Common Problems Landlords Face & How to Overcome Them

By Alyssa Laffitte on October 19, 2018

As a landlord, you will face many challenges and make many decisions. You will deal with many people and many properties, all of which can give you yet another problem to solve, especially if you manage multiple properties. The good news is that there are resources to help you overcome these challenges and make these decisions. In this article, we’ll discuss common problems that landlords face (and how to overcome them!)

via Pexels.com

Picking the right property to rent out

The first problem a landlord faces is picking the right tenant to rent your property to. Picking the right property could mean the difference between having a good tenant and constantly having to solve problems caused by an irresponsible tenant. This is why it is a big decision to choose which property you will rent out. There are many important variables to consider when picking a property to rent out: proximity to good schools, quality of the neighborhood, the age of the property, whether or not the property has been renovated recently, if the property has a good heating/cooling system, if it has a pool, and many more. A property that has more amenities might cost you more, but you will also be able to get a better return for it, since you can charge your tenants more. In addition, better amenities will increase the demand for your property, so your property might not be vacant for long (in the next point, we will discuss why a vacant property is bad). While you are looking at properties, consider these things. If you choose a good place, you will be able to make more money off of it, and you will be less likely to have a vacant property.

Having a vacant property

A vacant property is a big problem for landlords, since they will have to continue paying for the upkeep of the property while receiving no income from it. In other words, if you don’t have a tenant in your property, you will lose money very quickly, because you will still have to pay to maintain the property. For this reason, try to always have a tenant renting your property. If you need to, enlist the help of a realtor so that your property gets more exposure. You could even post listings online, or post flyers about your property in public places. In other words, as a landlord, you must do your best to have your property occupied at all times. Avoid having a vacant property, because it will cause you to lose money.

Common-Problems-Landlords-Face

Infographic by Alyssa Laffitte

Picking the right tenant

Picking the right tenant is an important decision a landlord must make, because a good tenant can make a world of a difference in your property managing experience. If you choose the wrong person, you might have to make extra repairs to your place or deal with late payments. However, a good tenant will not be like that. You must choose a tenant who will take care of the property, pay the rent on time, and abide by the contract. It can be hard to judge someone if you don’t know them well, so you are kind of going in blind when you make this decision. This is why you should ask for recommendations and try to get to know the person before you sign a leasing contract with them. If you get good recommendations, you can be confident that this person will be a good tenant, and will keep you from having issues.

Because picking the right tenant is so important, some landlords might decide to rent out to their family members and close friends. This can work out well, but in some cases, it is not a good idea to rent out to people who are familiar with you. (We’ll discuss why in the next point!)

Renting to close friends and family members

Continuing off the previous point, some landlords think close friends and family members would be good tenants. In many cases, they would be. Still, I would still caution against renting to close friends and family members because their familiarity with you might cause them to be lax when it comes to payments. They might start sending in rent payments a couple of days late because they figure that a close friend or family member will not kick them out. This will create an awkward situation between you and them, because you still need your payment! Of course, this is not always the case, but to avoid it from happening, I would advise against renting to close friends and family members.

Pricing the property fairly

Another important decision you will have to make as a landlord is how to price your property fairly. When you set a price for your property, you will need to strike a good balance. You don’t want to price is too high, nor do you want to price it too low. On one hand, you want to price is high so that you can make more money. After all, you do want to make money off the property, right? But on the other hand, you don’t want to price it so high that you are overcharging your tenants. No one will want to rent your property if it’s overpriced. They would rather go for the rental property a few blocks away that’s reasonably priced. In order to keep your tenants happy, you should price your property fairly.

To gauge how you should price your property, look at comparable properties in your area. How much are renters paying for those? Could you ask for more if your property offers a special perk that others don’t (for example, a pool)? This will help you see how much you should charge for your property.

Dealing with late rent payments

During your time renting out properties, you will almost definitely encounter tenants who pay their rent late. To avoid any problems, you should spell out in your leasing contract how you will react to tenants paying late. Will there be a grace period? Will there be a late fee? What if they consistently pay late? What if they haven’t paid for a couple of months? These are things you need to know in advance. I would recommend that you consult a lawyer (more on that in a later point) and ask them how you should incorporate that into your leasing contract. If you depend on this money to pay your own bills, you should think about what you will do if a tenant doesn’t pay. (For example, have some money saved so that you no longer have to depend on your tenant paying rent.) Before you start renting, think about how you will deal with late rent payments, because you will inevitably be in that situation.

Hiring trusted, qualified people for repairs

As a landlord, you are the main person responsible for the repairs of your property. Of course, it’s always nice when the tenants resolve these problems themselves. But at the end of the day, you are the one responsible for making sure that the place is in good shape, so your tenants will probably ask you to take care of it. Because of this, you should have a list of trusted, qualified people you can call in case your rental property needs repairs. Before you even begin renting out, you should be prepared with the contact information for a plumber, electrician, exterminator, cooling/heating system repairer, and a contractor that you can call if your tenants have any problems with the property. You can look at review websites (such as Yelp) to make sure that these people are good at what they do. Unfortunately, things will eventually break at your rental property. Be prepared for this with a list of trusted, qualified people you can call to help you.

Maintaining the property

As I said in the previous point, you are the landlord, so you are ultimately responsible for the property. You are responsible for the maintenance of the property. You should check up on your property every once in a while and make sure that everything is okay. This could be as simple as calling your tenant and asking them about the property.

Also, in between each tenant, you should do a thorough cleaning and checking of your property. Double check that all the faucets, showers, toilets, air conditioning, and heater are working. If they are not, try to get them fixed before the next tenant arrives (because now you have a list of people who can help you with repairs!). Again, you are responsible for making sure that everything in your property is in working order and ready for the next tenant. They will be thankful to not move in to a dirty place with a broken toilet and a nonfunctional air conditioning unit.

Image via Isorepublic.com

Hiring the right legal assistance

First time landlords might not realize how many legal issues could come up when renting. It could be anything from a contract issue to a conflict with a tenant. For that reason, landlords should seek advice from a lawyer before renting out their property. The lawyer will help you be aware of your rights, as a landlord, and your tenant’s rights. They can help you draft up your leasing contract and update it if necessary. You should visit your lawyer often, too, as laws can change frequently. You want to make sure that you are complying with the most current standards. Hiring the right legal assistance will ensure that you are legally protected and won’t have to deal with any legal surprises.

Understanding the financial aspects of renting

Similarly, renting involves accounting issues, such as taxes. These taxes will be different than your usual taxes, so even if you are a pro on your personal taxes, that might not help you here. If you are renting a property, it’s important to seek advice from a reputable accountant to help you make sure your books are in order. It will also ensure that you are complying with the latest tax codes. Visiting a good accountant will save you many headaches in your journey as a landlord.

Deciding if renting is financially worth it

The point of renting out a place is to make money, but sometimes, renting out your place will not be financially worth it. You might be investing more money in the place than it is worth, which will cause you to lose more money than you’re making. For example, the maintenance of the place might cost more than what you’re making off it, or the place might be vacant for a long time, causing you to make no money off it (as I mentioned before). In that case, you need to decide if you want to continue renting out your property if you want to sell it for good. It’s possible that your best option would be to cut your losses and to let go of the property.

Landlords must deal with many problems. They need to deal with everything from tenant conflicts (especially late rent payments), legal problems, financial problems, and any problems with the property (like a broken toilet). These problems are annoying, but they are definitely solvable. First, choose a responsible tenant for your property. Preferably, this tenant will not be a close friend or family member. Be fair when you decide your property’s price, as an extremely high price will drive tenants away, while an extremely low price will not bring in any profit. Also, figure out how you will deal with any repairs the property might need. For this, I would recommend having a list of contacts that specialize in home repairs. Finally, be sure to protect yourself of any legal and financial problems. As a busy landlord, that’s the last thing you will need! To avoid these kinds of problems, visit a reputable lawyer and an accountant to make sure you are complying with the latest laws and tax codes. If you follow these tips, you will overcome many problems that landlords face.

By Alyssa Laffitte

Uloop Writer
University of Miami
22, ISFJ. Biology student. College lifestyle blogger. Avid reader and writer. Dog lover. Nerd. Boyband enthusiast. Superhero in training. Here to help you become the best you can be!

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