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Differences Between Property Managers and Private Landlords

May 22, 2020


Although both can do a good job of managing a property, there are key differences between individual, private landlords and property management companies. For one, landlords own the properties they manage and property management companies usually do not. The differences extend deeper than simple ownership, though, Here are some of the biggest ways in which private landlords and property managers differ. 

Type of Properties

Since private landlords are usually one-person operations, they are more likely to manage smaller properties. The properties could be single-family homes or a smaller multi-family property such as a duplex or small apartment complex, usually with under ten units. When the landlord only has a handful of properties to manage, he or she will most likely perform the management aspects themselves instead of hiring a property management company. However, sometimes an individual landlord’s portfolio grows too large and they must surrender its management to a larger company. The landlord usually still retains ownership of the properties, though. 

In addition to portfolios like these, property management companies will often manage larger multifamily properties such as apartment complexes, commercial properties, and properties where the landlord is not local. Since these companies often have multiple staff members and greater resources and connections, they are much better suited to the management of larger properties with more tenants. 

Relationship with Tenants 

The relationship between a private landlord and their tenants is often much more direct than the relationship between tenants and their rental home’s property management company. For example, the private landlord will likely be the single point of contact for their tenants. This means that they must be available always at the hours they promise to be in order to keep tenants happy. In contrast, a tenant in a rental managed by a larger company may speak to a different person every time they call with an issue. There might also be a dedicated maintenance team that they can call directly at all hours, instead of calling the management staff. This makes for a more distant relationship between the tenant and their property managers. It’s not likely that tenants have the cell phone numbers of the property management staff. Since private landlords are their tenants’ single point of contact, they must be able to respond to complaints and requests promptly in order to keep their tenants happy. Some landlords struggle with not only the management aspects but also with setting professional distance between themselves and their tenants. This is an instance where hiring a property manager will greatly benefit the landlord. 

Duties and Responsibilities 

For the most part, the duties and responsibilities of private landlords and property managers are the same. It is in the execution of these duties that most of the differences can be found. 

Common responsibilities include: 

  • Advertising the property 
  • Showing vacant units 
  • Screening prospective tenants 
  • Setting prices on rent and other fees 
  • Collecting rent 
  • Resolving maintenance requests 
  • Handling tenant complaints
  • And more

The biggest difference is that property management companies often perform these duties with greater speed and professional distance. Private landlords also may be more willing to negotiate on some policies, where property management companies will not be. Tenants of private landlords may also have to wait longer to have maintenance requests fulfilled since they are often performing the repairs themselves and may have a day job that takes up most of their time. 

Both private landlords and professional property managers can make tenants happy, despite their differences. Sometimes, though, landlords find that they are no longer able to manage their units. If this happens, they need a highly regarded, experienced property management team to turn to. MMC is a local property management company with experience in multiple types of units. Reach out to us today to learn more about how partnering with us can benefit yourself and your tenants.