Pros of renting from a private owner include the ability to negotiate, personal relationship with the landlord and the ability to deal directly with the owner if a problem occurs. Dealing with an individual owner sometimes means slower response times to problems or disorganization with record keeping.
A private owner has full control over what happens with his rental property. This allows him to offer flexibility with the rent amount, lease terms, application requirements, move-in dates and the move-in process, unlike property management companies that often have strict procedures.
Dealing directly with the owner means the renter builds a history. The renter knows what to expect when problems arise or when the landlord does an inspection. With a management company, the renter may interact with different people who give different answers to questions.
A drawback to a single owner is limited resources. A large rental company likely has contacts with several repair companies and services. It also has more money at its disposal. A private owner may have limited funds, making it difficult to pay for repair services when needed. A landlord who rents as a part-time job may not have the experience or time to provide the best customer service.