How to Start a Property Management Company in Florida

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A property management company as the name implies, manages commercial and residential properties, providing services including but not limited to maintenance and repairs, advertising and renting/leasing of properties, and collecting monthly rent.

In the state of Florida, property management businesses that are acting on behalf of the property's owner must have a professional real estate brokers license, according to the Building Owners and Managers Association International and Florida Department of Business and Professional Regulation. Property managers can belong to the BOMA or join the Real Property Administrator (RPA).

Register your property management company with the state of Florida. To operate a business in the state of Florida, you’ll need to incorporate and file the Articles of Incorporation with the Division of Corporations (See Resources). You’ll also need to file your property management’s fictitious name with this agency.

The state of Florida specifically requires you to have a real estate broker’s license. If you are managing more than 10 properties or have a budget over $100,000, you’ll also need a CAM (community association management) license and be registered with the Florida Department of Business and Regulation.

Develop a good relationship with professional repair persons. You will need to find reliable, knowledgeable, and experienced journeymen. You can begin by asking other property management firms who they use for plumbing, electrical, HVAC, and contracting work. You can also look at sites like Angie’s List.com and see who their patrons recommend. In addition, you may want to check with your local Florida chamber of commerce and Better Business Bureau. Check with Florida’s licensing agency (the Department of Business and Professional Regulation) to see if the repairman's license is in order and if they have any complaints lodged against them (See Resources). Lastly, ask for references and follow up by contacting each reference.

Once they have completed several jobs for your property management business to satisfaction, refer these individuals to other managers who might be seeking a reliable contractor. You’ll also want to ask each individual contractor whom they would recommend for an assignment if they themselves were unavailable.

Review your finances regularly. As a property management business, you are entrusted with other people’s money when collecting rent. You’ll want to carefully document every rent payment (and late fees or returned check fees) for the property owner you serve. On a monthly basis, you should mail them an accounting statement of all rent monies collected, any fees collected or incurred, as well as copies of any invoices you may have received from a contractor. This is especially important if the owner does not live in the state of Florida and is unable to regularly inspect their property.

Maintain regular contact with your tenants. Florida law states that legally, a tenant is in control of the property and a property manager is not allowed to enter the property unless the tenant authorizes it. You owe your allegiance to the property owner, and in that spirit, establish a rapport with your tenants by engaging in small talk; ask about families and jobs. Be friendly and courteous and ask if anything needs attention or replacing. Who knows, they may well invite you into their homes in such cases, and you can do a cursory inspection of the property.

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