Cody Bergan  |  01/04/2020

When you start laying out the typical fees for managing a property, some potential investors might shudder at the thought. If they didn’t consider rental property maintenance as a part of the cost of doing business in the rental market, it might take the stars out of their eyes. However, there are other potential investors who think that there are a lot of shortcuts to take advantage of.

Make sure that you’re aware of these common myths before investing.

DIY Saves Money

While taking repairs into your own hands will certainly eliminate the costs of labor, there are other issues to consider. It’s a smart way to save a few bucks with rental properties, which need constant tending, but you shouldn’t go out of your comfort zone. Understanding the balance between your skills and what you can learn on the fly takes time.

Thankfully, there are lots of online resources for anyone looking to make a repair. However, with rental properties, you need to make repairs that can withstand wear and tear. The work you do needs to be strong enough to take the pressure of being handled by unconcerned renters.

Just like doing work on your vehicle, it’s smart to leave major repairs to the pros. You can change lightbulbs, install decor, or even handle painting on your own. However, when your building is at stake with an electrical or plumbing issue, prioritize quality over cost.

Saving money can lead to greater losses if the work you do isn’t comprehensive. Understand when saving on one financial issue could lead you to spend more with another.

Leaving Tenants to Handle Maintenance

The best way to ensure that your repairs don’t get dealt with in the manner they should is to leave it up to your tenants. While some things like light bulbs and small paint jobs can be handled by tenants, leaving it up to them is just as bad as taking on something you can’t handle.

Ultimately, your tenant doesn’t own the property and will find a solution that allows them to make do. They won’t come up with a solution that’s meant to last for years after they’re gone.

Some tenants really put love and care into every place that they live but you don’t want to roll the dice. Assume they aren’t and shouldn’t be responsible. Unless they’ve broken a window on their own or purposely busted something, the repairs are in your court.

Major appliances like refrigerators or HVAC systems need to be handled by the owner. In most cities, it’s written into law. Generally, it’s a good idea to ensure that you buy things that will last for years to come and withstand the wear and tear that renters put on them.

Make sure you take care of the exterior of your rental property as well. This sends a message to tenants that you care about the property and will make them feel bad if they leave a mess or trash untended.

Don’t Repair Everything

While lots of money can be saved in repairing some things instead of replacing them, there are some instances where that doesn’t work. While an old refrigerator could be repaired for a little bit of money, it might be more worthwhile to replace it.

One of the major reasons for that is energy efficiency. Many older appliances wasted electricity more than contemporary appliances. While you might not be footing the bill for the electric usage, you still have an infrastructure that the appliance works on.

Getting energy-efficient appliances ensures that you’re not putting too much pressure on your breakers and that you won’t be replacing fuses often. When you use these appliances, you also limit the chances for an outage that could irritate neighbors to your tenant.

There are also tax incentives for replacing appliances. In cities like New York City, you can replace appliances and recoup the expenses through rent prices.

Security Deposits Don’t Cover Everything

While you might think that you can use a security deposit to cover the expenses that you pay out for repairs and replacement, you need to know the rules. Every city and state has strict laws when it comes to tenants and landlords and how security deposits are managed. Laws are made to protect property owners while others are meant to ensure tenants get their deposits back.

Some landlords ask for security depots that are equal to a month’s rent. However, that doesn’t mean that they take the place for the last month’s rent. Remind tenants that they are expected to pay that in full before they can get their deposit back.

It also ensures that you have some collateral if there is any damage done following a move.

Security deposits aren’t meant to cover the normal wear and tear that occurs from a renter. That’s a cost that’s swallowed by the property owner. That means that cleaning costs, painting, and other small issues that are meant to make a home ready for the next tenants don’t come out of the security deposit.

There often needs to be proof that severe damage was caused by the tenant and this could even land the two parties in court if not handled correctly.

Rental Property Maintenance is Vital to Good Relationships

If you want to have strong relationships with your tenants, then you need to prioritize rental property maintenance. When it comes time to renew leases or raise the rent, these are the things that they’re going to think about that impact their decision.

When it comes time to write out a lease, make sure you follow our tips for the perfect lease agreement.