Can a Property Manager Represent a Residential Property Owner in Court?
July 6, 2022 / by Hignell Property Management Team
Many property owners outsource their daily operations to a property management company. The management company handles everything from dealing with residents and potential residents, collecting rent, handling repair and maintenance issues, and responding to resident issues and complaints. The management company also works to provide peace of mind for a residential property owner in knowing that their investment is safe and secure.
Property management companies also help in eviction pursuit; however, in most states, a property manager cannot represent the residential property owner in court if the eviction process ends up going to court.
Does a Property Manager Need Authorization from the Property Owner?
A property management company must have written authorization from the legal property owner granting permission to evict residents and handle all property management duties. However, during the eviction process, property managers are only authorized to handle evictions if it's related to non-payment of rent or if the removal is uncontested by the resident.
What Can a Property Management Company Do During the Eviction Process?
In most states, property managers are allowed to prepare eviction forms per state regulations and laws during the eviction process. Additionally, a property management company can complete and serve the eviction notice, file a complaint about eviction, and sign eviction pleadings on behalf of the property owner. The property manager can also file a motion for default and obtain a final judgment.
Are There Any Limitations on What a Property Manager Can Do When Evicting a resident?
If the resident contests the eviction, the property manager typically cannot file for the removal of the resident, and they cannot take action in court on behalf of the property owner. At this point, only an attorney can appear in court on behalf of the property owner, or the property owner can appear in court if they intend to represent themselves. If there's reason to believe the resident will contest the eviction, it's best to have the property owner hire an attorney to handle the eviction process.
Can a Property Manager Appear in Court as a Witness?
Though a property manager cannot represent or appear in court on behalf of the property owner, if needed, they can appear in court as a witness. Property managers have all the paperwork leading up to the reasoning behind evicting a resident and can present that in court to help with the case against the resident.
Is Legal Representation Necessary?
Since a management company cannot represent a property owner in court, either the property owner needs to appear, or they must hire an attorney to speak on their behalf. In court, the attorney is the one who addresses the judge, and the property owner and property manager typically do not speak unless called upon by the judge.
It's best to have an attorney available to handle evictions and legal matters related to managing a residential property. The attorney can handle the paperwork and eviction process, offer legal advice regarding residents and the property, and appear in court for the property owner. If the property owner does not live in the area, there's no need for the property owner to return to the court where the property is because the attorney can represent them in court.
When answering the question, “Can a Property Manager Represent a Residential Property Owner in Court?” the answer would be “No, they cannot.” However, there are still many things a property management company can do with written authorization from the residential property owner. Since most evictions do not end up in court, having a property management company do what they can legally do may save on legal fees. However, long-term, consult your legal counsel to help with any legal action, including resident disputes and evictions.