The Five Biggest Mistakes Self-Managing Landlords Make

Being a landlord can be a lucrative venture, but it comes with its own set of challenges. As a self-managing landlord, you may find yourself struggling to keep up with everything, especially if you’re new to the game. Unfortunately, even seasoned landlords can fall into the trap of making costly mistakes that could have been avoided. In this article, we’ll discuss the five biggest mistakes self-managing landlords make and how to avoid them.

Failing to Screen Tenants Properly

One of the biggest mistakes self-managing landlords make is failing to screen tenants properly. This can lead to a variety of issues down the line, such as non-payment of rent, property damage, and even legal trouble. Before property rentals, make sure to conduct a thorough background check on potential tenants. This should include a credit check, criminal background check, and contacting previous landlords for references.

Not Having a Written Lease Agreement

Another common mistake self-managing landlords make is not having a written lease agreement. A lease agreement is a legal document that outlines the terms and conditions of the tenancy, including the rent amount, due date, late fees, and security deposit. Having a written lease agreement not only protects you legally but also helps to avoid misunderstandings and disputes with tenants.

Failing to Maintain the Property

Maintaining your rental property is crucial to keeping it in good condition and attracting quality tenants. Neglecting regular maintenance can lead to more costly repairs down the line and can make your property less desirable to potential renters. Make sure to keep up with routine maintenance tasks such as cleaning gutters, replacing air filters, and checking for leaks.

Overlooking Tenant Complaints and Repairs

Ignoring tenant complaints and repairs is another common mistake self-managing landlords make. Failure to address issues in a timely manner can lead to unhappy tenants, negative reviews, and even legal action. Make sure to respond promptly to tenant complaints and repair requests and keep a record of all communications for future reference.

Not Understanding Local Laws and Regulations

Landlord-tenant laws and regulations vary by state and locality, and failing to understand them can lead to legal trouble. Make sure to educate yourself on local laws and regulations, including those related to security deposits, eviction procedures, and tenant rights. You may also want to consider consulting with a local attorney to ensure that you’re in compliance with all applicable laws.


Being a self-managing landlord can be rewarding, but it’s important to avoid these five common mistakes. By screening tenants properly, having a written lease agreement, maintaining the property, addressing tenant complaints and repairs promptly, and understanding local laws and regulations, you can set yourself up for success and avoid costly legal and financial issues down the line.