The 3 Most Challenging Parts of Being a Landlord

While being a landlord can be rewarding, there are aspects that make it a difficult job. These are the most challenging parts of being a landlord.

Owning a rental property can be great for building long term wealth. But owning a rental and managing it yourself are two different things. Managing your own property and tenants can essentially be a second job. 

Good Life understands the challenges associated with managing a property, These are the top 3 things that landlords struggle with when they manage themselves. 

Keeping Up With Local Laws

Over the last couple years, San Diego has had a number of rent control and just cause laws introduced. These laws are typically very complex and hard to understand for the average homeowner.

The State of California recently passed legislation regarding rent caps and just cause for evictions (see Tenant Protection Act AB 1482), and the COVID-19 Tenant Relief Act (AB 3088) which limits evictions due to COVID-19 related hardships. Additionally, the federal agency, Center for Disease Control and Prevention, passed a similar moratorium on evictions.

With COVID-19 likely sticking around for a while, we may see lasting implications over the next few years. Trying to follow these laws can be extremely complicated without a property manager or lawyer. In the case of the CDC moratorium and AB 3088, there are multiple notices that need to be given to the tenant. If you have multiple properties, this becomes more difficult to keep track of.

On top of local laws being enacted each year, you will also be required to abide by fair housing laws. These laws are in place to ensure that you do not discriminate against any applicants. Landlords who don’t use a property manager or real estate agent and own 3 or less homes are not subject to federal fair housing laws. However, California has the Fair Employment and Housing Act and the Unruh Act), which make it unlawful to discriminate against the defined protected classes.

With this trend towards additional legislation on local, state, and federal levels that will affect how a person can rent their home. With a growing list of regulations to which a landlord must abide by, along with the complexity and potential penalties for non-compliance, these duties will likely overwhelm most landlords.

Managing a Turnover

Preparing a property for new tenants can be the source of a lot of stress for many landlords. You have to assess the property after the previous tenants move out and determine what needs to be repaired or replaced, then coordinate all of that work with vendors.

On the surface, this doesn’t sound that difficult. However, coordinating work with multiple vendors and contractors is stressful in itself. Ideally you want to schedule them on different days so they don’t get in each other’s way. Unfortunately, if a lot of work needs to be done, this will delay how soon you can put your property on the market. Once the work has been completed, you’ll want to make sure it’s done to your satisfaction.

This process can be very tedious, especially if this is the home you previously lived in. You might think that it’s okay if the oven door needs to be slammed to close completely or the faucet leaks for a minute once you turn it off, but these things are not acceptable in the eyes of the tenant. It will likely make your home harder to rent as well.

While turnovers can be expensive (averaging around a couple thousand dollars), they are extremely important. Cutting corners on materials or items is not recommended.


Maintenance is a common source of frustration for both tenants and landlords. When tenants discover a problem in the home, they typically want it fixed as soon as possible. More issues can arise if your communication is lacking.

It’s best to have an idea of what are emergent situations and which are not. Leaks, mold, and all habitability issues should be addressed immediately. Other issues should still be confronted quickly but will likely not harm the tenants.

As property managers, we know that tenants are often concerned about everything in their home. It can be frustrating to get multiple calls from your tenants about every little thing that goes wrong, breaks, or has a problem. It’s important to try and empathize with them, let them know that you understand their concerns, and make a plan to resolve them.

Many of the issues regarding maintenance come from lack of communication with your tenants. Some tenants might want an update once a day about the problem and what’s being done about it. Even if there is no new information, you’ll want to let them know what the status is. This can help assure them that you are monitoring what is going on and will continue to update them.

In addition to dealing with the tenants, you will also have to find and communicate with vendors and contractors. One of the best things you can do for yourself is research different vendors for each type of issue you may encounter: water damage, cleaning, handymen, plumbers, etc. That way, when a tenant notifies you about a problem, you know exactly who to call.

For more helpful tips on being a landlord, check out our free guide! 

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Owning a rental property can be great for building long-term well. But owning a property and managing a property are two very different things. Managing your home and your tenants can essentially be a second job for a lot of landlords. Hi, my name is Olivia with your life property management and I’m here to talk about the three most challenging aspects of being a landlord. One of the hardest parts of being a landlord is keeping up with all the state, local and federal laws. If you’re not used to keeping up with these legislative updates, it can be really hard to understand what they mean and how they affect your property specifically. For example, AB 1482 passed in January of 2020 and that affects specific properties and how they can raise the rent and evict their tenants. Ever since the COVID-19 pandemic hit in March of 2020, we’ve had even more legislation that affects landlords, their tenants and their properties. From things like AB 3088 to SB 91 to the San Diego eviction moratorium, it can be very challenging to keep up with what you’re supposed to do for your tenants and for your property. In addition to all those laws, you also have fair housing laws that you have to adhere to. This is particularly important when it comes to screening applicants. With the ever increasing amount of local and state legislation, it’s only going to get more complicated for self-managing landlords. The second thing that makes a landlord’s job difficult is managing a turnover. Turnover is when your current tenant moves out and you have to prepare the home to be rented again. Now, this may not seem that difficult on the surface, but if you don’t have experience going through the home, seeing what needs to be repaired and coordinating all that work with vendors, it can get very complicated. Managing a turnover is a very tedious process. You have to go into the home, examine every single room, every corner to see what needs to be fixed, replaced or repaired, and then contact vendors to come in and do that work. Depending on the scale of the work, this can take anywhere from a few days to a few weeks. Turnovers can also be very expensive. On average, they can be anywhere from $1800 to $2500 to get that home ready for market again. We don’t recommend cutting quarters here. The easiest way to get that home rented is to make sure it’s in top shapes that tenants want to move into your home. Things like the oven door are not shutting all the way or the faucet leaking for a couple of minutes once you turn it off. Those things aren’t going to slide with tenants, even though they may have been okay for you and you within a home. The nice thing about having a property manager is that they typically have a trusted list of vendors that they can sold for each turnover. If you’re a new landlord, you’re not going to have something like this and you’re going to have to spend a lot of time researching and reading reviews to see which vendors are going to do the best work for a decent price for your property. And lastly, maintenance can be a big point of frustration for both landlords and their tenants. If you don’t have a system in place for how tenants submit a request and how you’re going to accomplish it and keep them in the loop with that as well, things can go downhill very quickly. A lot of issues arise if there’s poor communication between the landlord and the tenant. You might know that you’re contacting vendors trying to get a good quote on how to fix their problem, but the tenant won’t know that unless you tell them. So it’s best to update them pretty frequently to let them know where you’re at in the process. Even if it’s not new information, just letting them know that you’re still working on it will help ease their mind. In addition to communicating with your tenants, you’ll also have to communicate with vendors. As mentioned previously, if you don’t have a list of vendors that you’ve already vetted, it can be challenging when an issue comes up. And not only do you have to work to get that issue resolved, but you have to find a vendor in the first place and then see if what they’re quoting you is reasonable for that industry. One of the best things you can do to combat this is that when you decide to rent your home, do all that initial research first. Find a good handyman, a good plumber, a good cleaning service, and have those contacts ready to go so that when an issue comes up, you’re able to contact them immediately and get that work done quicker. Even with a good system in place and a great vendor list, maintenance is still going to be a challenge for a lot of landlords. You’re constantly going to have things come up that you weren’t prepared for, and you may even have emergent issues like a flood, a leak, or something like that that will severely impact your peace of mind as well. So those are the three most challenging things about being a landlord. If you want even more tips on how to be a successful rental property owner, download our guide that’s in the description box. And don’t forget to like and subscribe.