What is Rental Property Management Software?

Mary McMahon
Mary McMahon

Rental property management software is software which is designed to facilitate the management of rental properties. Even one rental property can be a challenge to manage, and for people handling multiple units, especially commercial real estate, it can get complicated to keep track of tenants, expenses, tax issues, and so forth. A number of companies manufacture software which can be used to manage rental properties, including free programs which can be surprisingly powerful, and it's also possible to purchase software which integrates other types of finance products, such as personal finance software.

Rental property management software helps organize documents including lease agreements.
Rental property management software helps organize documents including lease agreements.

At a minimum, rental property management software effectively creates an electronic ledger which can be used to track incoming rents and property-related expenses such as mortgage payments, property taxes, property insurance, payment for cleaning crew, and repairs. The database is usually designed to be easily searchable so that landlords can identify late rents, and keep track of overall expenses such as repairs; this can be useful at tax time as a landlord calculates deductions or provides information to an accountant, and it can be handy for tracking when routine maintenance was last performed, and whether or not particular tenants seem to be linked with more expenses for repairs and services.

Rental property management software can help landlords keep track of rental property data.
Rental property management software can help landlords keep track of rental property data.

People can also use rental property management software to create a tenant database, which includes information about tenants which may be useful, such as emergency contact information, a complete listing of everyone approved to live in a particular residence, identifying information about pets, improvements made to the property by the tenants, photographs of the property before move-in which can be used during a move-out inspection, and so forth. The database can also include information about lease agreements, deposits collected from tenants, and so forth, making it easy for landlords to keep track of important data. This information can be useful for landlords and it can be incredibly valuable in an emergency situation such as a building collapse, earthquake, or civil emergency, in which the database could help emergency services.

Rental property management software can be used to create a tenant database.
Rental property management software can be used to create a tenant database.

Rental property management software can also be used to keep track of routine maintenance needs. It can issue prompts and reminders when maintenance is due, and landlords can use it to keep notes about service providers so that they know who to call when an emergency comes up. The software can also track employees such as building supervisors, cleaning crews, and so forth. If landlords have agreed to obligations related to commercial properties, such as cleaning lobbies, the software can make sure that these obligations are fulfilled so that the landlord can be confident that his or her end of the deal is being held up.

Organization can help landlords manage properties more effectively and efficiently, and it often improves the quality of service for tenants as well. Many rental property management software products are designed to be highly flexible to meet the needs of a variety of landlords and situations, from landlords who accept work-trade for rent to companies trying to manage a building with thousands of units, including mixed commercial and residential properties.

Rental property management software can be used to create a tenant database.
Rental property management software can be used to create a tenant database.
Mary McMahon
Mary McMahon

Ever since she began contributing to the site several years ago, Mary has embraced the exciting challenge of being a wiseGEEK researcher and writer. Mary has a liberal arts degree from Goddard College and spends her free time reading, cooking, and exploring the great outdoors.

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