Renting house directly from owner?

My husband and I are expecting a baby and as we fill up our house with baby items we are quickly realizing we need more room than our current house has. So, we are looking at renting a house because we don’t think it would be a good idea to buy one just yet. We found a nice house nearby with a good rent, but we would be renting it directly from the owner rather than through a property management company. Has anyone ever dealt with this sort of thing before? Is it a good idea? What sort of things should I be on the lookout for? I’m nervous about it in case we are making a mistake!

looking for responses. we’re looking at the same choices, charlotte.

We have rented from owners, here are some pros and cons to think about:

Rent is usually less
More personable
Owner is typically on top of things
If you ever come upon the situation where you need to move before then end of the lease, we have found that owners are easier to work with.

Owner typically is overly concerned about property (our current landlord has stopped by 2x in the past week unannounced, you can just tell he is worried about everything).
Owners can decide at any time to sell the house, while you are living there and in the middle of your contract. (this doesn’t mean that you will get kicked out before the end of your lease, most of the time they will put a clause in their sale contract that you get to finish your lease. Although, you do have to deal with open houses and possibly a new owner, this happened to us once)

This is all I can come up with right now, I know there i more, I just have a headache and can’t think right now. I will come back with more later.
I will tell you, I would rather rent from an owner than a property management company.


Congratulations on your little one!

I don’t see any unusual problems with renting from an owner. (We own a property that we have had on the market, but have been renting out ourselves, as nothing is selling now.) Our daughter and her husband also rented from an individual, prior to buying their home.

The key - as to any agreement - is to get everything in writing. Be clear about the terms; what is the term of the lease - a year, six months, month to month? How much notice must be given? Are pets allowed? What is the security deposit, and what would cause the owner to retain it? Who is responsible for any minor repairs - you or the owner? In what instances will the owner be able to enter the home? How many people can occupy the home? What about long-term visitors?

Be sure to do a walk-through and make sure that everything is in good working order and point out anything that is damaged, to get it on record that the damage was not caused by you. It’s also a good idea to familiarize yourself with any state laws governing rental situations. If you can, try to talk to previous tenants.

I’m sure there are other considerations, but this is what comes to mind from our experiences.

It’s been a couple of decades since I was a renter, but on several occasions I rented houses or apartments directly from owners. The only complaint I might have was that it took longer to get things fixed, snow shoveled, etc. than in a house owned by a management company, because the landlord did all of the work himself rather than having a crew available. My only recommendation is that you get a lease, so that both you and the landlord have a written record of how much you pay and what that covers (and doesn’t cover) and what the rules are re: decorations/maintenance/pets/etc. And whether you are renting from an owner or a management company, it’s a good idea to check out the neighborhood on a weekend, when the neighbors are around, to see how people live. If you see creepy-looking people hanging around, lots of cars coming and going (sign of a drug dealer), or hear loud stereos, out-of-control children, etc., you might want to keep looking. A friend of mine wound up stuck in a rental house with problem neighbors, and there wasn’t anything he could do except put up with it or call the police because the landlord had no authority over them – he wasn’t their landlord.

Good luck and God bless!

I prefer to rent through an agency.

I have rented from the owner directly, and I’m on my 3rd year, in a house “managed” by the neice of the owner.

The first situation was hard to deal with. We had our heat shut off during Christmas (not our power, but the heater broke)… and we dealt with their Sob story of not wanting to pay $$ over a holiday. We did not have children or old people in the house, so we Froze our butts off over the weekend. At the end of our lease, they decided they wanted to sell the house, and asked us to move within 1 month. Fortunately, we lived in a reasonable market at the time, and were able to move. In fact, I got them to reimburse me extra because I was able to make arrangements within a week. So they were amicable.

But they were kind of “weird”…

My current situation is decent. Although the owner has decided to store some stuff on property. Which drives me insane. But I THINK my willingness to deal with that has kept our rent steady…

Just make sure you get all the LEGAL forms done. KNOW your rights… and Good luck!

We currently live in a house rented from the owners. As others have said, get everything in writing. Ask questions, establish boundaries, and don’t be afraid to negotiate a little.

Do get it in your lease that you must have 24-48 hours notice before a visit, so the landlord can’t just show up willy-nilly.

We have this in our lease, he has still showed up twice :confused: in the past week. Honestly, we don’t want to move and don’t want to rock the boat. If he continues we won’t renew the lease (well we probably won’t anyway). Anyway, guess the point is that yes you can have it in the lease, although unless you want to move there is not much you can do about it. :shrug:

I’ve owned, rented, been a owner who rents their property out and I’ve rented through a management company.
I prefer owners, the rent is almost always more reasonable.
Like everyone has said, get everything in writing…no matter if you rent from an owner or a management company.
Find out what state laws are for renters. In some states, they can only schedule a walk through at reasonable intervals, (once a year in most places, some it’s every 6 months). A landlord can stop by, but you are under no obligation to invite them into the house, chat with them on the front porch or front lawn. :slight_smile:
When my husband was alive, we were able to get rent reductions when he repaired things, thus the landlord didn’t have to do anything but buy the supplies and bring them by.
The biggest pro about a management company is that they usually know the state, county and city rental laws and won’t usually violate them.
When folks rented our house, we were lucky, they ended up buying it on a land contract and for that we hired a lawyer to make sure we all had our ducks in a row and to do our closing.
Good luck!

My dad and mom managed their own rental properties until my mom died. Then my dad hired a manager (not a company, just a manager to take the phone calls and collect the rents).

My parents were always good, kind managers of their rental properties. My dad is still a good person to rent from; he will make arrangements with renters who are down on their luck so that they can pay later, or pay a lesser rent as long as they mow the lawn, paint, etc. This would be excellent for a young couple. Needless to say, my dad’s reputation for reasonableness has gotten around and people recommend his properties to those who are having financial woes or are going through hard times.

My dad is very slow to get around to repairs because he has a lot of properties all over the state and can’t be everywhere at once, so he usually tells the renters with repair needs to just call a professional (he will give them some names and companies) and have them send the bill to him. It can be frustrating for the renters, as they want their sink or toilet repaired right away (I don’t blame them).

DISCLAIMER: The views and opinions expressed in these forums do not necessarily reflect those of Catholic Answers. For official apologetics resources please visit