Initially, we developed our property management service at the request of property owners who were themselves expats outside of France, or who were living outside of Paris, and who were therefore unable to manage their rented apartments themselves. This service also interested investors possessing a property of high standing, and for whom property management would be too time- or labor-intensive.
Additionally, in choosing an apartment, corporate clients tend to prefer those which are professionally managed, because they are certain to have contact with professionals acting according to the law, who are responsive in the case of a problem, and who are either Anglophones or speak fluent English. The higher the post occupied by the employee, the more important this becomes.
The term « property management » can cover a wide variety of activities, depending on the agency and agents providing the service.
Our view: For the continued upkeep proper maintenance of the apartments, and to ensure a high occupancy rate, an « interventionist » style of property management is required. This is in order to preserve the high standard of the apartment, to maintain a view of what is happening with the space, and to react as quickly as possible and anticipate when an apartment will need to be re-rented.
As a result, we have instituted a property management that is direct and responsive, with a human touch, one could say, as we are contrary to the prevailing model. We intervene frequently, either directly or in the company of artisans.
We are the point of contact for the tenants for all questions concerning the apartment. Our teams therefore hold portfolios of managed apartments which are much lighter than those at more classical, mechanistic style property management agencies (up to 70 managed apartments at Paris Corporate Housing, versus 200-300 for the large players).
These are the two pillars of property management offering:
In the case of renting to a large corporate client, there are no problems with unpaid rents. However, significant efforts are necessary at the beginning of a lease, in order to put the automatic payments in place (as at times companies may have complex Account Payable processes). This process may include identifying the correct person within the company’s accounting department and adapting to their specific needs for documentation of the rental payments (for example including an order number on the statements, a provider number, or otherwise), and above all, correctly registering the billing cycles and dates of each specific company in order to receive payments on time.
We can also take care of the payments of associated bills on behalf of the owner. These can include billing statements from tradesmen contracted to do work in the apartment (plumbers, electricians, etc.), small expenditures for the improvement of the apartment correcting small problems (purchase of new bed sheets, replacement of toilet kitchenware, etc), or the payment of charges requested by the syndic. We are never the decision-makers in regards to these expenditures, unless we have prior approval from the owner up to a certain designated sum to do so (for example, 50€ to replace a toaster, in the case it is needed and the owner cannot be reached). This greatly simplifies the management for the owner, who has then only one point of contact. Elsewhere, all expenses much be perfectly registered in regards to accounting, in order to be correctly taken into account when rental revenues are declared (deductibility of charges).
We therefore prepare each March a document summarizing the rental revenues and charges of which we have knowledge, in order to allow owners to complete their revenue declarations (in May / June).
Contrary to the type of management required on the financial side, the operational aspects of property management require numerous visits to the apartments. This is done particularly in view of our philosophy of rigorous follow-up in regards to our managed apartments.
It is this logistical aspect which makes property management difficult, but which is in fact precisely why it is of interest for owners, who essentially “purchase” insurance for their time and for the protection of their property.
As property managers, we handle the apartment entry/exit inspection documents noting the condition of the apartment and its inventory, both at check-in and check-out (note: inventories must be sent to us in advance of the check-in by the owner, if possible indicating the value of important furnishings or equipment). We place great care on the realization of the entry/exit documentation, and we take the needed photographs to add to our notes of the condition of the apartments, which are placed online at the disposition of the owners.
In the process of completing the entry documentation for an apartment, there is often a list of tasks that arises based on tenant needs or requests. The entry documentation provides an opportunity to note, for example, that a cabinet door does not close properly, or that an electrical outlet is not functioning, a curtain rod needs to be tightened, or a lightbulb changed, etc. We take care of these tasks, with the agreement of the owner. The tenant also often has questions during the first several weeks of their lease. They may forget how the cooktop functions, have questions about the television operation, request a specific television package be added to the subscription, etc. We respond to this type of question and provide aid as needed, thereby substituting for the owner in completing these tasks. We do not solicit the owner for this type of question unless absolutely necessary (to validate an expense, for example).
During the rental period, a number of events may occur. Some are at the responsibility of the tenant to take care of, and some are at the responsibility of the owner (strictly following French law). In all cases, the tenant will call us, and we will respond to them.
If the problem is at the responsibility of the tenant (for example, a clogged drain, a defective flushing mechanism on a toilet), we indicate to the tenant that the repairs are to be taken care of by them (conforming to the lease that they sign), and we keep you informed and direct them to a tradesman who can resolve the problem. These types of elements are often nuanced by the fact that the tenants are rarely francophone, and therefore require a stronger form of assistance in certain cases, even in regards to problems that are at their responsibility to resolve.
If the problem is the landlord’s responsibility to resolve, we keep you informed and we handle the resolution on your behalf (for example, the replacement of a water boiler). If necessary, we take charge of obtaining estimates / quotes, which we submit to you for approval, and we handle the repairs following your approval.
There are also cases where establishing responsibility is difficult. Regardless, our intervention is required. Particularly in regards to water leaks, which are quite frequent in Paris. Often, when leaks occur, it is difficult to know where they are coming from. Depending on the origin, whose insurance must take responsibility may be on the tenant (example, leak from the joint of the WC’s water faucet), on the owner (example, a leak damaging the furnishings fixed to the wall of the bathroom). These responsibilities are the object of very precise conventions between insurers.
In all cases, it is necessary to intervene without delay in order to avoid or to limit to the best of our ability the damages incurred. Once we have taken care of the insurance declarations (often completed on behalf of the tenant even in the case that the leak is their responsibility, as English-speaking insurers are quite rare and all the documents are in French). According to the understanding of the damages, the insurers send experts who will evaluate the amount of the repairs. We are present for these evaluations if the leak is found to be an owner’s responsibility. Additionally, for all painters or other artisans who come to the apartment, we make certain to be present to welcome them if the problem is an owner’s responsibility.
In summary, we take charge of all aspects of the lease, at the exception of meetings of the building management, which we do not attend.
Property management fees are progressive, in function of the rent and the anticipated level of problems. They are between 5% and 10% H.T.
In the manner of an insurer, we are aware that certain buildings, according to their age or their visible maintenance level, are more susceptible to problems than the average building might be. We take into account the inherent complexity of the property management according to factors such as: