If you’re just starting as a landlord, you will have many new responsibilities. You probably already know that you’re in for a new kind of challenge. But it’s important to be ready for many kinds of new problems that you’ve never dealt with before.
Being a beginner landlord is difficult. But with the right education and mindset, you can ensure you have a much better time with your new job.
Problems With Management
There are many kinds of challenges a landlord will face. Much of the time, bad tenants are what make a beginner landlord’s life hell on earth. But sometimes management, finances, and legal challenges can only be dealt with through preparation.
Beginner landlords often find that there are more regulations on their job than they thought. Understanding federal and state laws can be a real pain, but it’s your responsibility to understand them.
Take time to study the federal laws that apply to you as well as your state’s laws. It may take some time and energy to do so. But the time you spend complying with all applicable laws will save you much more time and money by enabling you to avoid time-consuming and potentially expensive lawsuits.
Remember that there are laws surrounding every phase and aspect of the tenant-landlord relationship. Make sure your lease agreement is compliant and fair.
If you’re managing multiple tenancies, keeping track of every little issue is difficult. You can easily find yourself in a situation where multiple tenants are complaining about a small maintenance issue while another is making a noise complaint. Then, you also have other tasks that involve copious paperwork.
If you get lazy, the paperwork and/or tenant frustrations will pile up and become even more tiresome. You could also find yourself in legal trouble if you fail to handle a tenant’s needs or lose track of important paperwork. So, it’s easier and less stressful to stay extremely organized from the start.
Problems With Tenants
The problems beginner landlords face managing their tenancies are fairly straightforward. But the biggest pain you’ll deal with as a landlord is ensuring you have long-term, decent, stable tenants. This can be difficult to achieve, as any mix of factors can lead to quality tenants not wanting to rent from you long-term.
High Tenant Turnover & Consistent Vacancy
Having a high tenant turnover can ruin your cash flow so quickly it can be scary. When you lose a tenant, the work involved in finding another one is difficult. Finding good tenants is hard. While you’re waiting, your investment won’t be creating any profit and will drain your time and money. That’s why tenant turnover is the most significant factor in your job.
The most successful property management firms have a few things in common, starting with low tenant turnover. The best way to become like the winners in real estate is to establish a reliable set of procedures. You need to prepare by:
- Understanding why your tenants don’t renew their lease
- Making rent increases at a sustainable rate
- Reviewing rental increases and lease terms carefully
- Having a reliable process for finding high-quality tenants
- Making regular high-value improvements to your properties
On the first point, understanding why tenants don’t renew and your property remains vacant will provide you with the key to your success. Broken maintenance promises, unreasonable rent hikes, and a lack of comfortable amenities will cause the best tenants to look elsewhere.
One great way to figure out why your tenants are satisfied or not is through a survey. Sending a at least once per year can help you understand why some tenants are unhappy and can even stop some from leaving. Surveys are good to include during lease renewal periods because people like to feel that something may get done if they respond to a survey. The results can also help you choose to make the most meaningful improvements to your rentals.
Improving your process until it’s reliable will take some time. But it’s one of the most important lessons a beginner landlord can learn.
Evictions are no fun for anyone. They are also expensive and stressful for landlords.
If you find yourself regularly evicting tenants, you need to optimize your onboarding process quickly. Ultimately, good screening and prevention are far better than evictions.
You can request a potential tenant’s criminal background check, credit score, and income. You can also ask for references and call their previous landlords. Critically, you can also lay out your criteria for a tenant beforehand so only good tenants would apply. It’s important to be reasonable, however. Don’t demand too much or too little. The criteria you set should also depend on your rental units and the price you’re demanding for them.
Late Rent Payments
Even the best tenants may pay rent a few days late occasionally. That’s fine. But when tenants are regularly over 5 days late to pay rent, you need to do something about it.
You can avoid these problems by creating incentives to pay on time and communicating clearly. One such option is to create a late rent fee. When there’s a late fee in the lease agreement, tenants are more likely to pay on time. But clear communication and trust are always better than punitive measures.
A more effective and agreeable way to handle the risk of late rent payments is by:
- Screening in advance as discussed above
- Allowing tenants to pay rent online and/or through automated payments
Online payments are useful to both you and your tenants. Information can be shared more easily and communication is clearer. You can set automated reminders of rent due and provide automated receipts when the tenant pays.
The Grey Area
Not all problems you face as a landlord are clear cut. When certain problems arise, it may be frustrating, but you can’t always blame your tenant. Issues with your rentals that might be your tenant’s fault or your own can be bewildering. That’s why it’s so important to understand the laws that apply in your state.
Pests Mold, Water Damage, & Other Maintenance Issues
Sometimes your rental unit will end up with maintenance issues or problems with pests. It’s important to remain calm and refrain from berating your tenant. Berating your tenant will not help you in the case of a lawsuit against them.
In the case of damage such as broken floorboards or water-damaged walls, take the time to calmly determine the cause of the damage. It’s not always your tenant’s fault, especially when it comes to older apartment buildings. Sympathize with your tenant and withhold your personal judgment until the facts have been presented. That way you can avoid an ugly legal battle and potential shouting match with an offended tenant.
Lastly, any combination of the above problems can stress out even an experienced landlord. As a beginner, you will face new and aggravating challenges. The key is to stay calm and empower yourself with the knowledge and expertise you need.
With some hard work and experience, you will become successful as a landlord.
Hi, I’m just an inspired recent real estate beginner investor named Miguel Rivera from a modest town neighborhood called Pigeon Hill in Aurora, Illinois, the City of Lights! I have 3 years in so far investing in real estate and excited to continue to walk my chosen path to reach my ultimate financial goal of living off my rental income before I reach 35 years old! Driven by infinite growth potential and guided by my mentor, I managed to get started and make it work with just a modest salary, practically no education in the field, learning and applying some key habits. This website is a collection of all things that I have learned so far that I wish can help other recent real estate investors! Click here to view more about my story.