A Portland landlord shares her thoughts on four difficult hurdles in the life of a landlord.
By Mildred Delgado
From an outside perspective, being a landlord seems like the sort of job that you could do with your eyes closed.
All you have to do is make sure that the apartment building doesn’t burn down and the money comes flooding in, right? In reality, the opposite is true.
There’s so much more to being a landlord than it seems that sometimes it can be an immensely stressful job, made harder by the fact that people underestimate the difficulties.
But, if you’re thinking about being a landlord, or you already are one, or you’re just curious about what the life of a landlord is like, then here are four of the biggest challenges they face in their daily lives.
1. Gaps in your tenancies
In life, nothing lines up quite right. This is certainly true when it comes to being a landlord, and is a particular problem when you are trying to ensure that you can keep making a profit on a building. One of the biggest problems for a landlord are those awkward periods between tenants, where an apartment is sitting unrented but draining money. This can occur even if you have a good flow of customers.
The gaps occur when you can’t line up your move-in, move-out dates perfectly, which, unless you’re leasing something in a city as packed as New York City, is a simple reality of rentals. The way to avoid this problem is to have a really strong understanding of the organization and a complete understanding of how to keep your property an attractive prospect at all times, pricewise and otherwise.
2. Damage to your property
It doesn’t matter who you are, or how hard you try to avoid it, at some stage or another, your property will get damaged in a major, noticeable way. There’s always a bit of a feeling of panic with damage to property; even though it’s a building, you start to see how vulnerable things are for the place that generates your income. A quick tip is that all noticeable physical damage to the property must be dealt with as soon as possible. Problems have a nasty way of propagating themselves in physical structures, so even if it looks fairly minor to you and your tenant(s) doesn’t care, action has to be taken to protect the long-term viability of a property.
3. Handling tenants who stop paying rent
This is a classic issue. Even with a credit check and all the rest of the hoops a prospective tenant needs to jump through, people do just fall into rough patches financially. The problem is that there’s a fine balance to strike in dealing with it, and you need to assess a few things in order to know how to handle this tricky issue.
- How likely is it that it’s just a rough month or so?
- How important is it to you to keep this particular tenant in your property?
- What’s their personal credit with you like?
These are the sorts of questions you need to ask yourself when handling someone who isn’t paying rent when they should be. You don’t want to lose money, but eradicating a tenant or taking too little action will end up with losses on your end.
4. Compliance to regulations now part of the life of a landlord
This is, unfortunately, a problem that will never go away. There are more and more rules and it’s increasingly important for you to pay the utmost attention to them as a landlord. Compliance is like a cloud hanging over your head as you try to conduct business. It’s a hassle, it’s as simple as that. You need to make sure that you have the proper channels in place to be certain that you hear about all of the changes in policy on landlord responsibilities and rental agreements.
Conclusion to life of a landlord
It’s a tough job being a landlord; a client-facing job that has lots of back-room responsibilities as well – and many different areas you need to be skilled in, from handyman to tax lawyer. Hopefully, this list offers you a little peace of mind that you’re not alone!
Mildred Delgado is a marketing strategist at AcademicBrits. She works with a company’s marketing team in order to create a fully-functional site that accurately portrays the company. She is also a landlord based in Portland, who prides herself on safe, decent, habitable housing.
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