Managing your rental properties on your own might seem doable at first, but once you get seriously into the game, it doesn’t take long to find yourself exhausted. When you rent property, you become a landlord, and that’s not a job everyone enjoys.
If you don’t like being a landlord, your best bet is to hire a property management company. A reputable and experienced property manager will take great care of your tenants and your property, and the investment will help you become more profitable.
If you haven’t considered hiring a property manager, here are three of the best reasons to get one as soon as possible.
1. Basic landlord duties are frustrating
Being a landlord can be frustrating, monotonous, and tiring all at once. Even when you get into a good routine, the tasks themselves can be tedious.
Add difficult tenants to the mix and you’re going to get frustrated. Having a property manager will ease that vexation.
Not all property management companies will cover the same tasks, so it’s crucial to find one that will handle everything you need. Some companies handle more than others.
For example, Green Residential in Katy, Texas helps their clients achieve success in ways that are standard with a first-rate property management company. They do all the mundane tasks from collecting rent and screening tenants to managing repairs.
Choose a property management company by first writing down all your needs, then contact local firms to inquire which services they provide. Even if you don’t think you need a particular resource, ask about it because the more you can outsource, the less work you’ll have to perform.
As your workload lightens, so will your level of frustration.
2. Property managers free up your time
Your time is valuable. The more hours you have to spend being a landlord, the less time you’ll have to expand your investment portfolio and work on other projects, like your side businesses and hobbies.
Possessing more time for yourself is also worthwhile when you want to spend time with your friends and family.
If you’re like most real estate investors, you’re probably a bit of an entrepreneur. If you have a business to run on top of managing rental properties, you can use as much time as possible.
Perhaps you’re operating an ecommerce store or an affiliate website. Or maybe you’ve got a brick-and-mortar facility that regularly demands your presence. If you’re tied up finding tenants, scheduling repairs, and dealing with property damage, your business will suffer.
In contrast, when you hire a property manager they’ll handle everything for you and report back when things have been settled. You might have to make a few decisions, but you won’t have to lift a finger otherwise.
3. Property managers keep you legal
Short of retaining a real estate lawyer, there’s no substitute for a property manager’s knowledge of landlord-tenant law. No matter how many statutes and opinions you read, the law doesn’t always work the way you’d think.
Landlord-tenant law is extremely complex and small mistakes can show up with a big price tag. You don’t want to find out about these nuances when you get sued by a tenant.
Many landlords commit major errors without realizing they can come back to hurt them financially. Here are just some of the most common mistakes landlords make with their tenants:
- Self-help evictions. When a landlord wants to evict a tenant, you must follow your state’s laws. Most states explicitly ban self-help eviction methods, such as cutting off utilities, changing the locks, or throwing a tenant’s belongings out into the street. Many landlords do these things and end up losing in court. Sometimes the tenant wins the right to remain on the property, and the landlord has to pay a hefty judgment.
- Improper eviction processes. This typically involves a more innocent mistake. It happens when a landlord doesn’t know the requirements for commencing an eviction. Often, the mistake consists of not giving sufficient notice according to the law before filing an eviction lawsuit. In some states, eviction notices must be mailed if they aren’t delivered directly to the tenant, and skipping this step can get your eviction case thrown out. Also, there are usually specific requirements for eviction notices according to which certain offenses require a certain number of days’ notice. Giving too little notice for a particular infraction can also mean your eviction lawsuit will be dismissed.
- Charging too many late fees. In many states, late fees are limited in terms of dollar amount and the number of consecutive days they can accrue. Some states – like Texas – don’t put a cap on late fees, but judges still rule in favor of tenants who are being charged late fees the judge deems unreasonable.
- Not giving proper notice for a lease change. Generally speaking, lease changes need to be presented to a tenant with as much notice as their cycle of rent and/or according to their lease terms. For example, a month-to-month tenant requires 30 days’ notice for a lease change to take effect. However, you can’t change the lease terms for a tenant who has signed a year’s lease and still has five months left.
- Requiring a deposit for a service animal. Service animals are exempt from deposits. Not all landlords realize this and will charge tenants a deposit for a service animal. Some also charge pet rent for service animals, which is also illegal.
- Requiring documentation for a service animal. Service animals are considered a reasonable accommodation and don’t require any documentation to reside with their owner in a pet-free rental unit. However, landlords can request proof that the service animal is needed if the tenant’s disability isn’t evident.
- Discriminating against applicants based on gender. This one is tricky, because in some states, landlords can specify a gender preference or requirement if the owner lives in the same house as the tenant. However, if a landlord is renting a single-family home he or she does not also occupy, specifying a gender requirement is likely to be regarded as discrimination.
When you hire a property manager, you don’t have to know the laws; they’ll have a team of legal experts to consult on any matter, plus they’ll have the experience to make the right decisions.
Reduce your workload and stay legal with a property manager
If you haven’t already looked into hiring a property manager, now may be the time. Whether you own residential or commercial real estate, an experienced, reputable property management company will reduce your stress and ensure you become more profitable.