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The Most Time-Consuming Aspects of Being a Landlord

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As most landlords will tell you, owning rental property can be a great investment, providing both immediate cash flow in the form of rental income and long-term appreciation.

But if you’re taking the DIY route, and planning to manage your property on your own, it can be a tremendously time-consuming endeavor as well.

“Wait a second,” you might be thinking. “What’s the point of investing in rental property if you have to spend all of your spare time overseeing it?”

Exactly! But rental property doesn’t just offer decent returns, it also offers tremendous flexibility –meaning you can manage it on your own terms. These days, rental property doesn’t have to be a 24/7 endeavor, there are solutions available that allow you to outsource most, or even all of the work that’s involved with being a landlord –no need to stress about it.

This can prove to be an especially viable solution once you start adding to your rental property portfolio, or if you live a considerable distance from your properties. It’s also ideal if your goals include early retirement, financial freedom, or the flexibility to take off on a moment’s notice on a much-needed Caribbean vacation!

Rental properties –and a clear plan for management can help you to reach your goals. With this in mind, here’s a look at some of the most time-consuming aspects of being a landlord. See what’s likely to eat up most of your time, and how you can outsource these tasks to make life easier –and rental property management entirely stress-free.

Time-Consuming Rental Management Tasks

  • Legal Research 

First up, how familiar are you with landlord-tenant laws and legislation that will impact you as a landlord? The truth is, as a landlord, there are a number of responsibilities that you’ll find on your plate –and plenty of local or state-wide laws that are in place and will govern your approach to property management. Being familiar with these laws is crucial for ensuring that you operate inside the law, and making sure you meet all of your obligations. You’ll want to take a deep dive into state laws (See: landlord-tenant laws by state) and make sure you’re clear on what’s required of you. The same thing applies if you’re investing in a different state –make sure you familiarize yourself with the laws of that area, including tax implications, so you know exactly what to expect. 


  • Screening Tenants 

Next up, sourcing tenants can also be a time-consuming task. Advertising vacancies, processing tenant applications, and running reference checks are crucial, but time-consuming steps in the process. Still, this is one task that you won’t want to cut back on, as finding a qualified applicant for your property can make or break your success. While it’s important to be thorough and have an airtight screening process in place, you’ll also want to balance this with the need to ensure that your screening process is in compliance with guidance like the Fair Housing Act. This act states that a landlord cannot discriminate on the basis of race, color, national origin, religion, sex, familial status (number of children), and disability. Landlords should always avoid asking any questions that could be considered discriminatory or inappropriate. Your goal is to ensure that the tenant will be able to pay the rent and abide by the terms of the lease. Everything else is irrelevant. 

See more: Tips for Filling Vacancies

  • Maintenance and Repairs

Maintenance and repairs can quickly eat into your spare time, especially if you have multiple rentals, or live a considerable distance from your property. Even if you don’t plan to do all of the maintenance and repairs on your own, arranging for these tasks to be done can still be time-consuming. Finding trustworthy contractors is another job in and of itself. Here’s a look at some examples of basic, yet important tasks that you’ll want to do, or arrange to be done at your rentals:

  • Clean the gutters and inspect the roof
  • Service the HVAC system
  • Replace air filters
  • Flush water heater
  • Test smoke and carbon monoxide detectors
  • Prune back dangerous trees
  • Perform winterization tasks
  • Check for leaks, especially following heavy rainfall 
  • Check for signs of pest infestations
  • Re-caulk showers and bathtubs
  • Tighten faucets and check for leaks

It’s a good idea to budget for 1-2% of the property’s value per year on maintenance-related tasks.  

Regular maintenance can help to keep your property in great shape, which can stave off the need for more extensive work down the road. It can also help to prevent unexpected emergencies from arising. In fact, according to GetRichSlowly, the national statistic on the Cash Value of Home Maintenance states that for every $1 that is spent on maintenance, up to $100 of repairs are avoided.

See also: How to budget maintenance for your rental property.

  • Admin Tasks

Ah, the paperwork! Being a landlord doesn’t get you out of shuffling papers. In fact, it can create more. From paying invoices, and collecting rents, to running ads, vetting potential tenants, and more –there’s no end to the admin tasks that you’ll need to oversee when managing a rental. Consider also that your workload will increase considerably with each property you acquire. While each task in and of itself might not take long in and of itself, they can add up quickly.

  • Dealing With Emergencies 

Finally, a certain percentage of your time will be spent fielding phone calls and handling emergencies at your rental. Of course, keep in mind that the level of work that’s involved will vary considerably depending on the age and condition of your property. Older properties generally experience more frequent issues and will require more maintenance and repairs. Burst pipes, fallen trees, malfunctioning toilets, and more. Hopefully, you’ll have a list of professionals that you can call when issues arise, but remember: rental emergencies are never well-timed or convenient. 

A Property Manager Can Make Life Easier

Fortunately, help is available –for many landlords, this comes in the form of a professional property manager. 

Hiring a property manager can help to make investing in rental property as seamless as investing in stocks and shares –but with a host of additional benefits that equity investments don’t offer.  

Hiring a property manager can be an ideal solution; allowing you to outsource all of the work and stress that’s involved with overseeing property –while still allowing you to collect rent each month. 

But crucially, outsourcing not only enables you to free up your time, but it can help you to increase your profits as well. As you’re outsourcing the work, you’ll be able to expand your property empire beyond what you’d be able to if you were overseeing everything on your own, making investing in multiple properties a lot more feasible. 

Here’s a look at some of the practical benefits that come from hiring a property manager:

  • They’ll Help You Secure Qualified Tenants

A good property manager will have a system in place for sourcing and screening tenants, and will be able to help you find qualified tenants, sooner. They’ll also be able to screen tenants in a way that’s in compliance with the law. A reputable property manager will know how to find qualified tenants, quickly, and will adhere to fair screening standards to ensure every applicant gets fair and equal consideration. 

  • Keep You in Compliance With the Law

A property manager can also be familiar with local, state, and federal law; and will be able to operate on your behalf, to ensure that your property is managed in a way that’s in compliance. Areas that landlord-tenant laws covers include tenant screening, security deposits, lease enforcement, evictions, and more. Enlisting the help of a property manager is an especially good idea if you own properties in different states, where different legislation applies. 

  • They Can Simplify Maintenance and Repairs

Routine maintenance and repairs are an important part of owning an income property, but performing these tasks or arranging to have them done can be time-consuming. A property manager will be able to oversee all maintenance and repairs tasks, helping you to ensure that your property stays in good condition and staving off the need for future, more extensive repairs. 


  • They Will Reduce Your Stress

Finally, hiring a property manager means no more stress for you as a landlord. This is the case whether you’re a first-time landlord or an experienced professional. There’s always something to do as a landlord, but having a property manager will save you from fielding tenant requests, tracking down late rent, filing reports, handling maintenance and repairs, and finding new tenants in between vacancies. No stress = an ideal investment.


Owning rentals can be a tremendously rewarding investment strategy, but don’t make the mistake of thinking that it’s entirely passive income. The truth is, if you’re going to be managing your rentals on your own, it can quickly turn into a part-time job. Of course, these days, help is available, and many investors opt to outsource all of the time-consuming tasks involved with owning and managing rental properties. A good property manager can make your rental investments truly passive, allowing you to sit back, and let the rent roll in. Mai Tais entirely optional!

Make your rental investments profitable AND stress-free. Check out: From Self-Managing Properties to Living in the Florida Keys: The JD and Michelle Dickerson Story. See how the Dickersons went from managing their own properties –and being overwhelmed, to outsourcing the work, and the stress, and gaining freedom.

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