So you want to be a lettings property manager

Andrea Kirkby outlines what it takes to make a good property manager and what you should be bringing to the interview table.

The Negotiator Jobs lettings property manager image

If you are interested in becoming a lettings property manager you need to know what the job entails.

So what is the overall role of the property manager and how will you meet the expectations of the recruiting firm?

Ensuring the effective management of the residential properties in their allocated portfolio and delivering a quality service to landlords and tenants.

The main objectives won’t be very different from firm to firm, though you may choose to put a slightly different emphasis on particular aspects – for instance some firms may stress effectiveness and cost, others may put a greater value on ensuring top quality customer service. Be ready for both approaches.

If this overall description fits your hopes and aspirations for your career, you now need to get to the nitty gritty of the role.

You need to know the specific tasks involved in achieving these objectives.

  • compliance – checking tenants’ right to reside in the UK, carrying out credit checks, ensuring deposits are protected
  • paperwork – ensuring leases are correctly drafted, handling renewals
  • arranging for regular inspections of the property
  • day to day liaison with tenants, in particular where repairs need to be made.

‘Managing finance’ should include the collection of rent, but also the management of payments to contractors.

Under ‘managing the property’, the manager’s tasks include arranging for regular maintenance and cleaning, ensuring gas safety certificates are up to date and that electrical safety checks have been carried out and documented, and arranging for EPCs, as well as attending to repairs – hiring contractors and checking that the repairs have been made and are up to specifications.

Depending on the level of your experience (and it could be zero) you won’t necessarily be expected to fulfil all these roles on arrival; you may need training and you may need simply to gain experience. The job description you’re answering will give you a steer on what the role requires and at what level of responsibility and experience.

The Negotiator Jobs lettings property manager image

You can be honest with your interviewer, but your research (like this article) will give you the right questions to ask and the knowledge to show at least, you understand what the job will entail and how your career can progress.

A good property manager needs to be able to prioritise their own work; it’s not a job for people who need to be told what to do next, nor for people who get caught up in ‘firefighting’ depending on the latest phone call to come in.”

The detail of the job description and vacancy you’ve applied for will vary depending on exactly how the firm is organised. For instance, the extent to which property managers are responsible for finance may differ from firm to firm, as will the boundaries between the negotiator’s job and the property manager’s when taking on new tenants.

We’re all individuals!

Your interviewer will look at the property manager (you!) as an individual, as well as at the tasks they expect you to do. The interview will be looking for certain competences that the property manager needs to possess – that is, your skills, knowledge, and experience, so this should have been outlined in the job advert. It is fine to stretch yourself for a new role – in fact you positively should aim high if you are looking for career progress – but if you are entirely outside of the realm of experience the job is asking for, you may need to lower your sights.

Some features of a good property manager

For instance, attention to detail is important. Without that, repairs that need to be made are forgotten about, rent payments may come in late, keys get lost, and neither tenants nor landlords will be happy with the service they are getting. A good property manager also needs to be able to prioritise their own work; it’s not a job for people who need to be told what to do next, nor for people who get caught up in ‘firefighting’ depending on the latest phone call to come in.

As a candidate you’ll need to have interpersonal skills enabling you to deliver great customer service, work under pressure, and handle dispute resolution where there’s a disagreement between tenant and landlord, or issues with a contractor’s performance.

Other competences

Other competences may be stated in a much more specific way in the job advert. For instance, a residential lettings property manager may be required to possess ARLA qualifications and membership. IT skills might also be quite specific; you may decide to stipulate familiarity with particular computer programs such as Microsoft Office (Word, Excel), Sage, Reapit or Rentman. If you have such experience and familiarity, bring it to the table – if you are competent in one app or software programme, you can be competent in any.

Put all this together

Put all this together and you’ll be in the right direction to be a successful property manager. If you are a good candidate, you’re highly sought-after in the current market. So go for the adverts that present an attractive company profile. The recruiting company needs to sell itself to you too – it’s not just a one-way street. Look out for how long the firm’s been established, what training and career progression are on offer, look for a steer on the company culture, and what make that company different from the rest.

Good property managers aren’t easy to find, so if you are good material, make sure you find a good company to work for!

Useful contacts: 

Letting agent comparison site: Rent Round

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