Many of the properties we manage come from landlords who tried at some point to manage the property on their own. Many self-managing landlords fail because this is something they do on the side and are not super familiar with. There’s nothing wrong with this, and no one expects someone to be an expert in a field they have such little experience with. One big reason why the self-managing landlord tends to fail is that they are too soft on their tenants.
We have so many landlords call us where they placed an un-qualified tenant in their property, and now the tenant is behind in rent. My first question is always: Why did you let this tenant move into your property when they weren’t qualified? The answers vary…..”I was eager to get the property filled so my expectations were lowered”….”Their credit was terrible, but they had just gotten through such a hardship I felt bad for not accepting them”….”I didn’t run their credit because they were the childhood best friend of my aunt Betty”. The list goes on. It seems like such a rookie mistake, but so many landlords who have had rental properties for years continue to make the same mistake. It’s amazing how common they think evictions are, when they really don’t have to be.
Speaking of evictions, we see many landlords that wait way too long to file an eviction. The tenants always have a reason why they’re behind on rent, and always have promises on when they will pay the rent and get caught up. When the landlord continues to take these excuses and wait it out, what does that tell the tenant?
Another common “softie” mistake of a landlord is giving in too much when it comes to maintenance. Yes, you want to maintain a safe, liveable environment for you tenant, and of course you’re even legally required to, but how do you know when to stop? I’ve seen firsthand tenants taking advantage of their landlord, and once the landlord starts down the path of honoring every little request of the tenant, there’s no turning back. The landlord has set the expectation that they can be bothered at any time and will address any request of the tenant.
It’s tough to be a landlord, and it’s even tougher to figure out the line of how to be a good landlord without getting beat down by your tenants. Don’t let it happen to you.