Landlording & Rental Properties

The Typical Day-to-Day Life of a Landlord—Explained

Expertise:
9 Articles Written
rent online concept, woman using internet website for rental apartments, houses and flats

The typical day of a landlord involves more than collecting rent and doing the odd repair job. One day, a landlord could be dealing with tenants who are disrupting neighbors. Then, they may get a call in the middle of the night to fix a burst pipe. The next day, they could be closing the deal on buying a new property. So, there is probably no typical day for a landlord.

Want more articles like this?

Create an account today to get BiggerPocket's best blog articles delivered to your inbox

Sign up for free

Being a landlord has its perks. But you must be willing to say goodbye to the nine-to-five routine and embrace a 24/7 working mentality. If you want to be a successful landlord, it’s vital to understand what a typical day can involve.

Of course, what an average landlord does every day depends on several factors. There is the accidental landlord who manages a single rental unit. Then, there are landlords managing multifamily buildings and hundreds of rental units.

Related: 5 Reasons You Don’t Want to Be a Landlord of Multiple Properties

Other things that landlords must deal with can include:

  • Maintenance issues
  • Unruly tenants
  • Emergencies
  • Collecting late rent
  • Filling vacant units
  • Keeping paperwork organized

landlord, rental, homeowner, realtor

The Ideal Day-to-Day Routine of a Landlord

While no day is a typical one, most landlords and property managers try to keep some structure. Here is what a perfect day could look like.

The landlord arrives at the office around 8:00 a.m. and spends an hour or two checking email, regular mail, and voicemail. The daily schedule then usually involves planning preventative maintenance, negotiating leases, and property inspections. An organized landlord puts all tasks associated with running a successful property management business into their “to-do” list.

As any landlord knows, it’s vital to set aside time for dealing with the unexpected. This could be speaking with angry tenants, chasing up late rent, or dealing with emergencies.

Related: 16 Illuminating Questions Landlords Should Ask Every Prospective Tenant

Qualities Required to Run a Successful Property Management Business

Landlords have to juggle a ton of responsibilities every day. What qualities do you need to cope with the day-to-day running of a property management business?

Here are a few essential traits of effective landlords:

  • Organized—Good organization is key to running a property rental business. Landlords need to keep on top of rent payments, manage lease renewals, plan maintenance, and organize paperwork.
  • Time management skills—Since landlords face many demands, planning your time is crucial. For example, taking enough time to screen tenants, resolve emergencies, and keep properties maintained is essential to deal with all day-to-day tasks.
  • People skills—Landlords must have excellent people skills to run a successful business. Daily, landlords deal with various kinds of people in many different situations. One day, they could meet with a real estate investor; the next, it could be a single mom who's just lost her job and can't pay the rent.
  • Honesty—Many qualities are essential to being a landlord, but honesty and sincerity are two essential ones. Taking a sincere interest in tenants and treating everyone fairly will help build your reputation as a trustworthy landlord.

Day-to-Day Tasks Landlords Must Deal With

The tasks that make up a landlord’s day can change. Here are some of the most common responsibilities landlords have to care for—sometimes daily. With each of these tasks, you’ll find helpful ways to make your job of managing properties and people easier.

1. Rent collection

Collecting rent is usually a monthly task. Yet, chasing up late rental payments or dealing with tenants who can’t afford rent can happen on any day of the month. Successful landlords try to make paying rent as straightforward as possible for tenants. But waiting for paper checks to arrive is time-intensive, ineffective, and causes stress.

What you can do: Look for ways to encourage tenants to pay rent online. Many property management apps let tenants set up automatic payments and automatically calculate late fees.

2. Finding tenants

Landlords need to spend time keeping rental units occupied. Vacant units are expensive to maintain, and the loss of rental income can severely impact your cash flow. As soon as you know that a property will become vacant, take steps to advertise it and find new tenants quickly.

To fill a vacant rental unit faster, make sure to take high-quality photos and post video walkthroughs. Also, think about offering extra utilities such as superfast broadband to attract more renters.

What you can do: Some strategies successful landlords use to fill vacant rental units include keeping a waiting list, posting on social media, and listing properties for rent online.

credit report tenant screening

3. Screening tenants

With so much to do in the life of a landlord, it could be easy to take shortcuts when screening tenants. But ensuring that you only have the best tenants in your rental units is crucial to running a successful business. Screening a prospective tenant should include credit checks, criminal history, proof of earnings, and references.

What you can do: Spend enough time making thorough background checks on potential tenants. Why not check out some property management apps that have built-in tenant screening?

Related: 5 Scams That Trick Landlords Into Accepting Less-Than-Stellar Tenants

4. Regular maintenance

Keeping up with preventative maintenance should be a regular task for any landlord. Maintenance takes planning, foresight, and time. But the benefits of maintaining properties well are huge. For a start, you cut down on expensive repair bills. Also, tenants living in well-maintained properties are happier, pay rent on time, and look after the place better.

Remember that spending small amounts on small problems helps to prevent spending huge amounts on huge problems.

What you can do: Work out a comprehensive maintenance schedule for your rental units. Encourage tenants to use a property management app that allows them to make online maintenance requests.

5. Building landlord-tenant relationships

As a landlord, you should spend time every day building strong relationships with tenants. This could be as simple as greeting tenants you meet in passing and asking them how they are doing. Maintaining open communication is also vital. Your tenants should be able to can call someone in your team 24/7 if they have problems.

It’s also a good idea to look after good tenants well. Successful landlords can reward tenants for regular rent payments. If you look after your tenants well, the chances are that they’ll look after your property well.

What you can do: Schedule regular property inspections and use the time to check that tenants are happy.

meeting-with-lawyer

6. Keeping paperwork organized

One of the vital and less glamourous jobs of a landlord is to stay organized when it comes to paperwork. Let’s face it, you have a ton of things to think about, and it can be easy to lose an essential document. Good personal organization is the key to success.

Make sure that you spend time each day keeping paperwork organized. Have a system for managing the following documents:

  • Communication between you and tenants
  • Financial records and tax-related documents
  • Leases
  • Inspection reports
  • Invoices for repairs and maintenance
  • Photos or video footage of pre-move-in
  • Utility bills

A Landlord’s Typical Day

There is no typical day in the life of a landlord. With good organization, planning, and investing in people skills, the day-to-day tasks become much easier for any landlord. You will also have time to deal successfully with any unforeseen problems that arise.

Do you have other advice to add for landlords? 

Join the discussion in the comment section below.

Remen Okoruwa is the co-founder of RentDrop, a free software tool that helps landlords and property managers collect rent and maintain their units. Remen has ...
Read more