Since 36.6% of Americans are currently renting their home, property managers have their pick of the litter when it comes to tenants. They also need to be on top of rental maintenance to ensure that tenants have a clean and safe place to live.
If you’re a landlord looking to maintain your rental property the right way, there are a few things that you’ll need to do. Read on to learn how you can keep your buildings in awesome shape with tenant screening, communication, top-notch contractors, and more.
Get (and Keep) the Right Tenants
The first way to best maintain your rental property is to get the right tenants. Dirty and messy people will ruin your property in the blink of an eye. So will those with a history of indoor smoking.
Make sure that you use top-notch tenant screening software to ensure that you’re choosing the right tenants. This technology will let you see whether someone has a prior history of eviction due to an untidy lifestyle or damaging past properties in some way.
You also want to make sure that tenants are polite and respectful to neighbors. Having a lot of complaints will cost you good tenants.
Finally, screening tenants will let you find people who will always pay the rent on time. This is important because rent checks often funnel back into property maintenance. If you have tenants skimping out, you’ll struggle to come up with the funds to keep your property in top shape.
Respond to Maintenance Requests Promptly
You likely have multiple properties and don’t get to see all of them on a daily basis. This is completely normal, but it also means that you won’t know when something is wrong until a tenant reaches out. It’s important to have a clear, easy-to-use website where tenants can put in maintenance requests for you to see.
There are some requests that you’ll need to respond to instantly:
- Crumbling stairs leading up to the property
- Sagging roofs and caving ceilings
- Mold growth within the property
- Large water leaks and burst pipes
- Clogged drains that could lead to leaks or turned-off water
- Strange smells coming from appliances or heaters
- Major pest infestations
- Anything else that could pose a safety risk
However, other requests may seem more benign:
- Appliances that aren’t working (refrigerators, ovens, etc)
- Neighbors smoking in the apartment
- Minor problems with harmless pests
- Dripping faucets
- Water not being hot enough/being too hot
- Peeling paint
- Dirty/ripped carpeting
While it might be tempting to put off maintenance requests that fall into the latter category, don’t. These small problems can lead to bigger issues down the line. They won’t just upset good tenants but can also eventually lead to property damage.
Sign On the Right Contractors
Landlords have several daily responsibilities, but fulfilling maintenance requests aren’t one of them. Responding to them is your job, but this entails sending out a contractor to resolve the issues. You’ll have previously signed on with a plumber, mason, or HVAC professional that will go out and help tenants.
Make sure that you’ve hired reputable and capable contractors. You don’t want someone to respond to a maintenance request only to incorrectly fulfill it. This will further frustrate your best tenants and drive them away.
Poorly trained or vetted contractors may also make the damage worse. If you have an inexperienced mason try to repair steps, for example, you might wind up making them more dangerous.
This doesn’t just decrease your property value but also is unsafe. You could find yourself with a personal injury lawsuit. To avoid this problem, be careful about who you trust with your property.
Proactively Replace Older Appliances
To prevent appliances from breaking while tenants are using them, it’s a good idea to replace them frequently. A good rule of thumb is to replace household appliances every 5 years if you aren’t sure of their lifespan.
However, many fixtures do have longer lifespans than 5 years. Some include:
- Refrigerators (10-12 years)
- Stoves and ovens (10-15 years)
- Dishwashers (10-13 years)
- Washers and dryers (10 years)
Make sure to check on all of these appliances after a decade passes. If they’re looking even remotely worn-down, invest in a replacement. This will keep your property in top shape.
Replace Roofing, Siding, and Flooring Regularly
You also will want to proactively replace roofing, siding, flooring, and other foundational features. This is even more important than getting new appliances before they expire. Foundational issues can pose a safety risk to tenants.
Here’s when to invest in replacement features:
- Roofing (every 25-50 years, but usually closer to 25)
- Siding (every 15-40 years depending on the material)
- Hardwood flooring (every 25-30 years)
If a property has concrete or wooden steps leading up to it, you will want to have the stairs checked out every 2-3 years. They may begin to crumble, crack, rot, or warp depending on the material. About one in five falls causes a serious injury, so it’s best to err on the side of caution.
Maintain Your Rental Property the Right Way
While it can be challenging to maintain your rental property in the best possible way, it’s totally possible with the right tools and knowledge. Now that you know some of the best tips for property managers, it’s time to start finding tenants that will let you keep your property in top shape.
Our experts are committed to offering the best screening platform and software for landlords. That’s why we’re excited to discuss your individual property’s needs ASAP. Contact Rent Safe today to discuss your tenant screening process needs with our experts!