How to Manage Rental Property: Here’s the 7 Steps of Managing Rentals

How to Manage Rental Property: Here’s the 7 Steps of Managing Rentals

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Self-managing your own rental property can be challenging but also very rewarding if done right. On one hand, it saves you money on property management and gives you complete control. But on the other hand, it requires expertise across many areas – the law, tenant relations, maintenance, and accounting.

“Owning and managing property could mean the difference between financial stability and struggle.”

But don’t stress! I’m here to walk you through managing your properties like a pro-landlord. This article guides you on how to manage rental property with expert tips & strategies. Let’s get into it!

Key Takeaways:

  • Self-managing rentals saves money but takes skill.
  • Focus on maximizing profits while keeping tenants happy.
  • Master key areas like screening tenants, legal compliance, and finances.
  • Use systems to organize maintenance and accounting.
  • Know landlord-tenant laws to avoid issues.
  • Hire a property manager for tasks beyond your expertise.

[Also Read: Follow the comprehensive rent-ready checklist to get your house ready for tenants.]

Why Should You Manage Rental Properties?

Overseeing the day-to-day operations of a rental property is an important task of owning a rental property. Managing rental properties involves handling tasks like marketing property, tenant screening, collecting rent payments, repairs and maintenance of the property, addressing tenant concerns, and complying with local laws and regulations.

The primary goal of managing rental properties is to make sure of the smooth functioning of rental properties in order to maximize the returns on investment. As a landlord, it seems to be difficult, but the self-dedication to becoming a pro property manager will result in the long-term success of your rental venture.

[Also Read: Learn what a landlord cannot do when renting out.]

Main Responsibilities of Self-Managing Rental Properties

Landlords or property owners should be more responsible when managing rental properties. They have to be ready to deal with every procedure of tenant management, property management, and financial management. As a landlord, there are three main responsibilities that should be strictly carried out for the smooth operation of rental properties with good returns.

You might find this helpful: Property Manager Duties and Responsibilities

Main Responsibilities of Self-Managing Rental Properties

Tenant Management

Tenant management is not an easy task. It can be time-consuming and challenging. It requires strong people skills to deal with the tenants’ issues. This task is important for ensuring that rental properties are well-maintained so the tenants are happy and satisfied. This management helps you to guide the success of your real estate investment.

Tenant Management Includes Tasks such as: 

  • Screening and selecting tenants to ensure they are qualified to rent the property
  • Preparing and signing leases
  • Collecting rent payments
  • Handling maintenance requests
  • Communicating with tenants about property rules and regulations
  • Enforcing lease terms
  • Managing evictions, if necessary

The best way to deal with tenant management can vary depending on the landlord’s circumstances and preferences. Landlords should follow the general principles as their management roles and responsibilities for making the tenant management process efficient, effective, and satisfying for you and your tenants.

Whenever you deal with tenants’ complaints, you must be diplomatic to address them properly. It balances your positive relationships with tenants, and landlord-tenant laws must be strictly followed. This includes the federal Fair Housing Act along with the local regulations. Breaking any rules and regulations in the future can cause harm to any of the parties. So, both parties must be aware and proceed with their rights under the law.

Benefits of Effective Tenant Management are presented below:

  • Helps to maximize the rental income
  • Reduce the maintenance costs
  • Helps to improve the property value
  • Help to reduce tenant turnover
  • and Increased tenant satisfaction

Property Management

Prioritizing investment in real estate never autopilots in raising a passive income for landlords. Landlords have to keep a property in a safe and habitable condition for tenants. This is the legal responsibility of a landlord. You need to make sure that any maintenance and repairs are done promptly and efficiently. 

Property Management Includes Tasks such as:

  • Routine maintenance and inspections
  • Marketing and advertising vacant units
  • Legal and Regulatory Compliance
  • Utilizing property management software
  • Managing insurance

[Also Read: Types of Inspections Every Landlord Should Know]

Property inspection is the best way to find out the issues before they become big problems. Both the interior and exterior need to be inspected and maintained if something needs to be replaced. It’s much more cost-effective than dealing with issues only on an emergency basis. 

Benefits of Effective Property Management are presented below:

  • Helps to improve the value of your rental property
  • Helps to improve tenant satisfaction and relations
  • Helps in reducing the risk of legal problems
  • Helps in increasing rental income
  • Helps to reduce maintenance costs
  • Helps in maximizing profits.

[Also Read: Tenant vs Occupant: What’s The Difference]

Financial Management

Every investor seeks good profits from their real investment. As a landlord and real estate investor, you are responsible for the financial well-being of your property. Income and expenses should be tracked to ensure you are making a profit. You also need to handle the property’s taxes and maintain insurance.

Financial Management Includes Tasks such as:

  • Collecting rent from tenants in a timely manner.
  • Handle security deposits provided by tenants.
  • Work with accountants or use property management software to maintain accurate accounting records.
  • Conduct financial analysis to evaluate the performance of rental properties.
  • Develop budgets for the rental properties, forecasting income and expenses for the upcoming period.
  • Deal with the payment of various expenses associated with the rental properties.

Everything related to the financial management of property, including the monthly rent payments, security deposits, and late fees, must be recorded correctly. These items should be credited to the correct charts of accounts. Any error found during the audit period can penalize the landlords, even if it was unintentional. So, most investors use property management software like “Stessa” to simplify their rental property finances further.

Note: Learn more about rental property expenses that you have to maintain as a property owner.

Benefits of Effective Financial Management are presented below:

  • Helps to make better decisions about your rental property.
  • Helps to give peace of mind on your rental property investment.
  • Helps to ensure that you are receiving rent payments on time and that you are not overspending on expenses. 
  • Helps to reduce your risk of financial problems.
  • Helps to ensure that your rental property is profitable over time.

Tips for Effective Financial Management in Rental Property Management

Create a budget: The first step to effective financial management is to create a budget. This will help you to identify any potential problems that you are not spending more money than you are taking in.

Track your income and expenses: Once you have created a budget, it is important to track your income and expenses carefully. This will help you to ensure that you are staying on track without overspending.

Collect rent payments on time: Landlords have to ensure their rental property is profitable. If you are not collecting timely rent payments, you can have difficulty with mortgage payments or paying for repairs.

Have a plan for unexpected expenses: A proper plan for forecasting the future helps you to make better decisions and avoid financial problems if something unexpected happens. 

Get professional help: If you are uncomfortable with financial or property management services, consider getting professional help from a financial advisor or a property management company.

Also, Learn about the tax benefits of owning a rental property.

How to Manage Rental Property in 7 Steps (Expert Tips & Strategies)

Property management is not an easy deal when it has to be self-managed by a landlord. Landlords have to go through different stages to make rental property management effective. This helps in maximizing profitability and avoiding problems in the future. Before getting into the real action, always be aware of Section 8 guidelines for landlords.

Following are the activities to be implemented when self-managing your rental property.

Step 1: Determine the Fair Market Rent Price:

After diving into the world of rental property management, protecting your investment property is the top priority. Though you have control over the property as a landlord, reasonable rent must be set to attract the potential tenant. It helps in minimizing your vacancy periods. The rent can be determined by your property’s location, size and condition, and the current market rent. You must ensure your rent is legal and doesn’t violate rent control laws.

Step 2: Inspect and Maintain the Property:

Regular inspection and maintenance is crucial for keeping your rental property in good condition and retaining its value. For effective rental management, schedule routine inspections to identify and address potential issues promptly. Additionally, consider investing in preventive maintenance measures, such as landscaping, HVAC servicing, and appliance upkeep. Regular upkeep will help minimize the risk of costly repairs and keep your tenants satisfied.

Note: Get to know about the landlord inspection checklist for rental property.

Step 3: Market Your Property:

Every form of marketing channel should be utilized to attract potential tenants. Nowadays, online platforms like social media, real estate websites, groups, and communities are highly beneficial for reaching a wide audience range. But your efforts need to be consistent on marketing channels regularly. Incorporating engageable correct descriptions of properties with appealing, high-quality photos is rewarded with good results in marketing. If there is any confusion, watch out for the marketing activities from one of the recognized property management companies.

[Also Read: What is Digital Real Estate and How to Invest in It]

Step 4: Screen Potential Tenants:

Finding reliable tenants is important for the success of your rental property. After receiving the rental applications, a tenant screening process must be implemented to evaluate potential tenants thoroughly. This has to prioritize background and credit checks, verify employment and income, contact previous landlords for references, and assess their rental history. This is a precaution to avoid costly mistakes in the future.

Also, learn about pet screening for your rentals.

Step 5: Draft Comprehensive Lease Agreements:

Once you have found suitable tenants, it’s important to establish clear rental agreements that legally bind you and your tenants. It covers all the essential terms and conditions, such as rental duration, payment schedules, security deposit, late fees, maintenance responsibilities, and any restrictions or rules specific to your property. Providing a detailed rental agreement will help prevent misunderstandings and disputes down the line. For example, you can use a standardized rental agreement template and customize it to fit the specific needs of your property. However, it is important to comply with local regulations and reviewed by a lawyer.

[Also Read: How to write a lease termination notice.]

Step 6: Collect the Rent:

Rental properties are like owning a business to landlords. It is an investment to make a reasonable sum of profit. The landlord’s profits come from the collection of rent from tenants. It should be collected regularly, such as monthly or quarterly. Late rent payments from tenants should be avoided to make it not a big problem in the future. You can collect rent in person, by mail, or through an online payment system.

[Also Read: What is Rental Verification ]

Step 7: Utilize Property Management System:

Efficiently managing the financial aspects of your rental property is crucial for maintaining profitability, but handling it alone can be risky and stressful. Due to advanced technology, property management software can be used to automate back-office financial and administrative tasks. This can include handling maintenance requests, document storage, tenant screening, rent collection, and payment processing. It helps you to be worry-free about keeping receipts and documents organized for easy reference and compliant with financial regulations.

[Also Read: How To Kick Someone Out of Your House That’s Not on the Lease]

Legal Issues Faced by Self-Management for Rental Properties

Self-managing rental properties would not be effective without dealing with its challenges. It requires attention to detail of every legal issue when self-managing the properties. You must be aware of the potential challenges and take corrective measures to address them. You can even consult a real estate attorney about the local laws and regulations.

Here are some common legal issues faced by self-managing landlords:

Compliance with Laws:

Landlords must familiarize themselves with landlord-tenant and fair housing laws when managing a rental property. These laws cover landlords’ various management responsibilities and tenants’ rights and responsibilities to avoid potential legal consequences if it is found to fail to comply with these laws. You can get troubled by legal disputes and potential financial penalties.

[Also Read: 8 Illegal Property Management Practices Landlords Should Avoid]

Tenant Screening:

Tenants need to be responsible and reliable to your property to avoid problems in the future. As a landlord, you can determine your minimum tenant criteria and conduct background checks on tenants after receiving a qualified rental application. It can include credit reports, criminal records, and other factors. This process should comply with fair housing laws avoiding any discrimination claims.

Lease Agreement Compliance:

When drafting lease agreements, it is essential to comply with local laws and regulations. Don’t compromise to Include all necessary terms and conditions of the tenancy, including rent, security deposit, maintenance responsibilities, and any specific requirements or restrictions. Failure to include crucial provisions or unenforceable terms can lead to legal complications.

Property Maintenance and Safety:

Property managers and owners must keep the rental property in habitable condition and attractive to tenants. This includes regular inspections, routine maintenance, addressing repair requests promptly, and complying with safety regulations. Failure to promptly address maintenance issues and safety regulations for rental listing can result in tenant complaints or even legal action.

[Also Read: 7 Ways to Reduce your OKC Rental Property Maintenance Costs]

Eviction Procedures:

If your tenant violates the lease terms or fails to pay rent, you may have to initiate eviction procedures. Eviction laws and procedures can vary by jurisdiction and must be followed precisely. Improperly handling an eviction can lead to delays, legal challenges, and potential liability for the property owner.

Tenant’s Privacy and Data Protection:

Being a property owner, you get access to the personal information of your tenants, but tenants’ privacy must be considered. The information must be securely handled, complying with data protection laws. If landlords carry out any misconduct, it leads to being legally penalized. Safeguarding tenant privacy and following applicable data collection, storage, and disclosure regulations is crucial.

[Also Read: Can Landlords Ask for Bank Statements for a Rental Application]

Getting overwhelmed by self-managing properties and considering hiring a property management company, then understand the benefits and drawbacks of hiring a property manager before you make a decision.

Conclusion: It’s Time To Be The Best Property Manager!

Finally, you are well prepared to self-manage your rental properties. This is one step to make you a pro in property management as a landlord. Becoming the best property manager is an ongoing journey. You have to implement the knowledge of rental property management into action. This will elevate your property management skills to new heights. Being a landlord itself is rewarding to stay alert and organized for better returns from the rental investment. Good luck with being the best property manager you can be!

So… if you’re stressed out from self-managing your rental property and want to hire an OKC property management that you can trust, contact OKC Home Realty Services today! We’ll be happy to help you manage your property stress-free.

FAQs on Managing Rental Properties 

What are the essential qualities of a successful property manager?

The essential qualities of a successful property manager are: a). Effective communication b). Attention to detail c). Organization, and d). A strong understanding of rental laws and market trends.

How do landlords choose the right property management software?

As a landlord, you must research different property management software, read their reviews, and select the best one that aligns with your property management needs and budget.

What should landlords do if a tenant is consistently late with rent payments?

Before making any final decision, landlords need to communicate with the tenant to understand the issue and, if necessary, you have to consider late fees or eviction procedures.

How can landlords effectively advertise rental property?

Landlords can utilize online rental platforms, social media, and professional photography to create attractive listings.

How do I handle tenant issues and problems that may arise?

Communicate frequently and calmly with tenants, listen to understand issues from their perspective too. Follow proper legal procedures and documentation for complaints, late payments or violation of lease terms. Consider mediation or counselling if conflicts arise. Evict only if absolutely necessary as the last resort. It’s important to remain professional at all times.

scott nachatilo


Scott Nachatilo is an investor, property manager and owner of OKC Home Realty Services – one of the best property management companies in Oklahoma City. His mission is to help landlords and real estate investors to manage their property in Oklahoma.