Controlling Maintenance Costs with Preventative Maintenance:
Tips for Landlords
by Jared Lamp
Managing rental properties can be a tremendous undertaking. Tending to perpetually leaking faucets and air conditioners blowing less than cool air can turn any headache into an epic migraine. The money expenditure involved and the risk of possibly losing a tenant can be extra stress that you probably don’t want to deal with. There are a number of strategies you can implement to lower maintenance costs while maintaining tenant satisfaction that will keep everyone happy and keep you from tearing your hair out. Two words say it all: preventative maintenance.
Before picking up your tool belt to make sure everything is looking nice and running how it should, consider implementing a tighter screening of your tenants. If a tenant has a prior history of wrecking a property, chances are they’ll do it again… only this time it will be at your expense. Check backgrounds, call references and get the previous landlord’s blessing that they will not trash your property. That will at least keep you from throwing money (and your tenant from throwing who knows what else) down the drain.
Being proactive is key. Drains will clog and fixtures will break, so be ready for it and have a plan to take care of it ahead of time. Have a schedule for changing HVAC filters, air conditioning vents, etc. and keep all warranties handy as well. Most appliance repair companies will typically fix a dishwasher or refrigerator that is covered under a warranty. This will also be a deductible expense you can claim on your taxes, to another score for you.
Today’s minor leak can become tomorrow’s disaster, so the name of the game is preventative maintenance. The easiest thing to do is conduct a walk through once a tenant has vacated the property. Pay close attention to all fixtures, appliances, the overall condition of carpets and floors. Replace garbage disposals, fix minor leaks or other issues before it becomes really problematic. This will also reflect better on you when you are showing the property to potential tenants.
In many instances a professional is required to fix a roof or give a lawn the attention it needs. For this, you will need to hire a reputable service and include the cost into the rent. Dan Recob, a Property Manager here at SBMI Group says, “We use our own team and schedule them to hit one location so that multiple issues can be fixed at once.” Hiring an affordable service is key. Dan adds, “We receive favorable pricing due to the volume of business we conduct across the hundreds of properties we manage.”
In this business, it doesn’t pay to put off preventative maintenance, it will only make a fix more expensive down the road. Also, by jumping on routine repairs and replacements and quickly addressing tenant requests, you will ultimately reduce low vacancy rates. Your tenants will be pleased with the consideration and prompt responses from you and the overall condition of their residence. This means money in your pocket and a body in your property.