Should you manage your property yourself to save fees or to hire a property manager? To answer this question, you need to know what a property manager should be able to do.

Skills and expertise required of a property manager

To manage a property, it is not enough to have the good will and to do as you please. There are many administrative, legal, technical and financial constraints.

Legal knowledge

Lease law, supplementary laws and case law are complex and sometimes difficult to understand. Everything is regulated and the tenants of residential, farm and commercial leases benefit from special protections. Among other things, the following points are regulated in detail:   

  • The conclusion of the lease
  • The fixing of the initial rent
  • Security interests
  • Payment and non-payment of rent
  • Modification of the rent and other benefits
  • Subletting
  • Family housing
  • Condition of the premises
  • Defects in the property
  • Termination of the lease
  • Taxation
  • Heating and ancillary costs statements
  • Legal procedures and disputes,
  • etc.

Administrative knowledge 

  • Tenant search
  • Checking rental applications
  • Negotiating and concluding the lease
  • Preparation of mandatory official notices
  • Managing contracts and monitoring due dates
  • Follow-up
  • Contacts with tradesmen, tenants, insurers, authorities
  • Correspondence

 Technical knowledge  

  • Quotations, awarding of works, monitoring and control of works
  • Regular technical inspections on site
  • Damage and claims handling

Financial knowledge

  • Rent calculations
  • Rent controls and reminders
  • Heating bills
  • Accounting
  • Balance sheet
  • Balance sheet and profit and loss account

Personal skills

The property manager must be able to negotiate and find solutions in sometimes difficult situations. They must be able to deal with stress and conflict.

The most common mistakes made by lay managers are the following: 

  • The setting or modification of the rent does not correspond to the law and the calculations are wrong
  • The termination of the lease is not done legally and is void
  • The tenant's application is not checked carefully enough
  • The steps to be taken in the event of non-payment of rent or in the event of a request for a rent reduction are not taken in accordance with the tenancy law
  • The comparison of quotations is not done carefully, the cheapest craftsman is chosen without checking the quality of materials and work and services


In my opinion, the biggest challenge is to learn and apply all legal and procedural rules carefully. Mistakes can have important financial consequences. In addition, you need to have a lot of time to accomplish the tasks. A property manager with a federal certificate or a property fiduciairy with Federal Diploma of Higher Vocational Education and Training is very well trained to manage your property.


 © Written by Esther Lauber, Real Estate Trustee with Advanced Federal Diploma of Professional Education and Training, real estate agent, property manager in Carouge Geneva, translated with (free version)