Most single-unit rental properties are owned by individuals who possess a handful of units. Over 72% in fact. Many of these landlords are what we would consider “accidental landlords,” with property maintenance far from a priority for them.
These landlords never planned on being in the rental business, but circumstances led them there. Maybe they inherited a property from a relative. Maybe they needed to relocate for work and couldn’t sell their home. Or maybe they bought a fixer-upper intending to live there themselves but realized after starting renovations that they bit off more than they could chew.
Whatever the reason, these landlords often find themselves in charge of a property without any real experience in maintaining it. If you’re in this boat, don’t worry – you’re not alone. But that doesn’t mean you can afford to be lax when it comes to keeping your rental in good condition.
Your tenants rely on you to provide them with a safe and comfortable place to live. And, in most cases, your lease agreement obligates you to do just that. So, whether you’re a new landlord or a seasoned pro, brush up on your rental property maintenance knowledge with these landlord tips.
1. Make Sure Your Rental Is Properly Insured
As a landlord, it’s your responsibility to insure your rental property. But did you know that there are different types of landlord insurance?
Standard homeowner’s insurance policies often exclude coverage for damages caused by tenants or their guests. That’s why it’s important to get a policy specifically for landlords.
Landlord insurance will protect you from financial damages in the event that your tenants cause accidents or intentional damage to your rental. It will also cover you if your tenants stop paying rent or if you have to evict them.
2. Keep Up With Regular Maintenance and Inspections
Your rental property is just like any other type of real estate – it needs regular maintenance to stay in good condition.
As a landlord, you should schedule annual professional inspections of your property, even if everything appears to be in working order. These inspections will help you identify potential problems early on before they have a chance to cause serious damage.
You should also keep up with regular maintenance tasks like changing air filters, checking the smoke detectors, and flushing the water heater. By taking care of these small tasks regularly, you can avoid larger (and more expensive) repair bills down the road.
3. Handle Repairs Quickly
When tenants report a problem, it’s important to handle the repair in an efficient manner. The longer you wait to make repairs, the more likely it is that the problem will get worse – and costlier to fix.
If you’re unable to make the repairs yourself, hire a professional. Make sure to get multiple bids from different contractors before making your final decision. And always get the work in writing before giving the go-ahead.
4. Communicate With Your Tenants
Your tenants are more likely to take good care of your rental if they feel like you’re taking good care of them. One of the best ways to build a good relationship with your tenants is to communicate with them as necessary.
Let them know about any upcoming maintenance or repair work. This will give them a heads up in case they need to make other arrangements while the work is being done.
You should also let them know that they can come to you with any problems or concerns they have. By showing that you’re responsive to their needs, you can encourage them to take good care of your rental.
5. Be Fair When Screening Applicants
When you’re screening tenants, it’s important to be fair. Treat all applicants the same and don’t make any decisions based on race, religion, gender, or other protected characteristics.
To get started, create a list of criteria that all applicants must meet. Then, use that criterion to screen tenants objectively. For example, if you require that all tenants have a credit score of 600 or higher, do you want to make an exception for someone you know personally?
6. Be Proactive About Preventing Pests
Pests are one of the most common problems landlords have to deal with. But, you can take steps to prevent pests from becoming a problem in the first place.
Start by keeping your rental clean and free of clutter. This will make it harder for pests to find places to hide. You should also seal up any cracks or holes in the walls or floors. This will help keep pests out and make it easier to spot an infestation if one does occur.
7. Know Your Local Laws
As a landlord, it’s important to know and follow all local laws and regulations that apply to your rental property. These laws can cover everything from how much rent you can charge to what type of repairs you’re required to make.
Familiarize yourself with the laws in your area and make sure you’re in compliance. This will help you avoid costly fines and legal problems down the road.
Outsourcing Property Maintenance
By following these property maintenance tips, you can help ensure that your rental property is well-maintained. However, it’s important to note that property maintenance is a time-consuming and often expensive task. If you don’t have the time or money to invest in maintaining your rental, you may want to consider outsourcing the work to a professional property management company.
These companies can handle all aspects of property maintenance for you, freeing up your time and energy to focus on other things. Reedy and Company is your solution for properties in Memphis, Tennessee. We’ll take care of all your property maintenance needs, including rent collection and rental maintenance, so you can relax and enjoy the rewards of being a landlord.
We have over 40 years of experience in taking care of rental properties for local and international customers alike. Get started here, and let us help you with your rental property today.