Landlord Do’s and Dont’s

a group of buildings with a cloudy sky

As any rental property owner will tell you, being a landlord is not easy. But, with a little skill, owning a rental property can be very lucrative. As a landlord, you’ll enjoy the growth of the real estate market while also making income through the rent that your tenants pay. And, with more Americans renting than have in decades, there has rarely been a better time to be a landlord.

In order to get the most out of your rental property, though, you’ll want to make a few key decisions — and avoid a few key pitfalls in the process. Here are a few of the dos and don’t of proper property management.

Do advertise your property online

We do a lot online these days. We shop, order food delivery, and even find dates on the internet. And you had better believe that good tenants look for their next apartment rental on the web, too. So if your property isn’t advertised online — and in the right places — then you’ll miss out on the tenants you want. Make sure you get your ad up in the right places, with nice digital photos and a compelling description.

Don’t rent to any less-than-qualified tenant

It’s tough telling people that they can’t live in the place they’d like to, but at the end of the day, you’re running a business. Renting to the wrong tenant is the costliest mistake you could possibly make.

If a tenant fails to pay you rent, you’ll lose all the income you could get from the property. Meanwhile, expenses like maintenance won’t disappear. That will turn your profitable property into a losing proposition very quickly, and you may not have as much recourse as you’d think. Evicting tenants is a costly and lengthy process in many areas—sometimes it’s even impossible.

Worse than the tenant who can’t afford your property is the willfully destructive one. A bad tenant may throw destructive parties, fail to report maintenance and repair issues, or even turn your property into a crime scene. Make sure you perform thorough background checks and credit checks on all clients.

Do use online landlord services

You know that you should advertise your property online, and you know that you need to avoid tenants who could cause you problems with your property and the rent payments. But did you know how easy it is to do all of those things with online landlord services?

Good landlord software solutions will help you post your property in the places good tenants look. They will also provide tenant screening report free of charge—a well-worth benefit for all landlords.

Don’t postpone maintenance

If you advertise your property using a great online service, you’ll save money. If you postpone doing essential maintenance work on your property, you’ll save money in the short term, which typically don’t translate to long-term savings. When you put off maintenance and repair work, you encourage problems that could get worse and cost you much, much more down the line. This is called “deferred maintenance,” and it’s a problem that costs governments, companies, universities, and landlords big bucks.

Be smart: invest in preventative maintenance. Work with a building management team or trusted contractors to ensure your property is always kept in good repair. With preventative maintenance (and immediate solutions for any repair needs), you’ll minimize your chances of dealing with larger and more costly problems on your property.