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Most top-performing online property management software is designed with property management companies in mind. As a DIY landlord, you’re probably looking for something smaller. A software that can help you automate how you manage your rental property without costing too much. We tested a bunch of rental property management software for landlords and came up with 5 that we’re certain you’ll enjoy.
How we chose property management software for landlords
Apps like Appfolio, which we at HomeVault also use, are meant for real estate investors or property managers who are tending to hundreds, if not thousands of rental properties. However, the list that we’ve prepared is for DIY landlords who don’t have a rental investment empire under their belt. You’ll find this blog post ideal if you own 20 properties or less.
We looked at software that didn’t cost much, weren’t difficult to set up or operate, and weren’t meant for huge teams. You’ll be able to use them by yourself without any headaches.
Here’s the software that we selected for you (click on the links to scroll below):
- Landlord Studio – For Beginner Landlords
- Hemlane – for Landlords who want to Market Their Properties
- Rentec Direct – for Landlords with Over 10 Properties
- TenantCloud – for Landlords who Want a Free Property Management Software
- Yardi Breeze – for Landlords with Large Portfolios & Multiple Property Types
We’ll go over the general features that each of these software brings to the table, and then we’ll cover the pros and cons and help you decide if the product is right for you. For ease of reference, we’ve also added the comparative table below so you can check the features of each software at a glance.
Landlord Studio – for Beginner Landlords
We handpicked Landlord Studio for landlords who have less than 3 units under their management. It’s clear, easy to work with, and gets the job done well.
|Cost||$5.99/month. Extra units cost $1 each (Up till 3 units).|
What Landlord Studio can do for you (basic plan)
- Income Tracking
- Financial Dashboard
- Tenant Screening
- Online Rent Collection
- Tenant Portal
- Email Reminders
- Smart Receipt Scan
- Secure Cloud Storage: 10 Documents
- Customizable Emails
Why this app is a winner
The first unit is free
The $5.99 a month fee includes your first property. You know what that means, right? For all landlords who’re managing a single rental property, this is the perfect app. Simply pay $5.99 a month and forget about all your worries.
No upfront fees
A lot of property management software have onboarding costs. Other software, usually meant for property managers, have an upfront cost which isn’t worth it for most landlords.
No minimum order
This is the reason why we picked this software, to begin with. As a landlord who doesn’t manage a thousand properties, it’s impossible to start off with software like Appfolio, which requires you to pay a minimum of $250 a month.
Automatic rent collection
We weren’t expecting this functionality for a beginner-level software like this, but it’s all the more welcome. Your tenants will be able to pay you online, and if they wish, you can charge them automatically – saving time for both.
Where Landlord Studio falls short
High-level reporting is lacking
While Landlord Studio does a good job with keeping you up to date with whatever’s going on with your rental investment, you might feel irked if you want high levels of detail. This is definitely where the platform could improve.
Limited documents on the basic plan
The limited number of notices that you can give to your tenants on the basic plan can also pose an issue, but that’s a tradeoff we’re happy with if you consider the low $5.99 payment a month. Most of us spend more on a single coffee!
Our verdict on Landlord Studio
For most landlords looking to save time and automate managing their rental investments, this may just be the perfect software. It has everything you could possibly want in a compact platform where it’s hard to get lost. The company takes feedback actively and is constantly improving their app, so any issues you might face with them could disappear within months of you mentioning them to Landlord Studio.
Hemlane – for Landlords who want to Market their Properties
Hemlane sets itself apart right from the get go since it allows users to market their properties. It’s a simple platform that’s easy to get around.
|Cost||$30 per month. Extra units cost $2 per month.|
|Mobile app||No. However, the software is mobile friendly.|
What Hemlane can offer you (basic plan)
- Marketing Syndication
- Online payment
- Income and expense tracking, online payments, automatic late fees.
- Online Maintenance
- Advertising to 30+ listing websites.
- Tenant Screening
- Applicant tracking, credit, criminal, and eviction report.
- Lease Tracking & Management
- Document storage, lease renewal reminders, tenant communication.
Where Hemlane is a winner
Option to pay monthly
The monthly payment is slightly greater than what you’d pay per year, but it’ll help you realize if this software is a good fit for you. That’s a huge plus in our eyes. You can use it for a month or two and then cancel when you feel like it.
No upfront costs
Like Landlord Studio, there aren’t any onboarding fees, so you’ll be able to register whenever you want and pay a monthly fee to get started. You don’t have to have a minimum amount of properties either.
You’ll get a full report on your tenants, which includes their credit and criminal history. It’s not as great as what you’d get by paying a third party for proper screening, but if you’re going with the DIY approach, Hemlane’s solution is good to have by your side.
Phone support for tenants
Not every property management software for landlords goes to the point of having inbuilt support for tenants. Tenants often get overlooked in this software, which is why we find it refreshing that
Efficient maintenance system
If you choose the $40 essential package, you’ll be a lot happier with Hemlane’s customer services because they offer 24/7 maintenance without you ever having to deal with any of it. However, their basic plan is also great as it allows you to track maintenance requests and assignments.
Late fees setup
You won’t have to contact your tenants and tell them how much late fees they owe because Hemlane will handle it for you. Late fees can often be a tricky subject, and having the process automated will certainly help out.
Automatic online payments
Like most property management software that we’ve chosen for you, Hemlane comes with fully automatic online payments to accommodate you and your tenants.
Where Hemlane falls short
It doesn’t cost nearly as much as the property management juggernaut software out there, but a minimum of $30 a month is a jump up from the first item on our list. On the flip side, Hemlane offers some unique features that Landlord Studio doesn’t, which some landlords might consider worth the extra dollars.
No mobile app
Not having an app really sets Hemlane behind. Yes, it’s platform is mobile friendly, but there’s a huge difference between working from a browser and an app on your phone. We’re hoping that Hemlane is working on a better mobile solution.
Our verdict on Hemlane
Hemlane is a balanced software that offers good value for the money it charges. What a lot of landlords will appreciate is that it has no caps on how many properties you’re managing. If you’d like to grow your rental empire, their fees won’t change because of it.
Rentec Direct – For Landlords with over 10 Properties
Rentec Direct is a robust property management software for all sorts of landlords. It doesn’t matter if you have 10 properties under your management or a thousand of them; this software will likely leave you satisfied.
|Cost||$35 per month|
|Free trial||Yes. 2 weeks free trial.|
What Rentec Direct can offer you
- Free Training & Support
- Property & Tenant Accounting
- Tenant Screening
- Online Payments
- Cash Payment Network
- Online Property Advertisement
- Tenant Email & SMS Notifications
- Property Management Website
- Automatic Reminders
- Customizable Income/Expense Reports
- Detailed Rental and Vacancy Reports
- Online File & Attachments Storage
Where Rentec Direct is a winner
No upfront fees
Rentec Direct doesn’t require any upfront fees for you to hop on and get started with your property management.
As part of the package, you’ll also receive your very own website from where you can promote your business. Keep in mind that you might need a professional web developer to adjust your website if you ever feel the need to, because doing it yourself might throw things off a bit.
If you use Quickbooks to keep track of your accounting, you’ll be glad to know that Rentec Direct offers complete support for it. You won’t have to migrate any data – you can continue to work on your favorite accounting software.
Something that not every property management software offers – free training on how to be a good landlord! Rentec Direct was created by a landlord with a software background, and it’s great the company is now training other landlords on how they can maximize their profits while keeping their tenants happy.
Automatic late fees
Late fees can get quite uncomfortable, which is why Rentec Direct’s automatic late fee deduction is a great feature. You won’t have to approach your tenants about the matter all!
Low cost per unit
As you continue to add more properties under your management while using this software, your management fees per property will be some of the lowest in the market.
Where Rentec Direct falls short
Minimum door limit
It’s not like Rentec Direct doesn’t allow less than 10 properties, but they have a minimum fee per month regardless of how many houses you’re managing. If you have less than 10 properties, we’d recommend that you stick with another software because you’re simply losing money here.
Screening costs money
While most property management software expect the tenants to pay for screening, Rentec Direct also requires you to pay $7 per screening report – and that’s just the basic version. A premium screening costs $15, which is quite a letdown and an expensive one at that.
Our verdict on Rentec Direct
Rentec Direct offers a multitude of features that we’d normally expect a far more expensive software to have. However, it is a tad bit expensive. It’s mostly ‘directed’ towards homeowners who’re really serious about making headway into the property management business and isn’t recommended for landlords who simply want to automate the management of a single property they own.
TenantCloud – for Landlords who want a Free Property Management Software
TenantCloud is one of the most popular property management software in the industry. That’s not surprising, considering that you’re getting property management software free of cost.
|Cost||Free up to 75 units.|
|Free trial||Yes. Unlimited free trial for up to 75 units.|
What TenantCloud can offer you
- Online payments
- Full accounting
- Maintenance requests & equipment tracking
- Rental agreements, notices & e-sign
- Lead generation
- On-demand printable reports
- Renters insurance tracking
- Automatic listing syndication
- Vacancies marketing
- Online rental applications & tenant screening
- Contacts management
Where TenantCloud is a winner
You won’t have to pay a dime to get access to this software. You’ll be able to communicate with your tenants and keep track of your property professionally, and that’s more than we could ask for from a free service.
The paid version is cheap
Automatic online payments for up to 150 units? That’s pretty much the best pricing we’ve seen throughout the market and it’s worth getting. Seeing that the free trial doesn’t have a time limit, you could easily work with the software until you feel sure that you want to step things up and move to the premium version – no pressure!
Just like Rentec Direct, TenantCloud offers you a free website where you can publicize your business and grow your client base.
Most free software have this old-school look and feel, but TenantCloud doesn’t fail to impress whatsoever. The interface is smooth and easy to understand.
Where TenantCloud falls short
The app isn’t as good as the browser software
It’s hard to pick on a software that’s available for free, but it could definitely improve its mobile app. You’ll have a much better experience with the browser version, and a lot of users prefer working with their mobile apps instead.
No phone support
If you have any issues with the software, you’ll have to go through a ticketing system, which might be frustrating for some users.
Tenant screening is expensive
Tenant screening will cost you $25 a pop, which is pretty high in comparison to competing software.
The paid version has limited templates
Even if you sign up for the $9 a month service, you’ll still be limited to 30 templates for communicating with your tenants. While 30 should be enough for most, if not all, of your basic needs, we’d be happier if TenantCloud didn’t put a cap on it for premium customers.
Our verdict on TenantCloud
TenantCloud is the perfect solution for landlords who want a barebones structure to lean on as they manage their rental property. You’ll be able to communicate with multiple tenants comfortably.
This software’s paid version is also quite worth the money as it comes with valuable features. The only downside is that additional services like tenant screening are quite expensive. If these services are a must, then we suggest sticking to other software on this list, like Landlord Studio.
Yardi Breeze – for Landlords with Large Portfolios & Multiple Property Types
Yardi Breeze is the last property management software on our list and is aimed at landlords who have a larger portfolio to manage.
|Cost||$1 per unit. Minimum $100 per month.|
|Free trial||Demo available|
What Yardi Breeze can offer you (basic residential plan)
- Easy setup
- Property accounting
- Vacancy & prospect tracking
- Online payments
- Owner payments & reports
- Live chat support
- Renters insurance
- Tenant screening
- Free website
- Online maintenance
- Email & text communications
- Walk-in payments with PayNearMe
- Vendor payments
Where Yardi Breeze is a winner
No upfront fees
One of the biggest differences between Yardi Breeze and other software for large portfolios is that it doesn’t have any expensive onboarding fees. You can simply start whenever you want at a fixed price.
Live chat support
It’s always great to have instant customer support at the ready, and Yardi Breeze is one of the few software on the market that offers live chat support.
Easy to use
The software is pretty simple and easy to use once you get a hang of it. The interface is intuitive and you’ll find it hard to get lost in it.
Smooth online payments
Yardi Breeze has a great online payments system that tenants will find highly agreeable.
Great maintenance system
Tenants will have the option to include photos and videos in their maintenance requests – a feature that’s missing from most property management software for landlords in today’s market. You’ll also be able to add supporting documentation to maintenance requests to make the process smoother.
Where Yardi Breeze falls short
Onboarding can be a struggle
The onboarding process is one of the few weaknesses that this software has. You might have a tough experience with it and it might even trouble you down the line.
Cannot link to third-party apps
If you’re using Quickbooks for accounting, Yardi Breeze probably isn’t for you. The same goes for Gmail, and any other third-party apps that you might be hoping to integrate with this property management software. On the other hand, Yardi does have a robust ecosystem for all your activities, so it’s not a total loss if you choose to convert to it.
Minimum of 100 doors
This might be a dealbreaker for most DIY landlords. Unless you’re willing to spend a minimum of $100 a month on this software, it’s likely not for you. We have other cheaper software on this list that might be more to your liking.
Our verdict on Yardi Breeze
Yardi Breeze presents itself as an all-encompassing software, but its features are inclined towards residential properties. That’s not an issue for us, since we chose software that benefits landlords who own residential properties anyway.
For landlords who own a large number of properties, this might be something worth looking into. You’ll have to convert to the Yardi ecosystem for that, though.
Property management software vs. hiring a property manager: which one suits you?
Let’s get one thing out of the way: having property management software is far better than not having anything at all.
If you feel like you’d rather not spend any extra money, then TenantCloud should be your go-to software. Without any software to back you up, you’ll be prone to making mistakes. Plus, your tenants will likely need reminders to pay their rent and a proper channel to apply for maintenance.
As a DIY landlord, you definitely need property management software. No questions asked.
The real question is … would you rather have property management software or a property manager for your property?
There’s an easy way to answer that question. How much time do you think you have to be a landlord? It takes time to handle tenants the right way. It also takes time and effort to ensure that your property is being taken care of and maintained the right way.
Tenants can ask for maintenance at any given time. It also takes a bit of legal know-how to navigate yourself as a DIY landlord.
Having a property management company taking care of all of that saves you from a lot of hassle. The tradeoff is that they’re usually going to cost more money.
It all boils down to whether you prefer saving on costs or having more time and peace of mind. However, we highly recommend that you get yourself property management software at the very least if you’re not considering hiring a property management company.
For DIY landlords, having property management software is non-negotiable in order to save time and money, and keep tenants happy as well.
There are plenty of options to choose from, depending on what your needs are. We’ve presented 5 top property management software for landlords, and one of them should be the best fit for you.
Our pick would be Landlord Studio since it doesn’t have a complicated pay structure. It’s geared towards landlords who are getting into management via software and doesn’t cost much either.
If you’re not willing to spend money at all, but simply want to test the waters, then you should definitely consider TenantCloud’s free version. You can even create multiple accounts for additional functionality to overcome the limitations that TenantCloud has on free accounts.