4 Roles You Didn’t Expect to Take On as a Landlord
Becoming a landlord can be a good way to earn extra income, but it comes with a lot of responsibilities — as well as opportunities to try your hand at new skills. Think along the lines of catching rodents and offering round-the-clock conflict resolution. Here are four tasks new landlords may not realize come with the territory.
1. Mr. Fix-It
If your tenant’s heater suddenly stops working in the dead of winter, you can expect a frantic phone call. The same goes for essentially every other type of maintenance malfunction, from a broken dishwasher or a glitch in the air conditioning to a hot water failure.
Landlords are responsible for properly maintaining a habitable living environment of their tenants, according to Zillow. So don’t be surprised by an endless flow of maintenance requests. That’s why Denise Supplee, a landlord in Pennsylvania with 29 years of experience, has declared herself an amateur handywoman. Over the years, she has become an expert at everything from resetting garbage disposals to keeping smoke detectors in good condition.
2. Backup Painter
Upon move-in, tenants may expect their new units to be in tiptop shape. As a result, Supplee once had to channel her inner Picasso and paint an entire apartment with hardly any help. “One day we were short-staffed and had an apartment being rented the next day,” she says. “So my leasing agent, my one maintenance guy and I painted the entire unit so we didn’t hold up the move-in.”
3. Amateur Animal Wrangler
If you ever dreamed of becoming a zookeeper, then becoming a landlord may be the right path for you. Just ask Stephen O’Leary, co-owner of O.M. Property Group LLC, who has had his fair share of animal adventures during his 13 years as a New York landlord. “After one of my tenants moved out, I went into the apartment to find a 3-foot-long snake left there in a cage.” Because O’Leary didn’t want to find out the hard way whether the reptile was poisonous, he played it safe by calling in an expert to help remove the snake.
Reptiles aren’t the only animals that landlords may need to be prepared to handle. Maria Moser, a landlord in Maryland, received a call from her tenant exclaiming there was a squirrel in his bathroom. “I immediately started researching animal control for the county and even considered asking pest control,” she says. Luckily, the tenant called back shortly after with good news: The squirrel had left the house through the back door.
4. Conflict Mediator
As a landlord, be prepared to occasionally act as a referee for your tenants, Supplee says. From dealing with weekly noise complaints to making peace between roommates, she has had to help resolve many disputes on the job. “This one set of roommates would take turns coming into my office, trying to kick one another out of the apartment,” Supplee says. “I had to teach them that they were responsible together, so they had to work it out some way.”