Landlords: Maintenance, Tenant Screening Are Biggest Struggles

Maintenance and tenant screening are the biggest struggles than landlords and property managers face on a day-to-day basis

Maintenance and tenant screening are the biggest struggles than landlords and property managers face on a day-to-day basis, according to a Zillow survey of more than 1,000 rental property owners.

Zillow surveyed first-time and repeat landlords to learn what the most burdensome parts of the process are for them. The typical (median) landlord who completed the survey reported having two rental properties.

Top 5 challenges landlords say they face

  1. Repairs / maintenance
  2. Screening tenants (reading applications, doing background checks, credit checks)
  3. Scheduling or managing tours with potential tenants
  4. Renovations
  5. Collecting payments

According to Zillow’s survey data, almost all landlords (92 percent) said repairs or maintenance were among the top three most demanding responsibilities of managing a rental property, and 40 percent considered it the No. 1 most burdensome. Screening tenants (reading applications, completing background checks and credit checks) was a close second, with 71 percent of landlords reporting it among their top three most burdensome activities.

More than one-third of landlords (36 percent) said they wished they would have known how hard it would be to find reliable renters, and managing the rental (communicating with tenants, accounting, etc.) was more time-consuming than they had anticipated. Thirty-four percent also noted that they wished they would have known the leasing process (processing applications, scheduling tours, writing a lease, etc.) would take more effort than expected.

“Investing in a rental property can provide reliable income and housing for a renter who needs it, but it’s crucial for landlords to understand the responsibilities,” Manny Garcia, a population scientist at Zillow, said in the release. “Many landlords wish they had known more about the effort required to find tenants and keep the property in good condition.”

Zillow Group Population Science conducted a nationally representative survey of more than 1,000 people who own at least one property that they rent out. The study was fielded in February 2023.

The Zillow release said Zillow Rental Manager “provides landlords with the right tools to support them throughout the process, for free. In addition to offering housing providers an easy way to create their listing and get free access to the most visited rental network, Zillow Rental Manager has a ton of resources available now (and coming soon) to help them manage their portfolio and optimize their investment.”

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