For asset protection purposes many owners will title their property into a trust. When you see this in the tax records, or on the title page of their deed, you need to remember ‘an individual’s signature on your management agreement is not adequate documentation.’ You can be accused of malpractice or incompetence if you don’t get the listing/management agreement right. Claims from someone that “I’m the real owner behind the scenes, take your instructions from me” isn’t good enough when the title is in an entity or trust. It’s your job to ‘get it right’ and there is no closing attorney to look over your shoulder protecting you from documentation errors or fraud. You need a Certification of Trust, with a signature, witness and notary for your file to protect yourself when things go south and you have an issue with an owner or tenant. Make sure you’re dealing with the right person, with the right authority, and sending the money to the right account before you take on the property titled in a trust. There’s a lot of money at stake and people get real mad when it goes to the wrong account. Make them fill out this certification and swear, in front of a notary, they are the person you can trust for ownership decisions for the trust.
“The longer you’re in property management the more you realize that it’s sticky, often hostile, sometimes even litigious. Over 35 years I’ve been burned many times by owners, tenants, vendors, staff and third parties and after the second or third time (I’m a slow learner) I would go back to the attorney and have her draft a document that prevents it from ever happening again. Blaming property managers has reached an all-time high and isn’t going away anytime soon. So, understanding this reality, smart managers need to spend extra time, money and effort building/crafting documents designed to protect themselves, even from the folks they are trying to serve. We’ve pulled these documents from our archives and have listed them here for your review and downloading individually (or in packages by topic). We’ve laid this material out in the Property Management Life Cycle categories for purposes of giving the discussion some order.
Protecting yourself from Owners is what these documents are all about.
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The Property Management Lifecycle by Crown Investor Institute LLC