There are advantages and disadvantages regarding both rental options, a property management rentals or an individual landlord. Your decision will be influenced by your type of lifestyle and the type of property you have in mind.  Let’s consider the pros and cons of renting from a property management company or an individual landlord.

Simply keep these thought in mind when making your decision regarding a property management rentals or an individual landlord.

  • How do you like spending your weekends?
  • How well skilled are you with basic maintenance?
  • Is safety a big concern for you?
  • What’s more important, the neighborhood or property space?

Renting from an individual landlord

The two biggest factors of an individual landlord is the fact that you have direct communication and that you also often have a wider option of property types.

Many property management companies manage apartment buildings, where there are several units to manage, thus making it far more profitable, especially considering their low 5% commission fee.  Individual landlords thus often have smaller single unit properties, like cottages, duplexes and houses, properties that often comes with a small gardens.  It is for this reason that you should consider the property type that will suite your lifestyle best.

Communication tends to be easier with individual landlords as well.  This is often seen as one of the biggest advantages, but ever heard of being careful what you wish for… Being able to communicate directly with your landlord goes both ways.  As easily as you can communicate, so easily can they communicate.  Consider the scenario where you have a paranoid landlord, a landlord that always seem to find a reason to come and check up on you/property.  If this is the case you would have wished that you rather chose a managed property.

Many would argue that individual landlords are better at maintaining their properties, as they have a self invested interest in the maintenance of the property. This may be true, they do have an interest in the maintenance, often so much that many individual landlords prefer to be DIY-ers.  In theory there is nothing wrong with being a “do it yourself-er” (I am one myself), but doing everything yourself often leads to nothing ever getting fixed.  You need to remember that your landlord has a home of himself, he too has to maintain that home and now yours too.  I urge all tenants to be careful of DIY landlords, this often leads to conflicting situations.

The advantages of an individual landlord:

  • You have a wider property type to search from
  • You could negotiate easier
  • You can build a personal relationship with your landlord, this can be good or bad;)
  • You might be able to do more personalisation to the property

Renting from a property management company

There are several good advantages to rent from a property management company that keeps to their end of the bargain.  The first and one of the biggest is that there will usually be a maintenance hotline.  This allows for easy reporting and quick responses, while your rental unit is maintained by professional A-list service providers.

Another advantage is that property management companies never get personal, for them it’s simply a business.  The rental industry is plagued with stories of tenants and landlords getting personal about simple mistakes caused often by weak lines of communication.  These scenarios become drastically less with property management companies.

Because property management companies tend to focus on larger buildings/complexes these property types also often comes with other added amenities, such as a communal pools or gyms.  As with these types of properties they also tend to have extra security.  Another advantages of this type of property management is that these companies often have several other property options available within the same area for a similar rental rate, making your search even easier.

The advantages of a property management rentals:

  • On Site maintenance, 24/7 Emergency maintenance
  • A staffed office you can call or visit.  Often easier to get in touch
  • The property type could come with extra amenities like common areas.

Finding that perfect property with the correct management system can be tricky.  Consider the pros and the cons of both, property management rental and individual landlord. Consider the type of person you are and the lifestyle you want to lead.  All of these will influence you decision in knowing what property management system will be best for you, a property management company or an individual landlord.

Written by Lizl Brink, Lizl is copywriter and designer based in Johannesburg, she is also a frequent contributor to the Mafadi blog, and as an Urban investor and rejuvenation shares a passion for urban regeneration, go check out her personal portfolio here
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