Can a Property Manager Be a Landlord

A property manager and a landlord are two distinct roles in the real estate industry, they can be the same person in some cases. A landlord is the owner of a rental property and is responsible for finding tenants, collecting rent, and maintaining the property. A property manager is hired by the landlord to oversee the day-to-day operations of the rental property. They typically handle tasks such as advertising the property, screening tenants, collecting rent, handling maintenance requests, and evicting tenants when necessary. Property managers may also be responsible for managing the finances of the property, such as paying taxes and insurance.

Property Managers vs. Landlords: Distinguishing Roles in Property Ownership

In the realm of real estate, property managers and landlords play distinct roles in managing and overseeing rental properties. While both are involved in the rental process, their responsibilities, legal obligations, and relationships with tenants differ significantly.

Understanding the Distinction

  • Property Manager:
    • Acts as an intermediary between the landlord and the tenant.
    • Hired by the landlord to handle the day-to-day operations of the property.
    • Typically holds a real estate license and has specialized knowledge in property management.
  • Landlord:
    • Owns the rental property and is ultimately responsible for its upkeep and maintenance.
    • Sets the rental rates, terms of the lease, and oversees the financial aspects of the property.
    • Has a direct contractual relationship with the tenant.

Responsibilities and Duties

The specific responsibilities of property managers and landlords vary depending on the terms of their agreement. However, some common duties include:

Property Managers:

  • Tenant screening and selection
  • Rent collection and deposit management
  • Property maintenance and repairs
  • Dealing with tenant complaints and requests
  • Enforcing lease agreements and handling evictions
  • Marketing and advertising vacant units
  • Preparing financial statements and reports for the landlord


  • Setting rental rates and terms of the lease
  • Approving or rejecting applications for tenancy
  • Ensuring compliance with local housing codes and regulations
  • Paying property taxes, insurance, and other expenses related to the property
  • Handling legal matters related to the property, such as evictions or lease disputes

Relationship with Tenants

Property managers typically have direct contact with tenants and are responsible for addressing their concerns and requests. They act as the primary point of contact for tenants, handling issues such as maintenance requests, rent payments, and lease violations.

Landlords, on the other hand, may have limited interaction with tenants. They are primarily responsible for overseeing the financial and legal aspects of the property and making major decisions regarding its management.

Legal Implications

Property managers and landlords have different legal obligations and liabilities. Property managers are required to act in the best interest of the landlord and are held to a fiduciary duty. They must comply with all applicable laws and regulations related to property management and tenant rights.

Landlords are responsible for ensuring that their properties meet all safety and habitability standards and that they comply with all applicable laws and regulations.

Comparison of Property Managers and Landlords
CharacteristicProperty ManagerLandlord
RoleIntermediary between landlord and tenantOwner of the rental property
ResponsibilitiesDay-to-day operations of the propertyFinancial and legal aspects of the property
Relationship with TenantsDirect contact, primary point of contactLimited interaction, oversees financial and legal matters
Legal ImplicationsFiduciary duty, must comply with property management lawsResponsible for safety and habitability, must comply with applicable laws


Property managers and landlords play distinct roles in the rental property market. Property managers are responsible for the day-to-day operations of the property, while landlords oversee the financial and legal aspects. Both have different responsibilities, legal obligations, and relationships with tenants. Understanding the distinction between these two roles is essential for landlords, property managers, and tenants alike to ensure a smooth and successful rental experience.

Responsibilities of Property Managers and Landlords

Both landlords and property managers have distinct roles and responsibilities in managing rental properties, even though they may overlap in some areas.

Property Manager

  • Tenant Screening: Evaluating potential tenants’ applications, conducting background and credit checks, and selecting suitable candidates.
  • Rent Collection: Collecting rent payments, issuing receipts, and enforcing rent-related policies.
  • Property Maintenance: Scheduling and overseeing repairs, maintenance, and routine inspections to ensure the property is in good condition.
  • Tenant Relations: Handling tenant inquiries and complaints, addressing any issues or concerns in a timely and professional manner.
  • Financial Management: Paying bills, maintaining financial records, providing financial statements to property owners.


  • Property Ownership: Owning and holding legal title to the property, assuming financial and legal responsibilities associated with ownership.
  • Property Management: Hiring a property manager to handle day-to-day management tasks, or managing the property themselves.
  • Compliance with Laws and Regulations: Ensuring the property complies with local housing codes, zoning regulations, and landlord-tenant laws.
  • Investment Decisions: Making long-term decisions regarding property improvements, renovations, and potential sale.
  • Leasing and Rent: Setting rental rates, negotiating lease terms, and renewing or terminating leases as needed.
Property ManagerLandlord
Tenant ScreeningProperty Ownership
Rent CollectionProperty Management
Property MaintenanceCompliance with Laws and Regulations
Tenant RelationsInvestment Decisions
Financial ManagementLeasing and Rent

Defining Property Manager and Landlord Roles

Property managers and landlords play distinct roles in real estate. Understanding their relationship is crucial for smooth property operations and tenant satisfaction.

Property Manager Responsibilities:

  • Manage day-to-day property operations
  • Tenant screening and leasing
  • Rent collection and financial reporting
  • Property maintenance and repairs
  • Tenant relations and communication
  • Compliance with legal and regulatory requirements

Landlord Responsibilities:

  • Own and provide the property for rental
  • Set rental rates and lease terms
  • Oversee property management
  • Make major property decisions
  • Handle legal and financial matters

Differences Between Property Managers and Landlords:

Property ManagerLandlord
Employed by the landlordProperty owner
Responsible for daily operationsResponsible for overall property ownership
Limited decision-making authorityFull decision-making authority

Can a Property Manager Also Be a Landlord?

In some cases, a property manager can also be the landlord. This is known as a self-managed property. In such scenarios, the property manager assumes all responsibilities of both roles.

Advantages of Being a Landlord-Property Manager:

  • Full control over property operations
  • Potential cost savings by eliminating management fees
  • Easier decision-making and streamlining of processes

Disadvantages of Being a Landlord-Property Manager:

  • Increased workload and time commitment
  • Need for expertise in both property management and legal matters
  • Potential for conflicts of interest
  • Challenges in maintaining objectivity in tenant relations


The decision to be a landlord-property manager is highly personal. Property owners must carefully consider their skills, time availability, and risk tolerance before taking on both roles.

Legal and Ethical Considerations for Property Managers and Landlords

Property managers and landlords share similar responsibilities in managing rental properties. Both are responsible for maintaining the property, collecting rent, and handling tenant issues. However, there are some key legal and ethical considerations that distinguish the two roles.

Property Manager Responsibilities

  • Manage day-to-day operations of the property.
  • Collect rent and maintain financial records.
  • Respond to tenant requests and complaints.
  • Enforce the lease agreement.
  • Coordinate maintenance and repairs.

Landlord Responsibilities

  • Own and maintain the property.
  • Hire and manage property managers (if applicable).
  • Set rental rates and collect rent.
  • Enforce the lease agreement.
  • Handle tenant issues.
  • Maintain insurance and perform repairs.

Legal Considerations

Both property managers and landlords must comply with federal, state, and local laws. These laws cover various aspects of landlord-tenant relationships, including:

  • Rent control.
  • Security deposits.
  • Evictions.
  • Discrimination.
  • Fair housing.

Property managers and landlords must also adhere to the terms of the lease agreement. This agreement outlines the rights and responsibilities of both parties.

Ethical Considerations

In addition to legal requirements, property managers and landlords also have ethical obligations to their tenants. These obligations include:

  • Providing safe and habitable living conditions.
  • Responding to tenant requests and complaints promptly.
  • Treating tenants fairly and respectfully.
  • Complying with all applicable laws and regulations.

Table: Comparison of Property Manager and Landlord Roles

ResponsibilityProperty ManagerLandlord
Day-to-day operationsYesNo
Collect rentYesYes
Maintain financial recordsYesNo
Respond to tenant requestsYesYes
Enforce lease agreementYesYes
Coordinate maintenanceYesNo
Own and maintain propertyNoYes
Hire and manage property managersNoYes
Set rental ratesNoYes
Maintain insuranceNoYes

I appreciate you taking the time to read my article on whether a property manager can also be a landlord. I hope you found the information helpful and informative. If you have any further questions or would like to learn more about this topic, feel free to leave a comment below or send me an email directly. Thanks again for reading, and I hope you’ll visit my blog again soon for more insightful content related to real estate and property management.