The Roles of a Landlord

The Many Hats That a Landlord Wears

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A landlord is someone or something (like an organization) that owns a property or unit that is then leased to someone else. In actuality, it is hard to truly define what a landlord is because a landlord wears so many different hats. Here are some of the roles that a landlord plays.

The Role of a Realtor

As a landlord, you are responsible for getting your apartments/properties rented. When you are trying to fill a vacancy, you will often play the role of a Realtor. You will have to advertise your rentals, set appointments with prospective tenants to view the rentals and make yourself available to show the rentals. You will also need to determine the pros and cons of renting to certain individuals. 

Landlord as Salesperson

While attempting to get tenants to move into your units, you will also play the role of a salesperson. You will have to explain why your property is more desirable than any other unit on the market and convince prospective tenants to rent from you.

Landlord as Detective

When trying to select the right tenant for your property, you will play the role of detective. You will have to gather information about the tenant by speaking to their former landlords, their employers and by running a credit check. You will then have to analyze all the information you gather and rely on instinct to determine if the tenant will be the right fit for your property. Things to look for include someone who is going to pay their rent on time, sign and abide by a long lease (at least a year), be respectful of their neighbors, be clean and not complain often.

You will also play the role of detective when handling tenant disputes. You will need to investigate to find the truth of what the dispute is about.

The role of detective will also fit when you are searching for the root cause of a maintenance problem. If you have a roof leak and no noticeable roof damage, you will certainly have to play detective to determine where the leak is coming from.

The Role of Negotiator

A landlord’s next role is that of a negotiator. When hiring outside contractors or repairmen, the landlord must negotiate to get the best price, as well as negotiate to get the person to come to the property as quickly as possible.

If a landlord has more than one unit, they must negotiate when buying materials to get the best price for buying in bulk. For example, if a landlord is going to buy four stoves from a store, it is reasonable to ask for some type of discount.

A landlord must also negotiate any contract they sign, whether it be the terms of a lease with a tenant, a mortgage with a bank or a contract with an electrician to hardwire smoke detectors.

The Role of Debt Collector

A landlord will play the role of a debt collector when they collect rent from their tenants each month. This role will intensify if a tenant is late on their rent or does not pay at all. The landlord must then enforce late fees or file to evict the tenant.

Landlord as Repairman

Even if a landlord does not have extensive construction knowledge, they will be called on for maintenance requests. A landlord will be called to fix broken doorknobs, blown-out light bulbs, malfunctioning smoke detectors or to turn on the pilot light of a boiler.

As a landlord, it is a good idea to educate yourself on some maintenance basics. This will help save you from spending a lot of money to hire plumbers or other repairmen for a job that you may be able to easily fix yourself, such as a leaky faucet or toilet that will not stop running.

Landlord as Therapist/Counselor

Your tenants will often confide in you about very personal issues. They may call you in hysterics saying they can’t pay their rent because their roommate moved out or they broke up with their girlfriend. They may call you at 2 in the morning in a state of panic because they have a leak in their bathroom. In these situations, you might play the role of therapist or counselor as you try to calm the tenant down and work out a solution that benefits you both.

The Role of Supervisor/Watchdog

As a landlord, you may be the supervisor of your units and of your tenants. You will need to provide a clean, quiet, safe, and fully functioning environment for all to enjoy. You will need to perform preventative maintenance to keep your property in top condition and to keep your tenants happy.