Skip to main content

5 Mistakes Self-Managing Landlords Make & How to Avoid Them

Investing in and leasing out rental properties can be a winning financial strategy for property owners. Many landlords also decide to self-manage their rental properties, taking full ownership of the contracts, maintenance, and marketing efforts needed to not only keep their investment sustainable, but also profitable. While tenants pay rent on time and abide by their lease agreement, unexpected things always happen. Without the skill and experience of managing properties in today’s market, you’re likely to make a few wrong moves. Read on to learn about five common mistakes landlords make—and how you can avoid them.

1. Not knowing your legal rights as a property owner.

Many landlords self-manage their rental properties and are happy with tenants who pay their rent regularly and without issue. But what happens when great tenants are no longer able to satisfy their lease obligations, like paying rent? Are you aware of the legal risks and costs associated with non-payment? Understanding local and federal laws that apply to property owners is critical. But it’s just as important to know the legislation that focuses on renter protection and non-payment. For landlords and renters affected by the COVID-19 pandemic, the CDC’s Eviction Moratorium has been extended and details what you can and cannot do during this time.

2. Ignoring your vacant home.

As tedious as it may sound, your vacant property deserves as much attention as your leased property. After putting so much into your investment, the last thing you’d want is for it to depreciate or lose appeal altogether. Make sure to visit the property often, check the mailbox, make upgrades, and maintain a regular lawn care program, especially during spring and summer months.

3. Misunderstanding the value of a property management company.

Most owners self-manage their rental properties because of cost. Self-managing your property means, theoretically, more cash in your pocket. While self-managing your rental may seem like you are saving money in the short term, not understanding local property code, state, and federal laws, and making subsequent errors, can lead to legal fees and other issues that can become more costly in the long run. That’s where a professional property management company, like RHOME, can be of the greatest help. Property management companies are experienced in everything from contract negotiations and local, state, and federal legislation to property maintenance, marketing your home, and much more. Explore property management companies in your area and ask for referrals before deciding on one that’s right for you.

4. Giving in to renter demands without doing your research.

Managing a rental property can easily become a full-time job. Simply maintaining your investment property takes time and effort many property owners just don’t have. When a tenant calls you to fix broken appliances, plumbing or electrical issues, or damaged walls, windows, and doors, it’s easy, yet costly, to call someone to fix it. Instead of shouldering the financial responsibility without looking into the matter, take the time to schedule regular mid-lease property checks. This will help prevent deferred maintenance or get in front of a tenant who would otherwise do a lot of damage.  

5. Not putting things in writing.

Many landlords have experienced a tenant with a non-rent lease violation but don’t know how to best approach the situation or what course of action to take. That’s why it’s important to draft a lease agreement that details the terms of living in the home and the fines and fees that the tenant would be subject to if rules are violated. Make sure your lease agreement covers everything from property damage and non-payment to notice-to-vacate information and pet restrictions. Refer to an attorney or property management company to ensure the document holds up in a court of law.

RHOME Can Help You Manage Your Rental Smartly

Specializing in rental and home management, RHOME has spent years listening to our clients and learning from their experiences. This knowledge helps us understand how mistakes happen, but more importantly, how we can keep them from happening. With our seasoned staff educated in the national, state, and local laws that affect property ownership, our legal experts can help execute a writ of possession, represent property owners in court proceedings, do the legal legwork, and much more. Let us help you maximize your investment and become a better, more informed property owner. Visit us at to learn more.

About the Author

Charles Riska is the president of rental operations at Associa. In this role, he oversees Associa’s SFR division, RHOME, the Vacation Rental Division, AA Oceanfront, and is responsible for driving growth strategies in markets across the continental United States, Hawaii, and Canada. His core focus is to help streamline, improve, and enrich the company’s rental strategies, with an emphasis on data-driven decision making, accountability, and collaborative execution.

Profile Photo of Charles Riska