Real Estate Investing: Maintaining Your Rental Property

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Being a property manager or landlord requires problem-solving, organization, and decision-making skills. It’ll be challenging to manage a rental successfully and legally without knowing property maintenance.

In fact, according to the law of “implied warranty of fitness,” a product is sold with the guarantee that it is fit for its purpose. This means that if you’re going to put your property up for rent, it should be habitable. Thus, landlords are required by law to meet building, safety, and health standards.

Apart from following the law, property maintenance helps keep cash flow positive, lower tenant turnover, and increase tenant quality. In fact, according to property management expert, Buildium, 42% of property managers aim to prioritize attracting and retaining high-quality tenants in 2022.

All of this explains and emphasizes the importance of rental property maintenance. If you’ve just invested in a rental property, this article can give you some tips on maintaining it efficiently. Before discussing that, however, you should know the pros and cons between in-house and contracted property maintenance.

Should You Get In-house or Contracted Property Maintenance?

Whether you’re an investor, an owner, a landlord, or all of them, you should know how to maintain your property properly. In fact, according to Entrepreneur magazine, knowledge of property maintenance is especially crucial for first-timers in the industry. Property maintenance, after all, isn’t just about repairing fixtures and keeping the halls clean. It’s also ensuring the health and safety of your tenants.

Property maintenance can be done in-house or through a contracted service or professional. To help you know the difference between the two and decide which one to choose, you should know the pros and cons of each.

If you choose to do property maintenance yourself or in-house, the pros include increased control over maintenance costs and budget flexibility. You can also put up your own maintenance team and have cohesive and streamlined communication with them. With first-hand knowledge of your property, you are also able to prioritize which issues need to be handled first and promptly fix unexpected problems.

On the other hand, in-house maintenance requires an intensive hiring process when putting together a maintenance team. You also have to factor in their salaries, which is added cost to you. Plus, you should know how to manage your staff so that they can do their work as a team.

On the other hand, having a professional property manager maintain your rental can be more extensive considering their professional knowledge of building laws and regulations. They know whether you’re required to conduct residential street sweeping or leave it to the municipal office. They also know what can happen if you don’t make the necessary repairs.

Contracted managers also have their own team, which you only get to pay on an as-needed basis.

However, a contracted property manager is more costly than doing the maintenance yourself. You also don’t have control over their staff, which can cause issues if you don’t like their work.

Your final decision in choosing whether to do property maintenance in-house or through a hired manager will depend on three factors: your budget, maintenance needs, and staff control.

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Common Repairs and Maintenance

Most states require properties to be habitable even before a tenant moves in. This means your property should be structurally sound and be free from infestation. It should also have adequate power, water, and heating.

Laws vary by city and state. In general, though, you should regularly conduct maintenance to keep your property habitable. Here is common repair and maintenance work to keep your property livable.

  • Electrical Work: Ensure that all electrical work is in place, without faulty wires and outlets to prevent fires. Invest in tamper-resistant (TR) receptacles, ground-fault current interrupter (GFCI) outlets, and arc-fault circuit interrupters (AFCIs).
  • Water Damage or Leaks: Make sure that your property’s pipes are not leaking and that all fixtures are working properly. Leaks can cause huge water damage to your property, which is often costly to repair.
  • Air Conditioner and Furnace: Make sure that the filters in your HVAC system are regularly cleaned and replaced.
  • Garbage Disposals: Your garbage disposal system should have an updated motor and blades. This will minimize the chances of getting the unit clogged.

Tenants’ Obligations

Tenants have legal obligations to maintain their room, house, or apartment, as well. They should keep your property sanitary and clean, especially indoors. If they cause damage to your property or any part of it, they are responsible for repair and maintenance.

On the other hand, if issues occur in your property, tenants have an obligation to report it to you or a property manager within 24 hours since they happened. Failure to do so will make them liable to pay the damage and its repair.

From the outset, provide tenants with information about their obligations.

Effective Maintenance Requires Teamwork

Now you have an idea about rental property maintenance. Learn more about your legal duties and use the information above to help you decide whether to maintain your property in-house or hire a manager instead.

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