Property Management Record Keeping: The Basics
As you undertake the endeavor of managing your property, you’ll quickly realize that it’s not just the property itself and the accounting that you need to keep in order.
What is Document Retention?
You will need to “bring the receipts” to any situation that may arise as a result of discrepancies or legal issues between you and your tenant, vendors, or anyone else you conduct business with.
Property management is rife with paperwork! Document retention guidelines will help you know what paperwork to keep, and for how long. Planning ahead and determining up front how you will organize and file your documents will save you a lot of time and trouble down the line. Rather than reorganizing and filing years of paperwork, have a plan for document retention going in.
Establish a Document Retention Policy
If you are managing your own property, then you are your own document retention officer. Your first step to success will be to institute a document retention policy. This will be your personal guide to how you will organize your files, whether they are physical or digital, and for how long you will keep them on record. Your DRP needs to reflect both federal and state requirements, most specifically the statute of limitations for breach of contract – you are, after all, preserving these documents in case there is a legal dispute. Legal disputes have periods of time after which they cannot be brought forward – you want to make sure you have all documents from within that time frame. While there are general guidelines to follow, your local regulations may have a longer or shorter statute of limitations.
Texas, for example, has a four-year statute of limitations while federally, you’re generally protected from lawsuits after seven years.
If you’re already up to your elbows in paperwork, teaming up with a Property Management Company like Frontline Property can take that out of your hands (and off your desk)! Your applications, contracts, leases, and vendor receipts are stored digitally for convenience and accessibility, and you can rest in the knowledge that if necessary, we can and will bring the receipts to resolve any dispute!