Rental Property Maintenance Tips & Tricks

Owning a rental property can provide a healthy stream of extra income. Yet, as a private landlord, you are responsible for all maintenance. For first-time or accidental landlords, maintaining a rental property can be a daunting task.

After all, a high tenant turnover translates into high maintenance needs, but a property needs to be appealing to attract a long-term tenant. On top of that, you certainly don’t want to spend more than you need to on your property maintenance.

Here at Contractors Today, we understand rental property owner’s maintenance struggles. To help you keep your rental property maintained while continuing to make a healthy return on investment, follow these five tips and tricks.

Rental property management tips

1. Ask yourself: Do you really need a Letting Agent?

Rent control is one of the top issues in the US at the moment affecting private landlords.

Oregon was the first state to introduce rent reform, capping rent increases by 7% plus inflation during any 12 month period, with California and New York following suit and recently implementing new rent control rules. Other states, such as Illinois, are even considering state-wide rent control legislation.

Each state’s rent control laws relate to the specific housing market, economy and the available rental stock. But in general, rent control is centered on limited rent increases and protecting renters from being unfairly evicted. Landlords in these areas are consequently unable to raise rents subject to regulation, threatening to put many in financial crisis.

Similarly in the UK,  landlords’ profits are being squeezed due to changing tax rules around mortgage interest relief and tighter legislation. Since the tougher tax rules were introduced, more than 100,000 rental homes were sold, and one in four landlords are looking to sell in the next year.

Rising rents and house price forecasts still mean buy-to-let is attractive, but landlords in both the US and UK need to tighten their purse strings to achieve a higher return on investment. And one way landlords are doing so is through ditching the agent  and the high property manager fees and using online letting agents.

In the US 73% of property owners do not use a property manager. Property managers in the US are responsible for finding tenants, hiring contractors, creating contracts – well, pretty much everything related to finding and securing a tenant and maintaining the property. It’s no surprise therefore that they are expensive.

In the UK, the number of rental property owners using an agent is slightly lower than it is in the US. 67% are now considering using an online letting agent to find tenants, and then taking on the property maintenance themselves or hiring a reliable local contractor when necessary.

2. Pick your tenants wisely

As the property owner, you have the final say on who gets to live in your property. Don’t be afraid to be picky about your tenants. Some renters can be a maintenance nightmare, so it pays to ask lots of questions upfront as well as doing all the necessary checks.

Buttonwood, the Property Management experts, advise, “A great way to vet prospective tenants is to ask for references. Contact your tenant’s prior landlords (try to ask more than just the prior landlord as they may be wanting the tenant out so willing to bend the truth). Ask whether the tenant took good care of the rental property, and whether the apartment was left clean and in good order.”

Edmonton Real Estate underlines that It’s crucial to work out whether you want to accept tenants with pets. Animals can scratch hardwood floors and chew up carpets. That’s why it’s imperative to minimize risks before signing up a tenant.

Choosing good tenants can reduce your turnover rate – and every landlord wants to avoid voids!

3. Do certain repairs yourself…

If you are trying to lower your maintenance costs, then becoming a jack of all trades can help. While we’re not saying to take on plumbing or electrical issues or a full-scale home renovation, small DIY jobs like installing soundproof materials, changing light bulbs, clearing the drains, or small cosmetic repairs are all doable.

This will save you the cost of hiring outside help. It’s also smart to research and implement new ways to reduce project costs when performing DIY repairs.

However, the one problem with DIY work is that it may take a while for you to become proficient in the many skills you need for property maintenance. Consult books or online material to help you learn, and do projects in your own house first before you take them on in your rental property. The  Professional Handyman Services company advises to always consult an experienced repairman before you proceed with tweaks yourself no matter how good the hardware tools & accessories you buy.

4. …But also remember your time is valuable

Maintaining a rental property can be hard work. It takes dedication, time, and money. Whether or not being a landlord is your full-time job, it behooves you to make everything as simple as possible. The simplicity should extend to you and your tenants.

If you are feeling stressed over your rental property management, there are a few things that you can do.

  1. First, delegate. While it is cost-saving to perform the maintenance yourself, sometimes that is just not feasible. In those cases, get in the experts and contractors.
  2. Second, try to keep everything in balance and not spend too much of your time on your rental property. Rental properties come with a lot of responsibilities, but you need a life as well.

Another way you can make your life easier is with an online portal that both your and your tenant/s can access. It should give your tenants easy instructions about their payments, the rules of your property, and their rights.

Calgary Homes comments that when using a property management company, then they will likely provide this. However, those who don’t use a property manager can set up their own tenant portal or at least an online document that you can both have eyes on and get notified if someone makes a comment.

5. Know your legal responsibilities under landlord-tenant law

Finally, knowing the laws relating to rental property management and maintenance are essential. Every state in the United States has slightly different laws. These govern the types of renovations you can perform and the rules you must follow as a landlord.

Laws governing rental properties vary by state. There will also likely be various laws at a county or city level to keep in mind as well. Knowing the laws will help you maintain your rental property in a legal way. This can save you money in the long run by keeping down the risk of a lawsuit or other legal trouble.

Final thoughts

A rental property can be a fantastic investment. It provides extra income and can even help you foster some amazing relationships. However, a few tips and tricks will make your rental property maintenance much easier and more cost-effective.