Accounting, Property Management, Rent Payment, Tenant Management, Tenant Screening

The Best Free Property Management Software for Small Landlords

Update: This post has been updated with new pricing and winners based on changes or upgrades to some of the products and services. We have also included new products that have come to our attention since the last update. Read on to see our winners for the best free property management software for small landlords for 2022:

Most of us utilize new technology in many aspects of our daily lives. From streaming Netflix to using video doorbells and other smart home devices, it is all around us. We have upgraded our mobile phones to the latest iPhone and Android devices. And we are also increasingly comfortable using voice activated assistants like Alexa and Siri. However, when it comes to our own businesses, landlords are light years behind the times in adopting any of the useful, sometimes free, property management software. Many of us are still collecting paper applications and running rent checks to the bank every month. Instead, we could use that time to focus on other parts of our business, grow our portfolios, and spend more time with our families. In this article, we present our list of the best free property management software for small landlords in 2022.

What is the Best Free Property Management Software?

In this analysis, we compare overall costs incurred by both landlords and tenants to determine our winners for the best free property management software. While some products do offer free options, there may be additional fees or charges that you or your tenants must pay for some important services. We have compiled and compared all these costs and have found winners (ie, lowest costs) for each of our portfolio sizes and categories:

SERVICE DESCRIPTION MORE
BEST FREE SOFTWARE
Avail free property management software logo
Avail
  • Advertise your property, find and screen tenants, sign leases, collect rent, and e-sign custom local leases, with tools built specifically for DIY landlords.
  • Complete Solution
Read ReviewSign Up Here
LOWEST SUBSCRIPTION
RentRedi property management software logo
RentRedi
  • RentRedi is an all-inclusive landlord-tenant app. Manage vacancies, screening, and rent collection from wherever you are, on any device.
  • Strength: Complete Solution
Read ReviewSign Up Here
TENANT SCREENING
Rentec Direct property management software logo
Rentec Direct
  • Designed to address the needs of DIY landlords as well as property management companies, Rentec Direct includes all the tools necessary to manage and rent your properties.
  • Strength: Complete Solution
Read ReviewSign Up Here
REPORTING
Stessa property management software logo
Stessa
  • Smart money management tool that helps rental property owners and investors optimize their portfolios for performance. Includes free rental property accounting software. Landlords can integrate property information and financial accounts into the software and access a variety of landlord accounting metrics and reports.
  • Strength: Reporting and Accounting
Read ReviewSign Up Here
BEST HYBRID
Hemlane logo
Hemlane
  • Hemlane is a next-gen property management tool that helps property owners manage their rentals. More than simply property management software, Hemlane is a platform that bridges the gap between DIY and full service property management.
  • Strength: Hybrid Property Management
Read ReviewSign Up Here

Winner: Best Free Property Management Software

Many property management software products charge monthly or annual subscription fees to access some of their premium their property management features such as rent collection. However, for truly free property management software, Avail, TenantCloud, and SparkRental all offer zero cost subscription packages. Additionally, these packages allow landlords access to their full online property management features such as online rent payment, tenant screening, advertising, reporting, and more – even without a paid subscription.

What’s the Catch?

While these services are available to landlords without a monthly subscription fee, there are other charges for some features. For example, all of them charge fees for tenant screening services. You could get away with not running background checks and credit reports, but we do not recommend you skip this step. However, these services do allow you to choose to have the applicant pay these fees directly.

Additionally, SparkRental charges landlords $19.95 to use and customize state-specific leases, while they are included at no extra cost in Avail’s free plan.

And with TenantCloud Free, there is no ACH or EFT rent collection option. Tenants can only pay using a credit card through Stripe. While the use of credit card payments online is very common and convenient, the fee of 2.9% + $0.30 per transaction makes it an expensive solution. Additionally, we have found that withdrawing funds from Stripe to a bank account is somewhat slow and cumbersome.

While Avail does charge $2.50 per ACH rent payment, those costs can be passed on to the tenant. Because of all this, independent landlords using Avail’s free Unlimited plan can have access to most of the same property management software tools that others charge for at no out-of-pocket costs to themselves. Therefore, our award for Best Free Property Management Software goes to Avail.

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

  • Advertise your property, find and screen tenants, sign leases, collect rent, and e-sign custom local leases, with tools built specifically for DIY landlords.
  • Strength: Complete Solution

Winner: Property Management Software – Lowest Subscription Fees

Other than the $0 subscription products mentioned above, there are a lot of property management software products that charge a monthly subscription fee. For example, Avail also offers a $5/month per unit Unlimited Plus plan. This provides free ACH rent collection as well as faster receipt of rent payments. Similarly, TenantCloud has additional premium packages starting at $12/month that provide ACH rent payments and other features.

However, for landlords with slightly larger portfolios who are looking to grow their portfolios, a per unit subscription structure might increase costs quickly.

RentRedi’s subscription starts from $9 per month when paying annually. This is considerably less than most other software providers offering the same features RentRedi does. These include services such as rent collection, tenant screening, electronic lease signing, and more. With a flat monthly subscription fee, landlords can keep their monthly software costs low and predictable, no matter how many units they have. Therefore, RentRedi is our winner for property management software with the lowest subscription fees.

  • RentRedi is an all-inclusive landlord-tenant app. Manage vacancies, screening, and rent collection from wherever you are, on any device.
  • Strength: Complete Solution

Winner: Lowest Cost Tenant Screening

Most property management software products include application and tenant screening packages to check your applicants’ background, credit, and criminal histories. Generally, these cost anywhere from $30-55, depending on what type of information you want to screen for. Usually, landlords can pass these costs directly to the applicant. However, if you manage a larger portfolio and have the need to run a lot of tenant screenings, Rentec Direct offers the least expensive screening packages we have seen. These cost just $15 for their premium package. While the subscription fees are relatively expensive starting at $35/month for Rentec Pro, rent collection is free. As a result, landlords with large portfolios with a lot of tenant turnover might find their overall monthly unit cost cheaper with Rentec Direct than with the others.

internal link Related Read: The Best Tenant Screening Service for Small Landlords

  • Designed to address the needs of DIY landlords as well as property management companies, Rentec Direct includes all the tools necessary to manage and rent your properties
  • Strength: Complete Solution

Winner: Best Free Property Management Software for Reporting and Accounting

For reporting and accounting features to help you through tax time, Landlord Studio and Stessa both focus on accounting and bookkeeping tasks.

Landlord Studio offers a free trial for new users, and if you like it, subscriptions start at $5.99 per month. Landlord Studio focuses on simplifying accounting and management for landlords, and has recently added rent collection, tenant screening, and rental listing features to their software.

Stessa, on the other hand, is 100% free to sign up and immediately utilize their robust accounting and reporting tools. While they may not offer rent collection, advertising, or other property management software features, Stessa focuses on the accounting and tracking tools that savvy rental property investors need. This makes Stessa our winner for the best free property management software for reporting and accounting.

internal link Related Read: Reporting and Accounting Tools: Best Accounting Software for Landlords

  • Asset management and accounting software for real estate investors, including smart money management, automated income and expense tracking, personalized reporting and more.
  • Strength: Accounting and Financial Tracking

Winner: Lowest Cost DIY / Hybrid Property Management Solution

Maybe you have decided to use a property manager for your rentals. Or at least a hybrid approach where you outsource some aspects of the property management while maintaining control of others.

We have recently reviewed Marble and Hemlane, two new next-gen property management solutions. With Marble, you can let them manage your rental through their virtual management system. For a flat fee of $50/month per unit, Marble will handle your rental listings and showings, applications and screening, maintenance coordination, and more.

Similarly, Hemlane offers 3 levels of service – from 100% landlord control with the help of Hemlane’s leasing and management platform, to complete delegation of property management services to Hemlane, or a hybrid approach in the middle. Pricing is structured as a base price plus a per unit monthly fee, depending on which package is selected.

For landlords who want to delegate complete property management, Marble is lower cost per unit. However, if you are like us and still want to maintain control over some of your property management tasks while letting someone else handle the late-night maintenance requests, Hemlane’s Essential package might be right for you. As a result, Hemlane is a close winner in this category.

internal link Related Read: Trends In Property Management Technology for 2021

  • Hemlane is a next-gen property management tool that helps property owners manage their rentals. More than simply property management software, Hemlane is a platform that bridges the gap between DIY and full service property management.
  • Strength: Hybrid Full-Service Mgmt

Why You Should Use Property Management Software

Many landlords and property owners have thought about converting some or all of their operations to new property technology. Unfortunately, many don’t know where to start and ask “what is the best property management software?” We have previously discussed the benefits of rental property management software for small landlords. We have also written comprehensive overviews of several of the best rental property management software products on the market today.

Whether you are a small property manager with just a handful of units, a new landlord who has recently acquired property, or an experienced manager with dozens or hundreds of units under management, property management software can be your friend, and your assistant. From advertising and applications, to tenant screening, lease signing and rent collection, there are software solutions that can help you handle these tasks quickly, efficiently and more accurately than their old analog counterparts.

internal link Related Read: The Best Free Ways To Advertise Property For Rent

Now, as landlords ourselves, we know that each dollar of rent received and expenses paid matters. This has never been as true as right now in this changing and uncertain rental market. When it comes to adopting new technology, landlords are not wrong to consider cost or the ability to try it out before committing to something new. Fortunately, many of the property management software products either have free versions or free trials. In addition to price, you should also consider the quality of features such as rent collection, tenant screening, advertising, and others.

How Much Does Property Management Software Cost?

Each software product handles their pricing in different ways. For example, some may offer free or low-cost monthly subscriptions, but charge fees for rent collection or tenant screening. Others may have free property management software options for landlords with 1 unit, and then charge for additional units. So in order to compare property management software prices consistently, ie, “apples to apples”, we recommend that you first determine the features in a software product that are most important to you. Then look at our winners in those categories here before calculating the monthly cost per unit for each product.

Our Contenders:

Property management software comes in many shapes and sizes. Some offer full, integrated property management software solutions: from advertising, applications and screening to lease signing, rent collection and reporting. Others focus on a specific segment of property management such as reporting and accounting and aim to help landlords solve that particular task.


Rental Property Management Software

For many landlords the right property management software can help you efficiently run your small business. We have evaluated some of today’s top software products to uncover their key benefits. Let us help you find landlord software that is best suited for your needs. Whether you are looking for tools to help collect rent, screen tenants, list your rental, automate your record keeping, or other property management tasks, we can find a product for you:


Takeaway

It can be confusing to attempt to compare pricing between rental property software products. While some do offer free property management software options, there are often various fees and charges necessary to use some of the most important features that property management software offers. This makes it challenging to answer what is the best property management software.

We think the best way to compare prices is to determine which features are most important to you as a landlord. Then see what the costs are for a typical landlord with a portfolio similar to yours. We think you will find a variety of cost-effective options that allow you to leverage key features of property management software while effectively running your rental property business.

And remember, while costs are certainly an important consideration, there may be a product that offers features better suited to your needs as a landlord.

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.

Photo by Ferenc Horvath on Unsplash

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About Chris Lee

Chris comes from a family of real estate investors, and remembers well his childhood of helping to prepare apartments between renters. He now manages his own property, apartment complexes, and condos. He has particular insight into the issues around short-term rentals as he manages those for himself and for other owners.
View all posts by Chris Lee →

2 thoughts on “The Best Free Property Management Software for Small Landlords

  1. Great post, property management software solutions can help landlords manage their properties efficiently, while I’d always recommend a property management company to do the work for them, some landlords can’t find the budget since the pandemic hit

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