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This article is written by Saurabh Chauhan, pursuing a Certificate Course in Real Estate Laws from LawSikho.

Introduction

Real Estate is one of the biggest and most influenced sectors in Indian Economy, it holds a large part of share in Indian economy and due to any ups and downs, the economy of India goes up and down simultaneously. To regulate and bring transparency and accountability in this sector RERA act was introduced. RERA stands for Real Estate Regulatory Authority, it is the act which is now prevailing in the real estate sector. Before RERA was in picture the selling and buying of properties has many irregularities for builders or sometimes buyers, due to many irregularities and lack of transparency it become difficult for the real estate sector to get any more progress, so in 2016 RERA act was introduced which has given more accountability to this sector and mainly buyers are relieved by implementation of this act who were earlier exploited by the builders in the form of late possession or by making biased agreement of sale and many other malpractices. Now, coming to the topic, it is important to know who are management professionals? 

The management professionals in general terms can be said to those people who hold some professional degrees and trained in such a productive way so that he/she controls a bunch of people for the most beneficial and productive outcomes. In real estate, management of property is done as property management and the professionals who manage the property of the owners are known as property managers.

What is Property Management? 

Property management refers to the job or act of supervising or managing a real estate property. Property management mainly involves managing property of any other party or entity which can be residential, commercial or industrial real estate. 

Note : The Model Tenancy Act, 2019 applies only on residential and commercial leasing or renting but not on industrial renting or leasing.

Who is a Property Manager?

Section 2(f) of The Model Tenancy Act, 2019 defines property manager, according to the act a property manager can be a person who takes care and look after the property of some other person also advertising, resolving issues of renters, leasing of leasable property and is accountable for the maintenance and administration of the property rentals for an owner. Property manager can be an individual or a company that is hired by the owner and their work can be of finding tenants or renters, collecting rents and maintenance of the property and other stuff, as the real estate investors or property owners are not able or willing to manage their property by own. 

The salary of the property manager varies according to the property to be managed also sometimes a percentage of rent which is collected by renting the property. Property manager works on the behalf of the property owner and all the dealing is done by the property manager. Generally, a real estate broker’s license is the basic need for the property managers as there is no specific license for it.

Importance of property management

Importance of good property management can lead to having many benefits like as if a property owner or a real estate investor has purchased a property and hired a good property manager or a management company, then the first and one of the most important thing which the manager or the company eliminates is the investment of time by the owner or investor which he/she have to devote in the management of the property. The good property manager or company will manage the property well and the owner will not be bothered by such things. 

Secondly, for a renter owner who wants to rent his/her property to tenants who are capable of paying long-term rent on time, are good in behaviour and does not cause much problems on the property are not easy to find and that’s where a good property manager comes into picture, the manager will have a good relationship with both the tenant and the owner so they will collect rent and further transfer it to the owner. Now, another important task of the identification of good or bad tenants comes out which most often is neglected by the owners when they himself manage and rent the property, here having a good property management company or the manager helps the owner as they have seen many tenant applications so by using their ability and experience they know how to drop bad tenants and avoid further lawsuits and rent scams.

Now, the third and most important factor of having a property management company is that they know how to deal or avoid potential lawsuits. Property manager or company will make sure tenant screening also takes care and gives assurance for safety of property, also maintenance is one of the headaches for owners which is also sorted by property managers or management companies as they handle all the problems that arise on the property.

Lastly, the property manager will prepare financial reports for the owners. These are some major works performed by the property manager or management company, most of the time all these works are performed by the owner itself but it takes serious consideration of time and focus which most of the owners do not want or have, so they hire good property managers or companies.

Responsibilities of property manager

Chapter IV, provision 19 of the Model Tenancy Act, 2019 talks about the responsibilities of the property manager. There are certain responsibilities of the property manager as he/she is working on the behalf of the property owner so responsibilities of property manager are like that of property owner towards tenants. Responsibilities of property manager are as: 

  • Finding Tenants : Finding tenants is the basic responsibility of the property manager, mostly owners who want to rent their property hire property managers for finding good tenants because they do not want to get engaged in the hassle of finding tenants or waste time. Residential property managers are required to advertise the rentals and post ads to relevant sites to attract tenants.
  • Screening of tenants : Screening of tenants is one of the important responsibilities of the manager as to make sure that the tenant is trustworthy. Also professional managers are good at finding good tenants than owners or landlords because they have screened more people over time and so have more experience in finding and screening tenants. Screening is basically done to avoid lawsuits and further problems. 
  • Written Agreement : As per section 4(1) of The Model Tenancy Act, 2019 after the commencement of the Act there should be a written agreement between tenant and landowner before renting out property and have to give the agreement jointly to the rent authority within a period of 2 months from the date of signing of agreement. Therefore, if the owner is not present it is the responsibility of the property manager to carry out all the necessary paperwork. 
  • Maintenance and handling complaints : Most common responsibilities of property managers are maintenance of property and handling complaints on the behalf of the owners. All the problems about the property arises are handled by the property manager. For example, if the water supply is stopped then it is the responsibility of the property manager to fix that problem. Also, it is the responsibility of the property manager to resolve disputes between the landowner and the tenants.
  • Security of property : Security of property sounds like maintenance but is slightly different. Security of property also covers contracting security agencies for security guards or installing security devices or both so that the owner and the tenant feel more safe. This also improves tenant reservation.
  • Collecting Rent and adjusting rent : It is the basic responsibility of the property manager to collect the rent from the tenants. Sometimes the property managers are also responsible for setting a rental rate. A property manager should be aware of the market before increasing or decreasing the rent, because by this way property managers will generate rental income for the owner and also attract the suitable tenants. 
  • In depth knowledge of landlord-tenant laws : Professional residential property manager should have in-depth knowledge of landlord-tenant laws. Property managers should know basic laws as well as local laws of the place where he/she is working. Also, the Model Tenancy Act, 2019 is present which the property manager must be aware of before working for someone.

These are some basic skills which a good property manager or company should learn or have. If these basic skills are not present in a property manager then he/she would be considered as a poor skilled or bad property manager. 

How to deal with a bad property management company 

Now, talking about dealing with a bad property management company or simply from a bad property manager is very tough for tenants. There are many problems which tenants face when there is a bad property manager. Problems can be related to harassment, unlawful eviction, uneven increasing rent and many other problems. Now, the First and most basic step that a tenant should take is to complaint about the property manager to the property owner and solve the problem between them and if anyhow it is not possible for the tenant to communicate to the property owner than tenant should go for legal help, there many legal ways to tackle the problem. Following are some ways:

Lodging police complaint in cases of Harassment 

Harassment is one of the basic problems faced by the tenants from the landlords and from property owners, it is an unlawful conduct of insulting or demeaning someone. Harassment can be of many ways like:

  1. Harassment by trespass: This is one of the common problems faced by the tenants. According to tenancy agreement, trespass in general terms means that knowingly entering into the property of someone without the permission of that person. And according to the tenancy agreement, the tenant has the possession of the property so if the owner or the property manager trespasses, then the tenant can lodge a police complaint under section 441 of the Indian Penal Code, 1860 of ‘Criminal Trespass’. Also, according to the section 17 of the Model Tenancy Act, 2019 if the property manager or the owner himself wants to enter into the property he/she have to give notice (whether written or by electronic medium) twenty-four hours before entering into the premises and have to state the reason for it. 
  2. Harassment by nuisance: Nuisance is defined under section 268 of Indian Penal Code, it is the act which causes danger, injury or annoyance to the public or people in general who occupy or live in the neighborhood. If the tenant is facing this type of problem he can lodge a police complaint and an application under section 268 of IPC in the court.
  3. Sexual Harassment : Tenants or more specifically women tenants have a serious problem of sexual harassment by property manager in the absence of Property owner, they pass bad comments, inappropriate staring and many other inappropriate signs which make tenants feel uncomfortable. The tenants in this case shall file a complaint to the police station nearby. 
  • Unlawful eviction notice: In many cases property managers use false grounds to evict the tenants. For example, property managers take rent of a particular month and do not give any receipt or hardcopy to the tenant and after sometimes charge a penalty to tenants for not paying rent and give the notice for vacating the property. In these cases tenants should file complaints against the property manager in nearby police stations with proper evidence like bank details of depositing rent and other stuff.
  • Uneven increase of rent: According to the Model Tenancy Act, 2019 the landowner or the property manager can increase rent only when it is agreed in the Tenancy Agreement. Also if the land owner or the property manager wants to increase the rent, they have to give notice three months before to the tenant about the increase in rent. If the tenant faces such a problem he/she has the right to complain to the Rent Court or Rent Tribunal.

Conclusion

In conclusion, we can say that property management is a very wide term and a challenging job to undertake. Carrying out responsibilities as a property manager is not easy since as a property manager you have to support, maintain and secure the property of someone who has earned that property through hard work and hard-earned money, so as a property manager more specifically as residential manager you need to have good skills and knowledge about leasing property and tenant management also good in convincing people and for commercial property manager you need to be well aware of RERA Act and the Model Tenancy Act, 2019 for carrying out your job without any legal interference or issues. 


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