Accounting, Maintenance, Rent Payment, Tenant Management, Tenant Screening

Features of Property Management Software: What Do Landlords Want?

photo of code projected over woman

Rental property management encompasses a wide range of tasks, from advertising, tenant screening, and rent collection, to maintenance tracking, lease signing, and financial tracking and reporting. Savvy landlords and investors often use software and other tools to help accomplish these tasks. We have reviewed a variety of rental property management software products. While each has strengths and weaknesses, we wanted to find out what features of property management software landlords really want.

Update: We have collected new data since this was published. See our 2022 results here.

Top Features of Property Management Software

Earlier this year, we asked landlords to select the most important features of property management software. Here is what we learned:

Rent Collection is King

There are countless benefits of collecting rent online. Because of the various pitfalls of handling cash, as well as time and labor savings and eliminating late or missed rent payments, many landlords are turning to online rent payment services.

As a result, rent collection tops the list of features of property management software that landlords want. Over 60% of our landlords chose this as one of their most important features.

Our favorite software products for online rent payment are Avail, PayRent, and Rentec Direct.

internal link Also Read: The Best Online Rent Payment Service for Small Landlords

Bookkeeping and Accounting Tools

Next on our list of required features of property management software is financial tracking and reporting. Over 45% of our landlords selected this in their top requirements. This feature includes bookkeeping, accounting tools, expense tracking, and tax preparation.

The best property management software products can help landlords generate useful reports as well as with bookkeeping, accounting, and tax prep. Stessa and Landlord Studio are our top choices in this category.

internal link Also Read: Money Management 101: Best Finance Practices for Landlords

Tenant Screening Services

Rounding out the top 3 features landlords want out of their property management software is tenant screening. We cannot emphasize this enough: tenant screening can help minimize the risk of having bad tenants. Done right, you will save yourself from the potential loss of rental income, damage to your property, and costly evictions. 38% of our landlords think the same, though we feel it should be much higher than this!

Our top selections for the best tenant screening service for small landlords are RentPrep and ApplyConnect.

internal link Also Read: How To Screen Tenants in 7 Easy Steps

Lease Agreements and E-Signing

At Landlord Gurus, we recommend landlords have their tenants sign leases remotely. The benefits include cost, convenience, expediency, and strength of the agreement. Over one third of landlords that we surveyed agreed that leases and e-signing are one of the top features they need from their property management software.

Avail is our top choice for the best residential lease agreements. Their unique Local Assist feature includes the required disclosures and attachments necessary to comply with local city and state ordinances. Avail also makes it easy to create new leases from the tenant’s application and screening information.

Managing Maintenance Requests

Another valuable feature of property management software is the ability to manage maintenance on rental property. The best software allows you to create a calendar, where you can schedule routine events such as inspections and cleanings. We also love any product that makes it easier to field requests from tenants and coordinate the repair with the appropriate service provider. More than a quarter of landlords state that this is one of their top requirements in their property management software as well.

Buildium, Rentec Direct, and TenantCloud are our top choices for the best property management software in this category.

Advertising Rental Property

Finally, rounding out our list of top property management software features is advertising. Many landlords continue to list their vacant rentals on some of the more popular rental listing sites such as Zillow or Craigslist. However, we see more and more landlords searching for the best free ways to advertise property for rent, especially now that Zillow is charging $9.99 per unit per week.

What landlords often don’t realize is that there are alternatives to Zillow, and that property management software can help get your listing in front of your next potential tenant. We believe the best solutions for most landlords are Avail and RentRedi. Or if you have a larger portfolio, Buildium and TenantCloud are also great solutions.

internal link Also Read: Should You List a Rental on Zillow?


The best rental property management software products can help landlords efficiently and effectively manage their portfolios. There are a variety of choices out there. Finding the right one for you depends on what your top priorities are. Take a look at what features of property management software are most important to you, and then let us help you find your landlord software.

internal link Also Read: Cap Rate Calculator – Calculating Cap Rate

Can we suggest some handy rental management tools? Visit our software finder tool.

Disclosure: Some of the links in this post are affiliate links and Landlord Gurus may earn a commission. Our mission remains to provide valuable resources and information that helps landlords manage their rental properties efficiently and profitably. We link to these companies and their products because of their quality, not because of the commission.

Spread the love
Tagged , , , , , , , , , ,

About Chris Lee

Chris comes from a family of real estate investors, and remembers well his childhood of helping to clean and paint apartments between renters.

Chris now manages a mix of his own property and others for family, consisting of single family homes, multi-family complexes, and the occasional condo unit in and around Seattle. He also has particular insight into the issues around short-term rentals as he has managed those for himself and for other owners on AirBnb, VRBO, and other platforms.

Prior to Landlord Gurus, Chris worked in website development and digital marketing, assisting firms across a wide range of industries. He, along with his wife and two kids, also found themselves living and working overseas for several years.

Upon his return to the US, Chris often turned to Eli for property management advice and help with property maintenance. At this point, the two decided to start Landlord Gurus to help the countless others searching for answers to similar problems.

In his free time, Chris enjoys outdoor sports and activities including baseball, skiing, golf, hiking, and spending time with family and friends.

- BA, Economics - Whitman College
- MA, Pacific International Affairs - University of California, San Diego
- MPA, Public Accounting - Open University of Hong Kong

View all posts by Chris Lee →

Leave a Reply

Your email address will not be published. Required fields are marked *