Self-Managing Your Rental Property

Can you do just as well managing your rental property yourself?

Property Management is as much about Managing People, as it is the property

Being a self-managing landlord is always an option, however, over the years, the feedback Agents receive from many owners who have gone down this path is that "it is far more difficult than they ever thought it could be" (for reasons we outline below).

Often these same owners end up appointing a Property Manager because "they're over it" and need professional help to sort out their many issues and thus remove the stress from their lives!  

Of course, today you can even download an "app" to help you do it yourself. 

Unfortunately, though, an app cannot take into account the most important aspect of property investment.  And that's people. 

It is people who rent residential properties and it is people who offer them for rent (often Mum & Dad investors) with little free time (in a world that always seems to be getting busier). 

Before you make your decision, here are some key issues to think about if you are considering going down the self-managed path:

  • Time:  Do you have enough time to allocate to do everything (from advertising, showing the property, interviewing prospective tenants, reference checking, carrying out routine inspections and maintenance, responding to tenant requests, paying bills and of course record keeping etc). 
  • Tenancy Laws:  how familiar are you with residential tenancy laws, the relevant forms and legislative timeframes for these? There are very strict guidelines in terms of the issuing of the correct notices and when and how to issue them (you don't want to find this out when you're in front of an adjudicator in court!).  The RTA can assist you through a dispute resolution or recommend you proceed towards a QCAT hearing if necessary to have the issues resolved. 
  • Tenant checks:  How thoroughly can you check out prospective tenants.  We know from our own experience (and advice from Landlord Insurance companies we have worked with), that tenants who have been delinquent in the past may seek out a self-managing landlord because they don't have access to the background checking an agent has and they might not do inspections on the property as regularly as a Property Manager.
  • Rent:  Are you comfortable handling situations (and working within the legislative framework) when your tenant falls behind in their rent, stops paying it or abandons the premises with rent owing (and/or damage)?  
  • Maintenance:  This can tend to get away from you if you're not keeping on top of it.  Also if you're not really practical yourself, calling in the trades every time something goes wrong can really eat into your earnings.
  • Your Privacy:  As a property owner it is always important to build good relationships with your tenants. But it is also imperative to maintain a professional relationship and critical to avoid potentially becoming too close to the tenants. It is easy to become overwhelmed (and resent the interruption to your privacy) if you have tenants who continually call you with maintenance issues and other requests. 

Need more information.:

- Download the RTA's guide to Managing General Tenancies here

- Download the QLD Residential Tenancies & Rooming Accommodation Act, here.'

- Visit Residential Tenancy Disputes, QCAT (Queensland Civil and Administrative Tribunal) click here.