If you are a landlord, one thing that you need to be consistently prepared for is repair requests. No matter how great your tenant is, how new your property is, or how well maintained the home is, at some point in its rental property career, the home will need repairs.
As a landlord, it is up to you to quickly respond to and repair these complications as they arise. Having a little foreknowledge of these issues is a great tool in being able to react quickly and accordingly and avoid spending more money than a project should cost. Of course, you are not a contractor, so understanding every issue that can arise is virtually impossible. However, a little understanding of the most common issues landlords see in their properties can go a long way in helping you to know what to expect.
Here are the 10 most common rental repairs landlords face across the industry.
Perhaps one of the most frustrating repair/maintenance requests landlords see from their tenants is pest-related. Why is it so frustrating? Because, in more cases than not, it is the tenant’s fault the bugs are there in the first place. Bugs and rodents often appear in unclean houses. Often, the home can appear clean and the tenant be unaware of crumbs under couches or behind large items of furniture—particularly in homes with young children who are always on the move.
In single-family homes, pest control is often easier to address as a landlord than it is in multifamily units. In fact, in many SFH leases, the landlord will dictate that pest control becomes a tenant responsibility after a certain period of time. In a multifamily unit, pest control is a difficult issue to address as the root cause can be in any numerous units and therefore harder to pinpoint. For this reason, many multifamily units’ pest control is handled by the landlord.
Appliances breakdown often, at least in the eye of your tenant. Some things are simple “fixes” such as replacing a burned-out lightbulb or putting in a new heating element. However, appliances are tricky devils and can often breakdown due to misuse, lack of care, and other such situations.
As a landlord, you are likely to get a lot of calls regarding clogged toilets. Generally, unless you have stated otherwise in your lease, a clogged toilet is not the landlord’s problem. This is a common problem that is often caused by the actions of the tenant and/or family. However, if the clogging problem seems to be occurring in the bathtubs and sinks as well, you may have a slightly larger problem on your hands and its best you get involved.
If a tenant calls and complains of no hot water suddenly, chances are there is a problem with the hot water heater. In some cases, this can require extensive repairs or even replacements, but in many cases it just means the heating element has died and needs replacing.
If you are a going to be a landlord, be prepared for many, many water leak calls. Homes, as they age and settle, can sometimes see wear and tear that causes leaks and as tenants move in and out, these issues will occur more frequently. When it comes to water leaking, it is vital that you get it handled immediately. Water is extremely damaging to properties—it can damage flooring, drywall, and other surfaces and materials in the home. Even a small amount of water can create mold, which can add to your repair expenses ten-fold and create legal situations that you just don’t want to open yourself up for.
Another place water can leak from is the under the bathroom or kitchen sink. While this is nearly as drastic as if it is leaking from the ceiling or window, a leaky sink can still create a rash of problems you don’t want anything to do with. Mold and property damage can both occur from something as simple as a leaky sink when the problem is relatively easy to take care of.
While toilets are generally sturdy items, their innards are not. These cheap, plastic pieces often break or give way over time and can lead to a toilet running constantly. While in most cases these are simple, quick, $20 fixes—be cautious of any leaking or discoloration occurring toward the base of the toilet as this can be a sign of much bigger problems.
HVAC (heating, ventilation, and air conditioning) systems are complicated structures and complicated structures tend to experience many problems over time, particularly when they get a lot of frequent use. If your tenant calls you regarding an HVAC problem, be prepared to shell out a pretty penny—and quickly, as leaving your tenant without a running system for an extended period of time can open the door for many legal violations.
When it comes to single-family homes, you will see your fair share of complaints regarding the garage door. These are simple mechanisms, but tend to deal with limited wear and tear. Frequent use will almost guarantee a few phone calls from your tenant.
If your property has a fence, get ready for some calls—particularly if your tenant has pets or small children. Fences rust, break, or give way as they age, so making sure you keep an eye on areas experiencing excessive weathering or wear and tear to avoid having a small repair become exasperated by ignoring it.
While these are only a handful of the problems you will encounter as a landlord, these are by far the most frequent you will hear about. Being familiar with some of the situations that may arise can help you to react quickly and appropriately and avoid being overcharged or bamboozled by a less-than-honest contractor.