Ending a relationship of any kind is hard. By definition, you’d think business relationships would be easier than romantic ones, right? If you have a difference of opinion or feel the other party isn’t pulling their weight, the working relationship might no longer make sense.
But breaking up with your current rental management company still can be fraught with difficulties.
How We Got Here
If you think about it, ending a property manager/landlord relationship strikingly resembles ending a marriage. Hurt feelings aside, money becomes the prime focus moving forward. Of course, you should always consult with a trusted attorney to ensure you aren’t overlooking important details.
Before ultimately deciding to part ways, it makes the most sense to review your contract, including any written expectations and responsibilities, and determine where you feel things went astray.
We recommend taking the time to really understand why you feel slighted. That’s right, Luke. “Search your feelings…” This may feel a bit “woo-woo,” but it can help you avoid making similar mistakes in the future. Figure out exactly why you feel a slight sense of dread when interacting with your rental management company.
Did they not return your calls in a timely fashion? Maybe they charge you an extra fee for every. single. thing. Do they flake out on providing contractor recommendations? Or take longer than expected to fill a vacant property?
Sometimes by reviewing contractual paperwork, it becomes clear if they have not fully lived up to their end of the bargain. Other times, you just have a feeling that you cannot identify why you feel the way you do. Since every rental and property management company operates with its own contract, how easily you can cut ties depends on the language in the contract.
You may still have contractual obligations that require you to pay a fee for early termination of the contract. A good rental and property management company will allow a grace period to guarantee your satisfaction with their work. However, some require cause for terminating the agreement, in which case document each specific incident to demonstrate appropriate cause.
Others may charge an exit fee or penalty, regardless of the length of service. In general, we strongly recommend against working with any company that charges an exit fee. In fact, we’ve mentioned in an earlier blog about the 7 signs to watch out why this can indicate underlying issues.
Make a Clean(ish) Break
You conduct a thorough analysis of the relationship and your contractual obligations. If you determine that you’d be better off without your current property manager, make a clean break. Don’t beat around the bush or give ambiguous comments. If it’s time to go, say so. In writing.
Preferably, you should send notice by certified mail to document the date of termination and proof of receipt. Most contracts require a specific timeline for notice. If at all possible, provide this window of notice or risk breach of contract accusations.
Once you’ve filed all appropriate paperwork, seriously consider how you will manage your investment properties moving forward. “Play the field” and chat with other property management firms. Or consider foregoing a service and taking a more “hands-on” approach by taking on home rental management yourself.
Weigh all the pros and cons and carefully review any new property manager’s contractual language for any landmines mentioned above.
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Curious how The Realty Medics stack up against your current rental management company or other competitors? Give us a call today at 321-218-4753 or complete our online form for a free consultation to experience the difference for yourself.