you the privilege of determining what property updates and upgrades the manager can perform or order. You don’t want a manager to have the ability to unilaterally order a property update or upgrade, then charge you the money for the upgrade you didn’t approve due to a legally binding contract!

Extra Duties Fees

Your property management contract may additionally have a miscellaneous or “extra duties” fees section. This may include a list or breakdown of set fees for potential expenses or labor, such as:

  • Cleaning mold
  • Attending a Homeowners Association meeting in your place
  • Driving to deliver checks to you in person
  • Delivering checks to a specific bank in another city

Red Flags in a Property Management Contract

As you read through a property management contract, you should watch out for certain red flags. These red flags can indicate that a property manager isn’t worth your time and money or that you should have an attorney read through the contract to catch anything worrying you may have missed.

Common red flags to watch out for in a property management contract include:

  • Inappropriate fees
  • Cancellation locks (things that try to lock you into a management contract)
  • Bad attitudes
  • Refusal to meet with an attorney
  • Unclear language in the contract

Inappropriate Fees

While it’s a good idea to check for expected or common property management fees, you should also be on the lookout for inappropriate fees as you scan your contract. Inappropriate fees are overly expensive or unnecessary fees that you shouldn’t have to pay but which bad property managers may try to convince you to pay anyway.

Examples of inappropriate fees include:

  • Expensive onboarding fees – These are one-time fees meant to cover the paperwork or labor associated with taking on a new client. In reality, this is likely only a few minutes of work, so consider walking away from a property manager who insists on charging an onboarding fee, especially if it is more than $50 or so.
  • Expensive cancellation fees – Cancellation fees, if applied to your business agreement, should be minimal and limited at worst.
  • Any fees incurred because of repeated bad tenant behavior.

Here’s a deeper example of the last fee type. Imagine that your property management company charges an extra flat fee for vacant units it oversees in addition to a monthly vacant property fee. This is a bad fee because it encourages bad property management behavior. In a way, the property management company is incentivized to keep rotating your units to be periodically vacant so they can continue collecting money from you!

For another example, late fees should be collected as part of late rent payments and delivered to you. Your property management company should not take any late fees or commissions of late fees – doing so also incentivizes them to make complex or confusing rent collection policies for tenants so they can “legitimately” collect late fees more often.

As you can see, determining which fees are appropriate and inappropriate can be tough, especially during a meeting. Have your attorney look over the fees sections with you and don’t hesitate to ask any questions. More than anything, edgy behavior or an inability to give you straight answers about their fees is a red flag from a property management company.

Cancellation Locks

Cancellation locks are any terms or conditions that prevent you from canceling your contract (either completely or at risk of heavy legal/financial penalties). For example, your property management contract may state that you are not allowed to cancel the management company’s services without paying a $5,000 fee.

Watch for cancellation locks very carefully. Certain language and terminology can make it very difficult to know whether a company is trying to trap you into a contract. Here’s an example:

  • “The owner will pay a termination fee ($5,000.00) upon canceling the contract early or upon terminating business arrangements with the contractor.”

This sentence seems relatively harmless. However, upon closer inspection, one could read that line as stating that you, the property owner, have to pay the property manager $5,000 whenever the contract expires, even if you simply let the contract run its course and decide to go with a different property management company in a year.

Such a scheme could make you feel trapped into working with a specific property management company – otherwise, you’d have to pay that company $5,000. Due to possibilities like this, you should watch for cancellation locks or predatory terms to avoid being taken advantage of.

Property management contract    on iPropertyManagement.com

Unclear or Obfuscating Language

As you read through a property management contract or speak to a manager, beware of unclear or intentionally obfuscating language. Some property management companies, in an attempt to take advantage of property owners, may intentionally draw up their contracts to be as vague or confusing as possible.

They may switch the terms used to refer to the property owner and the contractor throughout the document, or they may keep things general without referring to specifics. Unclear or obfuscating language has no place in any legally binding document.

Of course, this isn’t always intentional. Some property managers may not know that the contract’s language is unclear or obfuscating to you. When in doubt, ask questions. If a property management company has difficulty explaining their own document, however, it may be time for your lawyer to take a crack at it, or it’s time for you to move on to another company.

If you do notice any unclear or confusing language, do not let it stay there. Instead, have your attorney work with the property management company to rewrite the contract so it is more easily understandable and clearer for everyone involved.

Reading a Property Management Contract

Watching out for red flags is just one part of reading a property management contract wisely. You should also take care to read any property management contract carefully and with the assistance of a knowledgeable attorney you trust.

Read Everything Carefully

Go through the property management contract line by line. You should never skim when you are about to sign any legal document. If it takes you an entire evening to read through the property management contract, take the time to do it anyway. You’ll thank yourself if you catch any of the red flags described above.

Ask questions! Feel free to send the property management company questions via email, text, or over a phone call. Any property management company worth your time and money should be happy to answer queries you have regarding the language of the contract, specific services they offer, or anything else.

Feel like you don’t have time to read the contract in its entirety? If the property manager is trying to push you into a decision, it is a red flag. In any case, you should be sent the contract a few days or weeks before you meet with the property manager to sign it. That should give you ample opportunity to read things through carefully and comprehensively.

Read Everything with an Attorney or Have the Attorney Look Over the Contract

Lastly, always read through the contract with an attorney at your side. Alternatively, send a copy of the exact same contract to your attorney so they can look it over on their own time frame.

In any case, having a legal professional’s experienced eyes read over the contract can help catch red flags that you may have missed. In addition, having your attorney read over the contract makes it much easier for you to make adjustments to the terms and conditions of the document later down the road.

For instance, if you have a problem with one of the fees suggested in a contract, but don’t know how to solve it, your attorney may know the perfect solution that will satisfy both you and the property management company.

If a management company doesn’t want your attorney to read over the contract, do not sign with them. If they cite legal fees as the reason for this attitude, it’s just another indication that you should seek out an alternative company that is willing to let you do the due diligence you deserve.