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How to Manage a Property for Lease

Updated: January 2023

San Francisco is currently the third most expensive rental market in the country. When appropriately managed, rental property here can generate a highly lucrative income for investors. 

Managing a rental, however, has more than its share of challenges, especially for first-time landlords. Some outsource the job to a reliable San Francisco leasing agent or property manager. 


Electing to hire a management firm does involve incurring fees, however, so weigh the pros and cons carefully before going this route. As a landlord, your responsibilities will include the following: 

Handling Tenant Turnover

Property ownership can be an attractive business where investors can select and keep long-term tenants. Happy tenants are unlikely to turn over quickly, ensuring landlords a steady and reliable income.

Providing tenants with valuable services, such as being quick to respond to requests and complaints, helps ensure they stay. Making an effort to place other good tenants as neighbors is also an excellent way to encourage long-term residents.

A rigorous screening process can help weed out potentially tricky tenants. Look for desirable tenant characteristics like a good income, steady employment, high credit scores, and an excellent past rental history. Also, be sure to ask for references. 

Stay current on the city’s and the state’s landlord-tenant laws and, ensure that all legal terms are included in the lease contract, set contract start and end dates. Also, set due dates on rent, and be clear on grace periods and late fees. Unpaid rent can lead to eviction, one of the more gnarly things a property owner may have to deal with. 

Maintenance and Upkeep

Maintenance is one of the primary concerns that property owners need to deal with. Upkeep is essential as it can affect the living standards of tenants. 

Landlords are legally responsible for maintaining health and safety standards on their property, including where and how to dispose of tenants’ garbage. Common areas should always be in good repair. 

Pests and plumbing problems can become a nightmare if dealt with slowly, and tenants have the right to demand essentials like hot water and operating plumbing. Property owners and managers need immediate access to a range of tradespeople. Building solid relationships with tradespeople who can quickly and cost-effectively attend to problems can be invaluable.


Landlords need to maintain more than the physical property itself, they also need to keep updated financial records and electronic files for all their recordkeeping. They must invest in the appropriate technology and support systems to manage their financial obligations properly.

The property owner needs to understand the revenues generated and expenses incurred in running the rental property. It is often a good idea to hire an accountant specializing in investment property tax law to identify deductibles and reduce taxable income.

Need help with your San Francisco rental? We can help; get in touch with us today!