Costs That Landlords Don’t Notice They’re Accruing

Being a landlord can be a rewarding investment, offering a steady stream of income and potential for long-term financial growth. 

However, amidst the excitement of owning rental property, many landlords overlook hidden costs that can significantly impact their bottom line. In this blog post, we’ll discuss the expenses landlords often don’t notice they’re accruing, shed light on these financial pitfalls, and offer tips on mitigating them.

Unseen Costs to Watch Out for as a Landlord


One of the most significant hidden costs for landlords comes in the form of maintenance and repair expenses. You might budget for the occasional plumbing fix or a fresh coat of paint, but it’s easy to forget about the inevitable stress your property will experience over time. If you’re not careful, things like carpet replacements, HVAC, roof, and landscaping costs can add up quickly. 

These seemingly minor expenses can accumulate during tenancies, impacting your bottom line. It’s essential to budget for these unseen maintenance costs and, even better, regularly inspect your property to address any potential issues before they end up costing you more.

Tenant Turnover

Another major cost factor that often goes unnoticed is tenant turnover. Every time a tenant leaves, you’re faced with a vacant property. This doesn’t only mean lost rental income, but also additional costs related to advertising, screening new tenants, and potentially renovating the property to make it rent-ready again. 

To avoid all of that extra stress, reducing turnover and keeping tenants happy should be a top priority. Consider investing in tenant retention strategies, such as regular property upgrades and prompt responses to maintenance requests or noise complaints.

A selection of paint swatches, countertop samples, and floor plans overlapping each other on a table.

Insurance and Tax Surprises

Insurance premiums and property taxes are two other areas where hidden costs often lurk. While these are usually factored into the initial budget, they can increase unexpectedly due to local laws or property assessment changes. 

It’s essential to regularly review your insurance policy to ensure you’re adequately covered without overpaying. Similarly, staying aware of property tax laws and assessment changes can help you budget more accurately and avoid surprises.


Many landlords manage their properties themselves to save on property management fees. However, this decision can often lead to hidden costs. 

For instance, consider the value of your time. How much time do you spend dealing with tenant issues, maintenance requests, rent collection, and other property-related tasks? It may be worth it to hand some of that work off to someone that you trust.

A professional property management company often has access to discounted rates from contractors. A property manager can also ensure that your property complies with local laws and regulations, saving you potential legal costs. 

So, while there’s an upfront cost to hiring a property management company, it can save you money and time in the long run.

Legal Non-Compliance

Non-compliance with local laws and regulations can lead to hefty fines and legal fees. Landlords must stay up-to-date with housing laws, zoning regulations, and health and safety standards to avoid these costs. This includes everything from properly maintaining the space to following the correct procedures for eviction. 

A man in a high-visibility vest and a hard hat doing a home inspection

You’ll be expected to be very legally educated as a landlord, so investing time and resources into learning about these matters can save you a lot in potential legal costs, with the bonus of instilling trust in your tenants.


One of the often-overlooked costs associated with being a landlord comes from financing. If you’ve taken out a mortgage to purchase your rental property, you must account for the interest payments and any possible loan fees. 

While this might seem obvious to some, many landlords neglect to consider how these costs can affect their overall profitability. It’s crucial to factor in these costs when calculating your return on investment.

Emergency Fund

As a landlord, there are always opportunities for unexpected expenses to arise. This is why every landlord should have an emergency fund. 

This fund should be in place to relieve financial stress when unexpected costs occur, such as major repairs or prolonged vacancies. It should be separate from your savings and should be enough to cover at least three to six months’ worth of property expenses. 


If you include utilities in your rental price, factor these into your expenses. The cost of utilities can fluctuate, especially in extreme weather conditions when heating or cooling costs can skyrocket. 

A thermostat on the wall set to 63F.

If you’re not careful, this can eat into your rental income. Consider implementing energy-saving measures in your properties, such as energy-efficient appliances or insulation, to help keep these costs down.

Legal Fees

It’s essential to have legal support when you’re a landlord. You may need a lawyer to help with tenant evictions or to ensure that your lease agreements are legally sound. While you might not need a lawyer all of the time, budgeting for legal fees won’t hurt.

How to Mitigate Unexpected Costs

So, how can you, as a landlord, mitigate these hidden costs? Here are a few tips.

Regular Inspections

 Regularly inspecting your property can help identify potential issues before they become significant problems, saving you money in the long run. This includes regular pest inspections, checking for water damage, and ensuring all electrical and plumbing systems are in good working order.

Effective Tenant Screening

Every landlord wants a responsible, trustworthy tenant. Proper tenant screening can help reduce tenant turnover and potential property damage. This includes conducting background checks, checking references, and meeting potential tenants to assess their suitability.

Stay Informed

Lastly, it’s important to stay informed about local laws and regulations, like the Fair Housing Act, to avoid fines for non-compliance. It’s as simple as checking the websites of local housing authorities and joining landlord associations for updates and advice. 

Property Management

While a cost is involved, a good property management company can save you money in the long run by handling maintenance and tenant issues while ensuring compliance with local laws. They can also provide valuable advice and support, reducing the stress and time commitment of managing a rental property.

A miniature house next to a real house key.

Final Thoughts

When it comes to being a successful landlord, it’s important to remember that it’s not just about collecting rent payments. Effective property management and finding ways to reduce costs are essential to long-term profitability. 

TrueNest Property Management is a trusted and professional provider of comprehensive property management services that prioritize customer satisfaction. 

If you’re a property owner looking for expert and reliable hands-on help, contact TrueNest to ease the burden of property management.