Rent Estate™ Podcast Episode 04 : Tips for Dealing With Rental Maintenance
Renters Warehouse Education Center
Rental maintenance is a big topic, and many landlords aren’t sure where to begin. But taking a proactive approach to maintenance can help to stave off many preventable issues down the road.
In this episode, Kevin Ortner and special guest Brock Thompson discuss maintenance strategies that every landlord should know. They dispel rumors, shed light on confusing issues, and help new and experienced landlords alike to gain knowledge on how they should tackle maintenance at their rentals.
To start, landlords should ensure that they take the time to source, and screen potential vendors early on. This will help to prevent problems down the road –and keep you from having to search for a plumber for those late-night emergencies!
Here are some tips for finding potential vendors:
- Get referrals – Ask neighbors, or join social media groups for your neighborhood. This can be a great way to find reputable professionals that come highly recommended.
- Run a quick Google search – See what others are saying online.
Once you have a vender in your sights, you’ll want to vet them thoroughly:
Start with your state’s website. For example, the Department of Labor and Industry. This allows you to check on the company’s registrations, licensing, and whether or not they have any violations. You’ll also want to check the Better Business Bureau to see if there’s any negative feedback and to see how long they’ve been in business.
Call them up, and ask them plenty of questions. Go with your gut. Keep in mind that if anything sounds too good to be true that could be a warning sign.
Questions to ask include:
- Their experience level.
- What does their typical work consist of? Ask them what they do most of the time, what’s 80% of their job?
Next up, what are the most important vendors for landlords to have?
Top two or three must-haves for landlords include vendors for:
- A/C repairs: Especially during demanding times.
- Plumbing: Particularly for things like burst pipes or major leaks.
- Emergencies: This includes having someone that you can call for things like storm damage –trees that have fallen into the building, water intrusion –such as a mediation company who can take care of a flooded basement, and repairs professionals who can secure the home, in case of a broken window or damaged door.
Being prepared is important, and will keep you from having to scramble for numbers last minute.
It’s also important to make sure you’re doing regular preventative maintenance on the property. It’ll involve an initial outlay, but it’s something that can help you to save money in the long-run.
Recommended maintenance includes:
- Furnace and A/C unit: They should be serviced annually. This will help them to run better, and even extend their life. It’ll also help to prevent unnecessary emergency callouts.
- Winterization: Especially in cold climates, landlords should ensure that steps are taken to get the property ready for winter. This includes things like irrigation systems or outdoor spigots, which if left unattended, could result in damage and costly repairs bills.
- Inspections: Routine inspections should be done once a year as well.
Kevin and Brock also outline two of the most common mistakes that landlords make with rental maintenance. This includes:
- Neglecting maintenance, and failing to get it on the schedule.
- Being slow to respond to tenant requests for repairs. A slow response sends a message that you don’t care and could impact tenant retention. It also could result in smaller problems becoming bigger, and requiring more extensive repairs.
Costs Are a Pressing Concern for Most Landlords, and one common reason that maintenance is often deferred.
Kevin and Brock also discuss how a landlord can save money on common repairs.
- Perform preventative maintenance. This can help to prevent bigger, more extensive repairs jobs.
- Call around. Ask for hourly rates. Again, keep in mind that shockingly low prices could be a red flag, so look out for that as well.
- Build a working relationship with your vendors. They may be more willing to negotiate with you.
- Pay vendors quickly.
- Look for a good handyman. A general contractor who can tackle simple jobs will usually charge less than a professional who specializes. Don’t call out an electrician to change a lightbulb!
- Get bids for larger projects. Get a written contract with a detailed scope of work to help keep everyone on the same page.
Finally, there’s the million-dollar question:
Can landlords charge the cost of repairs back to a tenant?
The answer? It depends! Find out when you tune in to the podcast!
Thank you for listening to the Rent Estate™ Podcast! At Renters Warehouse, we’re passionate about helping others to gain freedom through SFR –and this podcast was created to share some of our experience and insider knowledge with you.
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