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5 Common Mistakes Landlords Make

Posted by David Ross on Sat, Feb 17, 2024

Avoid landlord mistakes and save on landlord insurance in Philadelphia, Pittsburgh, Erie, Allentown, Reading, Lancaster, Harrisburg, and throughout Pennsylvania.Investing in rental property and becoming a landlord is a viable income stream for many Americans. According to Doorloop, approximately 17.1 million properties generate income in the U.S., earning as much as $97,000 annually (more than $35,000 above the median household income).

However, landlords need to make intelligent decisions, avoid mistakes, and protect their investments with Landlord Insurance to make that kind of income. Simply buying a property, making a few renovations, and renting it out – without taking necessary precautions – can lead to financial loss and more problems.

5 Common Mistakes Landlords Make

1. Not Properly Screening Tenants

When you rent out your property, you are handing it over to a stranger; therefore, it's imperative that you properly screen all tenants before handing over the keys. Although you may be concerned about quickly renting out your property and avoiding vacancies, you need to do whatever you can to help ensure that your tenants will pay their rent on time and not trash your property.

Stessa recommends the following steps when screening applicants:

  • Set minimum applicant requirements
  • Request a completed rental application
  • Run credit, rental history, and background check
  • Speak with current employer and landlord
  • Interview the applicant
  • Review all applicants

2. Not Budgeting for Vacancies

Most rental property owners compare their monthly costs with anticipated rental income to determine their profit. Many rely on rental income to pay all or part of their monthly mortgage payments. However, some fail to budget for months when the unit is vacant and providing zero income.

How often your rental property will be vacant and for how long varies greatly depending on the area, the economy, the condition of your property, etc., but it's safe to say that your property will be vacant at some point.

Therefore, when estimating your cash flow, always estimate for months with zero-dollar income from your rental property and ensure that you can continue to pay your mortgage, property taxes, maintenance costs, etc., when (not if) that happens.

3. Neglecting Property and Tenants

Although rental income is considered passive income, that doesn't mean that you can be passive when it comes to your property and tenants. You must ensure that your property is appropriately maintained to comply with the Pennsylvania Landlord Tenant Act, avoid injuries that can lead to lawsuits, and keep minor issues (a leaky faucet) from becoming more expensive repairs (replacing flooring). Landlords should regularly inspect their rental properties to watch for maintenance issues and perform routine maintenance (such as replacing air filters, testing smoke and carbon monoxide detectors, checking fire extinguishers, etc.).

You should also regularly check in with your tenants to ensure there aren't any issues that need to be addressed.

4. Not Treating it Like a Business

Too many landlords treat their rental property like a hobby. To be successful (enjoying an income and avoiding unnecessary headaches), you must treat your rental property like a business. That means conducting market research before purchasing a property, keeping records (financial, maintenance, etc.), estimating costs, building a financial reserve, having a marketing strategy, enforcing the lease, knowing when and how to evict a tenant, etc.

5. Not Getting the Right Landlord Insurance

One of the biggest mistakes many new landlords make – especially if they're renting out a single-family home – is to assume their homeowner's insurance policy will protect them if the rental property incurs damage or someone is injured on the property. Insurance is all about risk, and renting your home to someone else increases risk; therefore, most standard homeowner's insurance policies do not cover damage or injuries if you rent your property to someone else.

The right Landlord Insurance fits your specific needs and helps protect your property and so much more.

Don't Pay Too Much for Landlord Insurance!

As Landlord Insurance specialists, the agents at American Insuring Group understand your unique concerns and insurance needs to ensure you get the right insurance coverage. As independent agents, we compare your insurance coverage with multiple competing insurance providers to ensure you get the best price on quality coverage. 

Call (800) 947-1270 or (610) 775-3848, or connect with us online.

Tags: Landlord Insurance