Managing property data can be challenging for companies. The key is to understand what the categories are and how you will collect them. Further the purpose of the information is important as well.
Property information falls in the following categories:
- Requests for bids;
- Bids and quotes received;
- Out going correspondence and letters;
- Taxes and tax related documents;
- Settlement sheets, purchase contracts, and loan contracts;
- Credit card account and line of credit account information;
- Compliance and compliance related documents;
- Resident folders, files, and communications;
- Employee files;
- Bills received;
- Bills paid;
- Other receipts;
- Vendor information;
- Investor information;
- Company information;
- Organizational information
In general, the manager should not manage or hold investor information and organizational information. This should be maintained by the secretary of the entity. This is more appropriately managed and discussed as part of investor communication. Company information and investor information must be available for tax processing and if the manager completes this, the info should be provided to complete this activity. Related to this, the property manager should have all past completed taxes, loan settlement document, purchase and settlement documents, and loan documents if the manager prepares the taxes. If the manager turns over the tax preparation information to the principal for tax preparation then, none should be maintained by the property.
Resident information should be considered confidential, kept in a locked file cabinet and behind a locked door. Resident information should be maintained as a separate folder per unit. The folder should include the initial application, the properly executed lease, copies of all late notices, copies of all policy violation notices, copies of all rate change notes, copies of any messages received, and envelopes from all mailed correspondence received. This information is the information you will need should there be a requirement for legal action at any point in time. A log of telephone conversations is an added bonus and can be valuable as well.
Employee files should include I9s, W4s, position description, performance reviews, W2s, and copies of pay stubs. This information should be kept under locked file and behind a locked door as are the resident files.
Vendor information with today’s reduced 1099 threshold should routinely include company name, contact information, main contact, and tax identification number. Invoices can be maintained separately in the bills received and bills paid folder assuming the transaction ledger or general ledger is accurate and complete.
A separate file should be maintained of active recurring or ongoing contracts and a separate file of past contracts that are not in effect.
Files should be current at the close of each operating week.
Properties that follow the above suggested organization will be well organized, well prepared for all reviews and audits, and able to respond quickly to all issues.