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What's the difference between a landlord and a property manager? 

What's the difference between a landlord and a property manager? 

Should you rent in a building that’s managed by the landlord or one operated by a property management company? Often these terms are used interchangeably, but what’s the real difference between them? 

 The main difference is that a landlord actually owns and manages the building. Property management companies are a third party service, hired by landlords to run the daily chores and operations of managing and maintaining their building. 

 If a landlord owns a very large building or owns multiple buildings, he may hire a management company simply because it can take too much time to take care of all the details efficiently. 

 If you rent from a landlord, you’ll be renting directly from the building owner and the building will likely be smaller. That might be a good thing if you’re looking for a bit more bargaining power. 

 Renting directly from the landlord will enable you to negotiate the price and the conditions in more detail than renting through a middleman, an agent. Dealing directly with the owner gives you much more flexibility in negotiating the price. 

It’s safe to say that the landlord and a property manager may have differences in the size of the buildings they operate, but they have similar responsibilities. Some of these duties are: 

  • General upkeep and cleanliness of the property 

  • Tracking property expenses 

  • Vetting and selecting tenants 

  • Resolving maintenance requests and tenant complaints 

  • Collecting rent 

It’s hard to give a definitive answer, whether to deal with the landlord or the property manager. Probably if you rent from a landlord, it will lead to a more personal relationship. So it all depends on how well you can get along with that person.  

Renting in a building with a management company often means more bureaucracy. That too can be a good thing.  For example, if you have a complicated maintenance request, it may get resolved faster because they’ll probably have vendors in place to handle it. 

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