Property maintenance affects health and safety, market values and neighbourhood dynamics. Previous studies have indicated that owner-occupiers maintain their properties better than do absentee (non-resident) landlords. Some evidence suggests that maintenance by resident landlords falls in between but no study has compared all three tenures. This study of the City of Rochester, New York, utilises tax data for every residential property in the city in 2017, these being linked to records of building inspections, mostly pro-active. It indicates that code violations were highest for absentee-owned properties, lowest for the owner-occupied and intermediate for the properties of resident landlords. Comparison of the two- and three-unit properties of resident landlords indicates the impact of pro-active inspections. Maintenance by Limited Liability Companies was about average for absentee-owned properties, but those handled by management companies were worse. Longitudinal analysis of independent changes in the ownership and tenure of dwelling units, 2011–2017, indicates that observed differences in maintenance in 2017 were attributable to the incentives characteristic of each tenure, not to differences in personal preference among property owners. Results underline the importance of pro-active inspections and the need for qualitative research to clarify the motivations of different types of landlords.