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5 Common Pitfalls of Privately Managing your Rental Property

By Dan Sowden

Investing in a residential rental property can be a great financial decision, but it also comes with a lot of responsibilities, such as finding and managing tenants, dealing with maintenance and repairs, and handling legal and regulatory issues. Some property owners prefer to manage their rental properties on their own, but this approach can be complicated, time-consuming, and may lead to under-renting the property.

In the state of Queensland, managing a rental property privately can be even more complex due to the added layer of regulations and guidelines set by the Residential Tenancy Authority (RTA). These rules cover everything from tenant screening to lease agreements, and compliance with them is crucial to avoid legal and financial consequences.

Here are some of the most common pitfalls of privately managing a rental property in Queensland:

  1. Lack of time and availability: As a property owner, it’s important to be available to respond to tenant requests, handle maintenance and repairs, and deal with emergencies. This can be challenging if you have other responsibilities that demand your time. Hiring a professional property manager can help free up your time and ensure that your property is being managed efficiently.
  2. Limited knowledge and experience: Managing a rental property involves many tasks, such as marketing the property, screening tenants, and handling lease agreements. Without experience and knowledge in property management, it can be challenging to navigate these tasks successfully. Mistakes in tenant screening or lease agreements can lead to unreliable tenants or even legal troubles. Professional property managers have the necessary knowledge and experience to manage your property effectively.
  3. Legal and regulatory compliance: Managing a rental property involves complying with various legal and regulatory requirements, including those set by the RTA. These requirements can be complex and failure to comply with them can result in legal and financial consequences. Professional property managers are familiar with these requirements and can ensure that your property is compliant with all relevant laws and regulations.
  4. Limited resources: Managing a rental property requires access to various resources, including maintenance personnel, contractors, and legal professionals. If you manage your property privately, you may not have access to these resources, which can make it challenging to handle maintenance and repairs effectively or address legal issues that may arise. Professional property managers have access to a wide range of resources and can ensure that your property is managed efficiently.
  5. Under-renting: One of the most significant pitfalls of privately managing a rental property is under-renting the property. Many property owners lack knowledge about the current rental market, which can lead to setting rental rates that are lower than what the property could command. This can result in lost income and lower returns on investment. Professional property managers have a deep understanding of the rental market and can ensure that your property is rented at a fair market value.

In conclusion, managing a rental property privately can be complicated, time-consuming, and can lead to under-renting the property. The incentive to privately manage usually comes down to either a saving of costs or an increased sense of control. On balance we believe that using a property management firm is actually cost beneficial if you are to consider the cost of your own time and while maintaining a sense of control is important, it makes more sense to find a property manager you trust so that in owning a portfolio of rental properties you are not also buying yourself a job and instead get to enjoy the freedom that property investing offers. 

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