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Landlord vs Property Manager: What’s the Difference and Why Should You Care?

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Sometimes, the terms “property manager” and “landlord” are used interchangeably. After all, both are responsible for the management of apartments, offices, and homes.

Before becoming a landlord, you first need to acquire a rental property.

Investing in commercial and residential property is an attractive strategy as a retirement plan for full-time employees. As a real estate investor, you can choose how hands-on you want to manage your investment property or properties. You can manage your rentals yourself as the landlord or outsource them to a property manager.

Can you be a landlord without the daily management of your rental properties? Yes. You’re still the landlord; however, when you engage a property manager, you’re not responsible for managing the tenants or property inspections.

Please keep reading to learn more about landlord vs property manager and the role they each have.


You may wonder why you need a property manager over a landlord or vice versa. If this is the case, it all starts with the responsibilities of each party.

Landlords own the real estate, apartment building, or house. Their job is to provide a habitable rental property, including maintaining the water, heat, gas, and plumbing systems.

Landlords also take care of the building’s function to ensure tenants can live comfortably and safely.

On the other hand, property managers are third-party services that provide management services. They manage all types of properties.

Property managers also determine, collect, and adjust rent amounts. A property manager is much more involved with tenants than landlords. They will also find, screen, and handle tenant issues and be on the front line regarding repairs and maintenance for properties.


If a property manager manages your rental property, it is common to incur late fees and other related costs. On the other hand, you may have a good relationship with your landlord.

In this case, you can let them know that rent may be late, and they will likely waive the fee that the property management company would assess.


A property manager represents a landlord, which means they are more focused on the business aspect of things when dealing with tenants.

Since tenants interact with landlords more informally, the relationship usually becomes more personal as time passes. This includes allowing pets when they said no pets initially or the willingness to negotiate the clauses in your lease.


Some similarities exist between property managers and landlords. However, one of the biggest differences relates to property ownership.

A landlord, also known as a real estate or property investor, owns the property in question. The property manager is hired by the property owner (landlord) to manage and supervise the properties on the landlord’s behalf – for a fee.

The manager is paid for their services by the landlord. This is either a flat fee or a percentage of the total rent collected.

Landlords are not paid a fee for managing their won properties. However, if they set up a property management business as a separate legal entity, then they can earn a wage from the rents.

Most landlords prefer to focus on their careers and outsource property management.

Understanding the Difference in Landlord vs Property Manager

When you invest in real estate, it pays to know beforehand what ongoing tasks will be required in managing tenants and rental properties.

Knowing how your role as a landlord changes when you outsource property management is vital.  Property managers also need to provide landlords with their expectations, so both roles are clearly known and the boundaries known.

Understanding which role you’d prefer as a landlord, i.e. hands-on or hands-off management, will also ensure the tenants are confident they know who to contact.

Are you searching for more helpful information and resources? If so, take time to read the other blogs published on our site.

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