15 Essential Property Management Tips for New Managers

December 7, 2023

While most homes in the United States are owner-occupied, many Americans choose to rent. In fact, Experian estimates that at least 34% of U.S. citizens rent their homes instead of owning, and there are several reasons why. For one thing, rising inflation in recent years continues to strain household budgets, making homeownership more difficult. In addition, mortgage rates in the U.S. are now at a 20-year high, encouraging many to consider renting to save money.

Managing rental properties involves many moving parts that can seem daunting to newcomers. With that said, understanding a few key principles can make your job that much easier. So keep reading to learn 15 essential property management tips to help you confidently navigate the rental market.

The Crucial Importance of Effective Property Management

When property owners want to earn income from homes or apartments, they must find and maintain tenants to fill the vacancies. While some property owners choose to take on the task themselves, many choose to hire experienced property managers to handle day-to-day operations.

A rental property manager is responsible for vetting potential tenants, processing lease agreements, rent collection, scheduling maintenance, and ensuring building inspections run smoothly. For rental properties with inclusive electricity and water, property managers must also make sure that all utilities get paid on time. Without the support of property management companies, property owners would need to handle all these time-consuming tasks themselves.

Key Property Management Tips for All New Managers

Breaking into the property management industry can initially feel overwhelming, but there are several simple ways to make it easier. Bearing in mind just a few basic principles can make your job far less stressful and ultimately help you avoid a variety of potential issues from the onset.

Here are 15 insightful tips for property management companies that every landlord should know.

1. Know Your Local Laws

Several U.S. states base their landlord-tenant laws on the Uniform Residential Landlord and Tenant Act and national building codes. This legal framework outlines several basic protections for both landlords and tenants.

In general, landlords must keep their properties in safe and habitable conditions, while tenants must adhere to the stipulations of their lease agreements. In addition, landlords cannot discriminate against prospective tenants based on race, religion, sexual orientation, or gender. That said, the laws governing rental properties vary from state to state, so it’s important to familiarize yourself with local laws before taking on a role as a property manager.

2. Know Your Property Inside and Out

All successful property managers are familiar with every square inch of the homes or apartments they oversee. Some basics to know by heart include the square footage of a rental home or unit, its amenities, and a general history of the property from initial construction to the present day.

If you’re managing an apartment complex, you should also have memorized the property's occupancy rate and when various lease agreements come to an end so you can forecast when new units will open up. If you’re managing a rental home, note crucial details like whether the house runs on gas or electricity, any recent renovations, and proximity to nearby universities or businesses that can help attract tenants.

3. Establish Clear Communication Channels

One of the more critical property management tips for landlords is maintaining open communication with prospective and current tenants. It’s best to provide tenants with multiple contact methods for questions or concerns, including a phone number, email, and a physical office address to send correspondence or rent payments.

You should also provide tenants with an emergency contact number for issues that occur outside regular business hours, such as a broken water main or malfunctioning HVAC system.

4. Enforce Lease Agreements

Lease agreements approved by the property owner are the responsibility of the property manager to enforce. In many cases, prospective tenants must pass a basic credit check, prove their income, and demonstrate some rental history in the recent past. If required, you must also make sure that the tenant pays a security deposit in full before moving into the premises.

The month before a lease agreement ends, you should notify the tenant to confirm a new lease agreement or issue a notice to vacate the premises before the end of the lease term. If tenants refuse to renew the lease agreement or fail to pay rent, you should follow local laws to begin eviction proceedings, typically starting with a notice to vacate.

5. Maintain the Property

Take some time to thoroughly inspect the premises from the outside consistently, taking note of any maintenance issues or cosmetic problems that can hurt the property’s curb appeal. Furthermore, you should inspect the property's interior before any new tenant moves in, and a follow-up move-out inspection should also occur before the tenant moves out.

Property managers must quickly identify and repair maintenance issues that can negatively impact tenant health, including pest or plumbing problems. In addition, property management maintenance priorities should change depending on the season.

For example, notify tenants of basic winterization precautions as cold weather approaches, such as keeping the doors beneath sinks open and allowing faucets to drip to prevent freezing pipes. In the spring, schedule HVAC inspections to ensure all AC units are prepared for the summer ahead.

6. Build Relationships With Tenants

Managing a rental property is more than maintaining the premises and collecting rent. Property managers should also take the time to get to know tenants throughout their lease agreements.

Consider sending birthday cards or seasonal letters of appreciation during Christmas or Thanksgiving to show your thanks for choosing your property. Small gestures of kindness will help you build trust with the community, making tenants feel more at home and ultimately help contribute to longer occupancies.

7. Handle Tenant Complaints Professionally

Despite your best efforts, tenants will lodge complaints from time to time. Learning how to communicate effectively and patiently with frustrated renters is one of the most essential property management skills to foster.

Be sure to respond to complaints immediately by notifying the tenant that you’re aware of the issue and working to resolve it. If possible, create a consistent set of protocols so tenants know what to expect after lodging a complaint. Remember, it’s not uncommon for tenants to become emotional and angry regarding various issues they encounter on the property, so it’s important to cultivate a calm attitude to soothe tempers instead of reacting negatively.

8. Keep Up-to-Date on Property Management Laws

Be aware that property management laws and tenant expectations are subject to change at any time. States may change the prevailing laws regarding rental properties, and property managers must stay up-to-date with any changes.

In 2022, for example, lawmakers added new provisions to the Oklahoma Residential Landlord and Tenant Act requiring landlords in the state to return security deposits to tenants within 30 days of vacating the property. In addition, changes to this act require landlords to provide 30 days of notice before increasing monthly rent. Regularly check your state's property management laws to avoid misunderstandings or legal issues with tenants.

9. Use Technology to Your Advantage

Leveraging the right property management software can make your job much easier, especially if you’re responsible for multiple properties spread across a large area. If you manage several vacation properties meant for short-term rentals, makes it easy to list vacant properties online to a global audience so you can fill available homes faster. Meanwhile, TIDY can streamline your turnover and cleaning schedules with preferred local housekeeping services, minimizing the gap between stays.

To get the most out of these tools, you can integrate TIDY with to automate turnovers, maintenance, and cleaning so you can focus on other property management duties. In addition, TIDY makes it easy to manage smart lock access remotely so visitors can immediately access the property on arrival, even if you are miles away.

10. Market Your Property Effectively

The real estate industry is competitive, so it’s vital to market your property to make it stand out from the other options in the area. Be sure to highlight any amenities or unique features that can help your property stand out, such as a pool, on-site security, new carpet, or recent appliance replacement.

To maximize your property's visibility, create listings on multiple websites as well. You can also create a virtual tour of the premises for potential tenants to explore to get a good idea of the house or apartment without needing to see it in person.

11. Screen Tenants Carefully

Create a stringent set of standards to screen rental applicants. First, tenants should have several years of rental history, proof of adequate income, a reasonable credit score, and no criminal record.

In addition, quality tenants should have several references, such as their current employer or previous landlord. The most reliable tenants tend to be those who have rented several times before, and they should have no issues covering the security deposit or first month’s rent upon signing the lease agreement.

12. Collect Rent on Time

Successful property managers have the organizational skills needed to stay on top of all pending rent payments. Create a standard policy for paying rent that includes a two or three-day grace period for tenants and a late fee for payments received after the due date.

Consider sending tenants a reminder email a day or two before the first of each month to encourage tenants to pay rent on time. Providing tenants with several payment methods can also help to ensure you receive rent on time. For example, consider developing a simple online portal that lets tenants review their lease, submit maintenance requests, and pay rent through a debit card or bank account.

13. Manage Your Finances Carefully

Staying on top of your property’s finances is one of the most vital property management organization tips to remember. The cost of managing a property can fluctuate at any time due to repair work, unfilled vacancies, or marketing expenses, so it’s essential to monitor finances regularly and maintain some emergency cash reserves.

TIDY makes it easier to maximize your rental income by automating cleaning turnovers and simplifying the generation of invoices for either tenants or vendors. You can also quickly integrate TIDY with Hostaway and other helpful applications to stay up-to-date with all your current tenants, maintenance requests, and turnovers from one centralized location.

14. Handle Evictions Properly

Be sure to follow all the legal procedures for evictions according to the laws in your area. Each state has different timelines and rules for evicting tenants who fail to pay rent, so learn the laws before proceeding.

In most states, tenants are allowed three to 10 days to pay rent before a landlord can send a notice to quit. Be aware that failing to follow prevailing eviction laws can lead to liabilities, such as a potential lawsuit from the tenant or court-mandated payment of damages.

15. Get Help When You Need It

Navigating the challenges of professional property management isn’t always easy, so don’t hesitate to seek advice or assistance when needed.

Explore hiring one or more part-time leasing agents to process rental applications and deposit rent payments. You should also consider hiring experienced groundskeepers to conduct daily property inspections, perform preventative maintenance, and keep the premises in good condition for tenants.

Entering a property management role can be a lot of work, so there's no reason to do everything yourself.

Get Help From the Cleaning and Maintenance Experts

If you’re looking for expert maintenance and cleaning support to simplify your property management duties, TIDY is here to help. Our app makes setting up automated cleaning and maintenance schedules easy, saving you time speaking with vendors on the phone. Best of all, TIDY provides 24/7 concierge support, helping create customized workflows or quickly answering any questions and concerns you may have.

When you’re ready to learn more about how TIDY can simplify property management, create an account with us to get started.

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