When renting, the terms “Property Manager” and “Landlord” get used interchangeably. But, there are some distinguishing characteristics between the two.
We’ll tell you what they are below.
Property management companies
A property management company is an umbrella term for a person or company that manages both small and large-scale operations of a rental property on behalf of the owner.
Property management companies can be almost any size, and it’s not uncommon for one smaller company to report to a larger parent company. But in simple terms, a property management company is the middleman between you and the owner of the property – whomever that may be.
At properties operated by a property management company, lease agreements and rental terms are typically dictated by company policy as opposed to the preferences of the individual owner. Additionally, property management companies may have several properties and typically, the rental process and terms are uniform across all of them.
In terms of amenities and resources, property managers tend to have a more concrete system including maintenance, security and other staff on-site or on-call.
Landlord is a term reserved for the sole owner of a property. They typically own individual rental houses but many also operate multi-family homes or small apartment complexes.
Because you’re dealing with one person, there’s typically more flexibility to waive certain fees, handle tenant requests or deal with disputes on a case-by-case basis as opposed to referring to a blanket policy.
Since the landlord-tenant relationship is more personal than the property management model, you may even be able to negotiate a reduced rate when renting directly from the landlord.
However, landlords typically don’t have the same resources as a full-fledged property management company. On top of that, landlords are responsible for knowing a ton of information on rental law enforcement. So much so, that occasionally a landlord could be misinformed about the law.
Which is right for you?
It all depends on what you’re looking for in your apartment hunt. Renting from a property management company offers the benefits of uniform policies and guaranteed services and amenities. Landlords offer a more flexible rental setup, but you also have no guarantees as all landlords handle renter situations differently.
Both have pros and cons, but hopefully, you now have a better understanding of the differences between the two.