If you’re a rental property owner/landlord, you’re no stranger to multitasking. Landlords and property managers have many important responsibilities to juggle, and even great landlords can struggle to stay on top of them all. When a landlord’s responsibilities are not appropriately handled, problems arise, and many find themselves feeling stressed and overwhelmed, facing financial trouble, or dealing with serious legal issues. That’s why it’s important to be aware of some of the common problems that landlords face so that you can try to prevent them from happening and quickly deal with issues when they arise.
The 7 biggest problems for landlords are knowing:
- How to find good tenants
- How to collect late rent
- How to set rent price
- How to reduce tenant turnover
- How to overcome property vacancy
- How to handle landlord-tenant legal issues
- How to keep up with property maintenance
- Organization and time management tips for landlords
But don’t worry. There are ways to work around these common issues and keep both yourself and your tenants happy.
1. How to find good tenants
A good landlord understands the value of good tenants, but finding good tenants isn’t always easy. Finding the ideal tenant possible is never a 100% guarantee, but there are many steps you can take that, when done consistently with all your applicants, will significantly improve the quality of tenants you sign and minimize your risk as a landlord. Here are a few tips to get the best tenants for your property.
2. How to collect late rent
Delinquent rent from tenants is not only financially detrimental to you as a landlord, but it also takes time, stress, and energy to deal with. Make sure you have systems in place to prevent issues from a tenant not paying rent before the incident occurs. Late rent notices or a polite phone call (preferably both) may be a necessary precaution.
Worst case scenario: your tenant refuses to pay rent even after the late rent notices. This is when a pay or quit notice may be in order to warn your tenant that you intent to evict them. If all else fails and still the tenant is not paying the rent, legal action is an option. Just make sure you understand Washington state laws on the eviction process to decide how far behind on rent the tenant should be before eviction and how quickly they can be evicted.
3. How to set rent price
Knowing how much to charge for rent for your property is often a tightrope act, because you want to choose an amount that your tenants are willing and able to pay, but you also want to get the most value out of your property and not undercut yourself.
If what to charge for rent is an ongoing struggle, check out our blog How Much Should I Charge For Rent? Seattle Area Rental Rates.
4. How to reduce tenant turnover
Even if you understand how to find good tenants, your job as a landlord doesn’t end there. Keeping your tenants is just as tough, but necessary because there are lots of hidden costs to tenant turnover.
You’ll want to make sure you develop and maintain a good landlord-tenant relationship so that those good tenants stick around. The goal is to have long-term renters occupy the property, for a mutually beneficial landlord-tenant relationship.
5. How to overcome property vacancy
Even great properties in great locations require good marketing tactics to ensure the property is leased to the right tenants at the right time and for the right price. It’s important to know the market in which you’re leasing and make sure you get your property in front of the right audience with effective, relevant, and efficient marketing.
Know your vacancy rate, so that you can know how much of a push to make on filling those vacancies.
6. How to handle landlord-tenant legal issues
There are many legal issues and liabilities that landlords must be aware of. You’ll need to make sure any lease you execute adequately covers your liabilities. Making a mistake there can result in costly legal fees. You’ll also want to be prepared for any potential legal issues that may arise with tenants when it comes to collecting rent on time, taking care of the property, etc. Refer back to [anchor to section] What to do if tenant does not pay rent, and make sure your property leases are up to date and air tight to avoid legal issues before they arise.
It is also important to be careful what kinds of questions you ask and promises you make to tenants. What may feel like casual conversation may be used against you in court.
For more details and examples, read this Findlaw blog.
7. How to keep up with property maintenance
Commercial and residential properties don’t take care of themselves. As a landlord, you’re responsible for the maintenance of an investment property, so you need to know where to find the right services and materials to keep things in top shape. You’ll also want to have a plan in place to monitor the property for needed repairs, make sure those repairs get done, and manage repair costs.
The most effective ways to keep your property maintained are to do thorough inspections before and after tenants move in and out, keep up-to-date on renovations, and hire a property manager to take some of the burden from you.
8. Organization and time management tips for landlords
Being a landlord can get confusing. With so much to do and so little time, completing your tasks can be overwhelming. Many new rental property owners/landlords underestimate how involved they’ll need to be to turn a profit successfully. It takes a good deal of time, knowledge, skills, and systems to manage a rental property effectively.
The reality is that when it comes to the role of a landlord, it can often be tough for a single individual to manage. Hiring a quality, full-service property management company like Powell addresses all of these common problems—and more—to ensure that your property and tenants are well taken care of and that your investment is turning the best profit possible. Learn more about what a property management company does.