5 Tips for Hassle-Free Tenant Management

by Brandon · 6 comments

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Management of Tenants can be tough work if you don’t manage properly. Here are 5 of my favorite tips in minimizing the work it takes to manage your tenants.

1.) Do Proper Maintenance.

Don’t be a slumlord. When things are broken, fix them. Not just because it will make your tenant happy and paying (it will), but it will keep up the value of your investment and keep you from larger hassles. Real Life Example: A tenant called once about a slow draining toilet. Rather than fixing the issue, I proceeded to put that on the bottom of my priority list, right below “fix global warming” and “find my missing sock”.

Bad idea.

Tenants don’ think like us. We think “broken toilet, stop using”. What do tenants think? “Hmmm… the toilet stopped draining… so… um… lets smoke some week and continue using.”. Three weeks later, I get a second call. The toilet has not been draining since the first call, but the tenants CONTINUED TOUSE THE TOILET EVERYDAY. They only called the second time because it began to overflow.

You cannot imagine the smell.

That day I learned three significant lessons:

1.) I will never fix another toilet again (perhaps the best choice I’d ever made)

2.) I will always address maintenance issues promptly and

3.) A toilet filled with human feces weighs too much to successfully dump upside down in the bathtub without losing 90% down the front of my body.


2.) Have A Policy To Refer To.

Just as the above tip involves having a “higher authority” to refer to, it is also wise to have a “policy” to refer to. That late fee that can’t be waived? Sorry, it’s our policy. You want a maintenance guy to come fix your  at 8:30 on a friday night? Sorry, our policy states that non-emergencies are only dealt with monday through friday, 9-5. Customer Service departments have used this technique for years, and with good reason. People will tend to argue with anything you say, but if its part of a policy, arguments tend to end there.


3.) Never Give In (if You Give A Mouse A Cookie).

One of my favorite books growing up was called “If You Give a Mouse a Cookie”, which teaches kids not to give change to the poor because they will only want your Playstation next (or something to that effect). Tenants are that mouse. If you waive that late fee one time, they will be late again. If you allow them to park one car on blocks in their front yard, soon you will be the proud owner of the towns new scrap yard. Tenants will take what they can get. Set a line, stick to it, and don’t give in.


4.)You Are Not The Owner (Higher Authority).

This is one of my favorite tip in dealing with tenants. You are not the owner. You simply work for “him”. This tip revolutionized the way we manage tenants and our own time. The landlord is always, and will always be, the “bad guy”. He’s the money grubbing guy who tries to steal christmas presents from kids and bathes in the torment of good, hardworking people. By introducing yourself as simple “the property manager,” you are given a “higher authority” by which to refer to.

Additionally, it also allows you time to think when a question is asked of you that you don’t know the answer to. “I’m sorry Mrs. Johnson, we asked the owners about you keeping that new litter of pitbulls (you moved in secretly,) but they just won’t allow it in your studio apartment”. Notice who the bad guy is? The owner. The real fun begins when the tenant begins trash talking the owner. Go ahead, join in.

5.) Get a Resident Manager.

Tip number 5 is indispensable if you are looking to hack real estate and use it as your ticket to wealth and freedom.

You need to let go.

A resident manager is someone who manages the day-to-day operations of your empire (i.e. toilet repair, complaining tenants, renting units) in exchange for reduced or free rent. Obviously, there is an economy of scale issue when dealing with this, as you would not need a manager to manage just one single family house. However, perhaps offering $50 a month to a tenant to answer phones and show units at any of your properties or $100 to get a unit prepped and filled would tickle a tenant pink and keep you lying on the beach in Maui. The point is: look for ways to outsource all the mundane, boring, filthy, and cumbersome tasks so you can focus on building your empire and saving the world.

About Brandon

has written 199 Awesome posts in this blog.

Brandon Turner (G+) is the BiggerPockets.com Senior Editor and Community Director and owner of RealEstateInYourTwenties.com. He is also an Active Real Estate Investor (Flips, Apartments, and Buy-and-Hold), Entrepreneur, World Traveler, Third-Person Speaker, and Husband. Come hang out with him on Twitter!

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{ 6 comments… read them below or add one }

Boone April 6, 2012 at 2:23 am

Great tips!

As much as I like the “not the owner” strategy, I don’t use it because my state (Minnesota) has Landlord disclosure laws against said strategy.

As I understand the laws (I’m no lawyer), If I actually had a property manager, my tenant would not need to know the mailing address(not PO box) of the owner. Otherwise, I need to disclose the owner’s identity (me) if I want to be able to take any legal action against my tenant.


Hephestus8585 April 6, 2012 at 8:58 pm

My state also has a similar requirement – however, “you” should never own real estate anyways. Real Estate should be held in a legal entity like an LLC or corporation for asset protection. That way, the owner is a company called like XYZ LLC and there address is your attorneys address. I’ll post more on this soon. Thanks for the comment!


cwin July 1, 2012 at 10:25 pm

OH my GOD I ROFL’ed at

“A toilet filled with human feces weighs too much to successfully dump upside down in the bathtub without losing 90% down the front of my body.”


Brandon July 1, 2012 at 11:18 pm

It sure wasn’t funny while smelling like a portapotty. But yeah, I laugh now. 🙂


Crystal from Houston July 12, 2012 at 1:40 am

Are you at leisure to inform us what came of “the toilet tenants”?


Brandon July 14, 2012 at 2:36 am

Sure Crystal! They lived there for one more month and I asked them to leave (best to ask people to leave BEFORE major problems occur… it’s usually pretty obvious when things start going downhill). We fixed up that unit and it looks awesome now and is rented for a lot more.

Ironically one of the guys has become a good friend of mine and helps me work on various projects. 🙂


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