You try your hardest to follow the best landlord practices, build positive relationships with your tenants, and stay organized, but you still find yourself stressed at the end of each day. It’s affecting you, and you might even be considering giving up your career as a landlord in favor of a less stressful career path.
Frustrating, isn’t it?
And it gets worse, because stress can also take a major toll on your health. According to Healthline, stress can cause headaches, insomnia, and nausea. It can even put you at a higher risk of having a stroke or a heart attack!
But don’t worry – you don’t have to let stress get the best of you and cause you to give up your career. Instead, check out the following 6 ways you can make your job as a landlord less stressful, and start using the advice as soon as possible.
How to Reduce Your Stress as a Landlord
1. Screen all potential tenants carefully.
If you’ve been a landlord for any significant amount of time, you know that placing a difficult tenant in your property can be a source of stress for months (or even years!). Some of these tenants might try to argue with you about their rent payment every month, while others might damage your property or cause other issues.
Either way, you deal with enough stress as a self-employed landlord – you don’t need the additional stress of difficult tenants. That’s why it’s so important to screen every potential tenant thoroughly so you avoid placing difficult tenants in your properties in the first place.
If you ever consider skipping the screening process because of the extra time and effort it takes, keep in mind that a difficult tenant will demand more time and effort down the road. You could be faced with serious property damages, an eviction, or other problems. In other words, completing the screening process will be well worth the time.
2. Always explain your policies to tenants thoroughly.
Even the best tenants can cause problems if they don’t understand their lease and any other policies they must follow. To avoid a miscommunication that could cause you stress, you must explain your policies and lease terms to every tenant.
Don’t rush through this process – sit down with each tenant before they sign their lease, go over everything with them, and then ask them if they have any questions. That way, you can address their concerns upfront and set the proper tone for a healthy landlord/tenant relationship.
3. Collect rent online.
If you have been a landlord since before the internet became popular, you know what it’s like to have to collect rent checks in person every month.
It’s a hassle. Some tenants make up excuses to get out of paying on time (or at all), telling you that the check must’ve gotten lost in the mail or misplaced on your end.
You’re not the only landlord who finds rent collection frustrating. In fact, in a recent survey of landlords, a majority said that rent and payment issues are their leading cause of stress.
Set up an online payment portal for your tenants, walk them through how to use it, and let them know when their rent is due.
For extra effectiveness, you might consider offering an incentive for tenants who opt to have their rent automatically drafted out of their bank account every month. That way, you can feel less stressed knowing that you’ll get paid on time.
4. Know the laws that apply to you.
As a landlord, the last thing you want to deal with is a lawsuit. After all, it could be costly, harm your reputation as a rental property business owner, and cause you a great deal of stress.
That’s why it’s critical for you to learn all of the laws that apply to you and your tenants – they won’t be able to file a lawsuit if you can back up your actions with the law.
Make sure you are mindful of:
- Federal laws – If you haven’t already, study the Fair Housing Act and the Fair Credit Reporting Act to make sure you aren’t operating illegally in any way.
- State laws – Certain laws vary from state to state, and they often govern practical matters (like the rights and responsibilities of landlords and tenants). To learn about the Maryland laws for landlords, check out this page.
- Local laws – Your County may have specific rules for landlords that you must follow. For example, in Prince George’s County, a landlord must give the tenant 24 hours’ written or oral notice before entering the property, and the entry must happen during regular business hours. You can read this page to learn more about the laws for Prince George’s County landlords.
When in doubt about a legal issue, take the time to look it up online instead of guessing the right course of action. By doing so, you’ll protect yourself from the potential financial burden and stress of a lawsuit.
5. Keep a business savings account for emergencies.
No matter how well you care for your properties and treat your tenants, you will likely need an emergency fund at some point. This fund can come in handy for urgent, costly repairs that might not otherwise be easy to afford.
Start setting aside a certain amount of your income every month, and put that money into a separate business bank account for emergencies. That way, you don’t have to stress when an unplanned expense arises – you can simply pay for it and move forward.
6. Outsource the tasks that stress you out the most.
Let’s face it – no matter how much you enjoy being a landlord, there are some work tasks that you probably can’t stand doing.
Go ahead and make a list of those tasks right now. Then, look over your list and figure out which tasks you can most easily outsource. Here are a few examples of tasks you can outsource:
- Taxes – Hire an attorney to handle your taxes for you instead of trying to take care of it yourself during tax season.
- Administrative tasks – Hire a virtual assistant to help you with the small tasks that take up lots of your time.
- Landlord duties like tenant screening, maintenance, and rent collection – Find a trustworthy Maryland property management group, and hire them to handle your landlord duties so you have more time to spend doing things you enjoy.
Yes – outsourcing tasks will cost you money and a bit of time upfront. Think about it like this: that investment will reduce your stress and save you lots of time in the long run.
Worth it? Definitely.
If you do decide to outsource your landlord duties, consider Bay Management Group. We can manage your properties so you can get the best possible return on your investment, and we handle a wide range of tasks, including:
- Tenant screening
- Move-in/move-out reports
- Rent collection
These are just a few of the duties we assist landlords with in Prince George’s county and the surrounding areas – check out this page to learn other ways we can help your rental property business prosper.
If you’d like more information or if you’re interested in hiring a property manager to help reduce your stress as a landlord, contact us today.