One of the most important concerns for landlords, property managers, and tenants is maintenance issues. For landlords and property managers, you want to keep your maintenance costs low and keep your tenants happy. For tenants, you want to rent a property maintained in good condition. It can be difficult sometimes to find a happy medium. The spectrum can swing high on both sides. You may get a landlord that doesn’t understand wear and tear or you may get a tenant who nitpicks every detail of a property. The goal is to meet somewhere in the middle. One way to do this is preventative maintenance.
As a landlord or property manager, doing through walk thru’s of your properties when they become vacant or while they are occupied helps keep you aware of the condition of the property. Ask your tenant if they are having any issues, notice things wearing a little more in some spots than others. Doing an annual walk thru’s lets the tenant know you care about the upkeep of your property, also keeps the tenant responsible for the property because they know you are checking up on it.
Some common maintenance issues that can happen are clogged drains. Tenants may not be aware of what they can flush down a drain or put in a garbage disposal. Advise your tenants when they start their tenancy if the drains are sensitive to too much toilet paper, feminine products, baby wipes. It is also important to warn a tenant that if a clog occurs and comes back as an unnatural clog they will be charged for the service call. Making the tenant aware of the chances of them being held responsible causes them to be more cautious. Calling a plumber to clear a drain on a holiday weekend can get very spendy. Same goes for garbage disposals, if a tenant has never had one, they may think everything can go in it. For example, garbage disposals do not like fish tank rocks. The more aware you make your tenant, the better they are at taking care of the property.
Another common issue is being locked out of the unit. If a tenant calls in the middle of the night do you provide lockout services? Do they get one free pass and then they are charged? Or do you just advise them from the beginning, not your problem, call a locksmith. You may want to provide them with an extra key, advise them to give it to someone they trust or hide it in a safe location on the property. Preventive maintenance, planning for emergencies saves your time and saves you money.
Winterizing and summarizing swamp coolers are another common maintenance issue. Planning ahead not only helps the units last longer but also allows you to have scheduled maintenance. If you plan ahead and have your maintenance scheduled, you avoid unhappy tenants. When summarizing the unit, you can have the pads changed out, make sure the motor is running smoothly, check the roof to make sure the unit is not leaking and causing damage to the roof. A roof replacement can be very costly. Winterizing allows you to turn everything off to the swamp cooler, cover the unit to help maintain heating costs for the tenant and again increases the life of the swamp cooler. Winterizing the unit means there is no water sitting in the unit rusting it out all winter long.
The most important thing is to provide maintenance to your property in a timely manner, plan ahead. Landlords and property owners should be aware that not taking care of maintenance issues can cause your property to deteriorate and lead to costly damage down the road. Another reason to perform routine maintenance is tenant retention. Happy tenants do not move. Which helps with wear and tear and keeps your vacancy rate low and that is the goal!
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