Is Being a Landlord a Full-Time Gig?

Is Being a Landlord a Full-Time Gig?

The prospect of buying and managing a rental property is a compelling one. If you can secure a reliable tenant, you can make money month after month – with few responsibilities on your part. In the right neighborhood, and with a bit of work, you can make a significant annual profit and benefit from property appreciation simultaneously.

The question is, how much work is it, truly, to be a landlord? Is this a part-time or full-time gig?

The Short Answer

We’ll give you the short answer upfront and expand upon it in more detail in subsequent sections. If your property portfolio is small enough, being a landlord is certainly a part-time effort. In fact, many people manage a rental property while also working a full-time job (and juggling other personal responsibilities).

As your property portfolio grows, so will the total volume of your responsibilities and time commitments. According to Los Angeles Property Management Group, you can eventually transition from being a part-time landlord to being a full-time one.

Responsibilities of a Landlord

What are the responsibilities that occupy your time as a landlord?

  • Securing new properties. Before you can begin renting properties to tenants, you need to purchase them. And before you purchase them, you need to do your due diligence. If you’re a discerning real estate investor, finding the perfect property to add to your portfolio could take weeks or months of consistent effort. However, if you’re currently satisfied with your portfolio, this task is largely unnecessary.
  • Complying with the law. There are many laws that you’ll need to comply with as a landlord, and these laws vary depending on where you live. Understanding the laws and making necessary efforts to obey them can take a chunk of your time even if you have the help of a lawyer.
  • Marketing the property. Your property can’t make money if it’s vacant. That’s why you need to spend time marketing and advertising your open units. While some of these tasks can be automated, you can still count on spending hours of work on them.
  • Screening tenants. Landlords should also screen their tenants, reviewing their credit score, work history, and other factors to ensure they’ll be able to pay rent on time consistently. Pulling and reviewing credit reports doesn’t take much time individually, but collectively, it can be burdensome.
  • Onboarding new tenants. Once you choose a new tenant for your property, you’ll need to spend time onboarding them and preparing them for the move-in.
  • Making repairs. It’s your job as a landlord to make sure the property is habitable, so you’ll need to make repairs whenever necessary. Occasionally, your tenants will also make emergency requests. Some repairs are convenient and only take a few minutes, while others could take hours of coordination with others.
  • Conducting maintenance. You’ll also need to conduct regular maintenance on your property to keep it in the best possible condition. Most maintenance tasks don’t take long, but they can add up with more properties to manage.
  • Collecting rent. Most months, with good tenants, rent collection happens automatically. But occasionally, you’ll need to follow up.
  • Resolving conflicts. If and when conflicts arise between tenants or between your tenants and their neighbors, you may be required to step in. You’ll also need to handle any direct conflicts you have with your tenants as quickly and peacefully as possible.
  • Handling taxes. Don’t neglect the tax implications of property management. You’ll need to dedicate time every year to tax planning and preparation.
  • Managing evictions. In ideal conditions, evictions are very rare. But when they do happen, they tend to require an excessive amount of your time. Depending on the complexity of the case, it could take weeks or months to finalize the eviction and get your tenant to leave.

How Many Properties Does a Full-Time Landlord Manage?  

With one single family property, your responsibilities will be minimal, allowing you to pursue other priorities with little to no interference. With a few dozen multifamily properties, you’ll have your hands consistently full – even if you hire help.

So where does the transition happen? How many properties require a full-time effort?

That depends on several factors, including the nature and location of those properties, the amount of help you have, and your approach to property management. But most people begin to feel the pressure to transition to full-time after adding just a few properties to their portfolios.

The Alternatives

It’s worth noting that as your property portfolio scales up, increasing the time you spend isn’t your only option.


  • Working with a property management company. A property management company can handle almost all your responsibilities for you. They’ll take care of marketing the property, screening tenants, collecting rent, managing evictions, and everything in between – all in exchange for a small percentage of your gross monthly rent (in most cases). With this help, you won’t have to spend much personal time managing your properties, no matter how big your portfolio grows.
  • Building a team. If you want to remain in control, you could also build a team to function as your property management arm of operations. You can hire part-time or full-time maintenance people, property marketers, and general managers. With a big enough team, and ample training, you can keep your personal tasks to a minimum.
  • Investing in REITs. A real estate investment trust (REIT) is an investment that gives you exposure to the real estate market without necessitating a property purchase. There are pros and cons to this move, but if your biggest goal is investing in real estate without escalating your time demands, REITs are worth considering.

If you’re just getting started with property management, being a landlord is probably a mere part-time responsibility. If you only have one or two units, and those units are in good shape, you might go months without spending more than an hour a week on your responsibilities.

But as you build your portfolio, your responsibilities and time requirements will increase – and you’ll need to replan to accommodate a full-time schedule or find alternative arrangements.