10 Pain Points for Landlords and How to Fix Them
It’s easy to think that all landlords are living the good life. From an outside perspective, it might seem as though all they have to do is collect a check every month. But the reality is that landlords have a job to do (sometimes an incredibly demanding one). The good news is that there are ways to avoid unnecessary drama by knowing the pain points of property management that a landlord may have and the ways in which to avoid them.
1. Cash Flow
Unpaid units translate to money out of the landlord’s pockets. Whether landlords can’t rent the property or tenants can’t make rent, landlords have to be prepared for a wide variety of situations.
Fixing cash flow can be as simple as listing your rentals at least two months ahead of time so you can get ahead of any vacancies. This might mean forbidding month-to-month leases (or at least limiting them). You should also be heavily screening your tenants to the fullest extent of the law.
2. Eviction Court Costs
Taking someone to court is costly, and the rules for each state can vary drastically. In some states, the regulations may favor the tenant, which can make it difficult to remove them from the property in a timely matter.
Landlords may need to require higher security deposits to cover unpaid rent or include a clause in the lease that mandates the winning party of an eviction case must pay for court fines.
3. Disgruntled or Unruly Tenants
Managing properties can mean handling disgruntled and unruly tenants. Tenants can cause untold headaches for landlords. They might sue them for poor living conditions, even when there’s nothing wrong with the property. They might use illegal drugs or treat the property as a dumping ground. In severe cases, they might intentionally destroy the property to get back at their landlord.
In addition to better screening, landlords should get everything in writing. This means having an iron-clad lease with all of the tenant’s responsibilities outlined. From cleanliness to complaints, it helps to be as specific as possible.
4. The Stress of the Job
Landlords often find that their personal relationships are greatly affected by the daily demands of property management. Spouses might worry about finances when units go unrented and landlords might constantly feel as though they have to be on-call for every little thing.
Mitigating stress means communicating with everyone in your life. It means asking your spouse how they feel and taking their opinion into consideration. It means setting boundaries with tenants and following through when necessary.
5. The Fatigue of Showings
High tenant turnover means that you’ll be cleaning, preparing, and showing units on a regular basis. And if you’re in an area without high demand, it’s easy to feel desperate after weeks go by with little interest.
Having a tenant vacancy fund for up to six months of unpaid rent can go a long way toward alleviating your fears. List the properties while they’re still occupied and refresh them every few days.
6. Property Maintenance and Repairs
Property maintenance can be one of the pain points for landlords. There’s a lot of work to do to maintain a place, from general upkeep to serious repairs. It’s not always easy to know when you should do it yourself and when it’s time for a professional.
Property maintenance is all about being practical. Just because you’re physically able to perform a task, doesn’t mean that it’s worth your time. Landlords should have a variety of handy supplies in their toolbox of course, but it’s equally important to have a list of qualified contractors or tradesmen that they can call in a pinch.
7. Property Regulations
Property management includes understanding property regulations. There’s a lot to know about what landlords can and can’t do, and the parameters can quickly change from state to state. Too many landlords end up either willingly or unintentionally violating a federal or state law.
Landlords need to know the rules of their state like the back of their hands. Tenant rights, registration paperwork, eviction laws: it’s all relevant. This is the best way to avoid being surprised by anything from a compliance warning to a serious fine.
8. Getting Proper Insurance
Property insurance is a given for landlords, but landlords have more to worry about than window damage from a thunderstorm. From liability lawsuits to income loss from vacant units, there are a number of policies that can cover unexpected costs.
Finding the right insurance means exploring your options. You can also apply for umbrella insurance, a type of policy that will extend your liability limits to cover particularly egregious claims.
9. Writing Good Leases
Writing good leases is imperative for proper property management. Your leases not only need to be detailed but also state compliant. It’s easy to find generic contracts out there, but this doesn’t mean that they will hold up in court.
A landlord’s best bet here is to do the research on their own, but also to develop a relationship with a lawyer who has a good deal of experience with tenant/landlord law. This way, they can tailor their leases to fit the most common scenarios.
10. Complicated Finances
Too many landlords will mingle their funds, meaning they don’t take the time to label and track how money is coming and going. This can eventually result in unbalanced books and total confusion.
From taxes to security deposits to interest, it’s important to keep all of your numbers as straight as possible. Create separate funds and keep meticulous track of every dime.
Need Assistance with Property Management? Contact Strategic Properties Group
Are you facing all these pain points as a landlord? Do you need assistance with residential management or property maintenance? Our experts at Strategic Properties Group can assist you with maintenance repairs, leasing and marketing, tenant relations, and more. Contact us at (813) 994-5252 to receive assistance now.