6,000Units Under Management
Less Than 1% Eviction Rate
Avg. Time Rental Is on Market 23 Days

6 Mistakes New Landlords Make and How to Avoid Them

Whether saving for college, retirement, or just some rainy day spending money, many individuals are looking for ways to build an investment portfolio. Investing provides several opportunities to make money and potentially build long-term wealth. However, if you’re looking to invest in rental properties, there are several factors to consider if you want your business to be successful. As such, read along as we go over common mistakes new landlords make and how to avoid them. 


Contents of This Article: 

Do You Want to Become a Landlord?

Being a landlord seems like the perfect way to start making easy passive income. You just have to find tenants, collect monthly checks, and occasionally call in a contractor for repairs, right? Well, not exactly. 


Unfortunately, until you become a landlord, it’s difficult to predict how complicated property management is. It is incredibly challenging and time-consuming, and many new landlords need help in their duties when trying to manage it all on their own.

If you are considering leasing property in Montgomery, Prince George’s, or even Baltimore County, property management in Maryland involves far more than what meets the eye. From filing tax paperwork to lead paint compliance and managing tenant disputes, many landlords are often under-prepared to deal with common rental property issues.

That said, here are some of the top new landlord mistakes to try and avoid.

Common Mistakes New Landlords Make

If you’re new to rental property investing, you won’t be an expert in every aspect. Sometimes, you may find out the hard way that being a landlord isn’t for you by making mistakes. 

However, knowing how to avoid common mistakes new landlords make and recover from your downfalls will ultimately lead to your success. As such, here are some common mistakes new landlords make and how to avoid them throughout your career.

  1. Failing to Remain Empathetic
  2. Buying a Fixer-Upper to Rent Out
  3. Not Building a Network
  4. Not Doing the Proper Homework
  5. Disregarding Tenant Rights
  6. Trying to Manage Too Much at Once

Failing to Remain Empathetic

Imagine this: Last night at 11 o’clock, Lucy knocked on your door because she got locked out again. Then, at 1:30, Bruce phoned to say he had a sputtering radiator. By 5 in the morning, you had fielded four more calls, and now you have meetings all day! As you can imagine, nights like that are highly frustrating.

Property management in Washington DC isn’t easy. However, it’s important not to take those frustrations out on your tenants; these are routine issues, especially if you manage more than one property. One of the fastest ways landlords alienate tenants is to avoid their needs, respond too slowly to a situation, or ignore calls. 

As such, keep an open line of communication with your tenants, and try to resolve issues as fast as possible. Put yourself in their shoes and understand where they’re coming from with their complaints or requests. 

Buying a Fixer-Upper to Rent Out

Unless you spent years flipping homes, the challenge of doing it alone could be overwhelming. Nevertheless, the idea is attractive enough: buy a house cheaply, put money into repairs, and bask in the home’s new estimated value – all while tenants pay you monthly rent.


The problem is that the work is much harder than most investors realize.

For instance, do you know how to handle plumbing and electrical matters? How long will these projects take? How soon will you bring in tenants? How do you handle contractors who do not complete their jobs on time? How do you manage cost overruns? Do you have someone on-site to make sure work is being done correctly? Second, given your full-time job or other duties, when will you make the repairs?

Tenants expect repairs to be completed promptly and won’t care about your personal schedule. As a result, many property owners have to sell their properties sooner than planned because they cannot handle the extra work. Often, it means working nights and weekends.

Finally, what is the neighborhood like? Be sure you will be marketing to the right audience for that neighborhood. Features important to Baltimore County tenants may differ from those in Montgomery County.

Not Building a Network

Tenants expect to have maintenance issues addressed quickly by a licensed professional who knows what they’re doing. If you’re not licensed for plumbing or electrical work, it’s best to call in a reliable team of experts who can deliver results in a reasonable timeframe.

Have a list of go-to contractors you can contact for quality work and a quick turnaround time. You should even have a backup list of repair companies if your usual contractors are overbooked or on vacation.

Not Doing the Proper Homework

How much do you know about the property you rent? What is the demand for housing in that area? What are competitors charging for rent? What are your potential clients like? Are they college students or new families saving for a permanent residence?

Being a good landlord is more than simply owning and filling a space with people. After all, you’re starting a business and need to be aware of the fundamentals to succeed; otherwise, you will own a vacant building.

Disregarding Tenant Rights

Sometimes, when a landlord gets frustrated with a nightmare renter, the first reaction is to resort to unscrupulous practices. However, no matter how the tenant behaves, there are specific rules you cannot break. If you do, you may wind up owing your ex-tenant money for damages.


  • Skirting Eviction Rules. Eviction is a process that has specific steps; you cannot just toss someone out without justification and due process. You can evict someone for failure to pay rent, not leaving the property after a contract ends, or ignoring the rental agreement. Eviction processes differ by state. Nearly all require a termination notice and a certain number of days for tenants to prepare. These can be overwhelming responsibilities for landlords unfamiliar with them.
  • Keeping the Deposit. Tenants pay security deposits to the landlord as informal insurance. It gives the landlord a slight cushion if renters abuse the property. After the lease expires, the landlord provides the tenant with a list of things that require cleaning or repair, drawing the cost from the deposit. The landlord returns any remaining deposit money to the tenant. It is against the law for landlords to keep this money without reason.
  • Ignoring Privacy Rights. All residents must receive a 24-hour notice before you or your property management representative visits the home. After giving notice, the landlord can conduct inspections, provide tours to prospective tenants, or bring in contractors. Most tenants want to clean and make other preparations before you arrive. Refrain from barging in.

Trying to Manage Too Much at Once

Landlords that self-manage properties often find themselves quickly overwhelmed by the amount of time, energy, and resources that regularly go into maintaining a rental unit.

Consider using a property management company to help you balance all of the duties related to your rental property. They manage the troublesome paperwork and tenant hunting, so you do not have to. In addition, they run efficient background checks, inspect properties to ensure tenants adhere to rules, interview prospective renters, collect payments, and fight on your behalf in court.

They can be an irreplaceable resource and practically pay for themselves in the amount of time they save landlords, not to mention the money saved through the larger pool of reliable maintenance and legal resources.

How Can Property Management Help? 

If you’re starting your investment journey, it’s important to know about the common mistakes new landlords make. That way, you can avoid them from the start. Some landlords, especially those with several rentals, hire a property management company to help with the day-to-day tasks. 

Bay Property Management Group is a full-service rental management company that’s well-versed and experienced with all types of property management. So, whether you need a property manager for your single-family rental or your multifamily property, we’ve got it covered. So, contact BMG today to learn more about our comprehensive rental management services.