Taking care of a rental property can be a lot of work. Every season, there’s seemingly more and more to do. Take a month or two off, and the property’s maintenance and upkeep needs can start to pile up. Some of these things are relatively innocuous, even though they might net you a call from the HOA: an overgrown lawn, exterior siding that needs to be painted, or a fence that needs to be fixed. You should get on these projects at some point, but they’re not urgent.
However, there’s a whole other group of repairs for which the situation is much different. In contrast to the procrastination-friendly projects listed above, you need to act decisively and quickly when faced with a significant repair need. In this article, we’ll review some of these repairs, why it’s essential to be proactive, and the consequences of waiting when time is of the essence.
Act decisively when your property has plumbing issues
Just like your own home, your rental property is susceptible to many plumbing issues—from clogged sewer lines and faulty water heaters to leaking pipes—as the years roll by. The sooner you can get a plumber out to the property to inspect the problem, the better: prolonged leaks, for instance, can lead to water damage and the need for expensive mold remediation. Your total cleanup costs can run in the thousands of dollars, taking a significant chunk out of your annual return on investment.
We recommend you vet out and evaluate plumbers in your area now, before disaster strikes. The last thing you want to be doing during a late-night plumbing emergency is reading online reviews, trying to find a trustworthy professional. By having a licensed plumber—and some backups—already picked out in advance, you’ll know exactly who to call when something goes wrong in your rental property.
Every hour matters when it comes to leaks and water damage.
Call in a professional when the HVAC systems act up.
Your rental’s air conditioner and furnace are indeed essential to a comfortable living in the property. However, they’re also much more important than that. In many parts of the country, HVAC systems are a safety necessity. In the frigid winters of the Northeast, a furnace is the only line of defense against frozen pipes and other property damage. In the sweltering Southeast, life indoors without an air conditioner can be downright dangerous.
Inaction could even lead to you losing your renter. In many cities and states across the country, there are laws, statutes, and regulations that property owners must follow. A common one is that owners must act within a reasonable amount of time to address cooling and heating issues that affect the habitability of their property in the summer and winter. In other words, if your property’s furnace goes out in the winter and you don’t pick up your tenant’s calls, there may be recourse for them to abandon the property lawfully and their lease.
As with all subjects related to property management and tenant rights, every municipality and state has different laws and different rules. You’ll need to talk to a property management company or an attorney to get an overview of what things are like in your area.
Protect the roof, protect your property
Roof issues tend to start relatively small: a missing shingle here, a displaced piece of flashing there. This allows them to slip under the radar and fall right off your property’s maintenance checklist. Then, sometime later, your renter calls you to report a roof leak in the living room. Suddenly, the small roofing issues of yesterday have become significant water damage issues today.
Your property’s roof is a prime example of that ancient saying: an ounce of prevention is worth a pound of cure. Something as simple and easy as scheduling an annual roof inspection can be a crucial part of catching roofing issues early, which then allows you to address them quickly and protect the roof. Over many years, roofing upkeep and care can potentially save you thousands of dollars in repairs while also prolonging the lifespan of your property’s roof.
Here are even more home repairs that require quick action.
When it comes to repairs and needed maintenance, procrastination is the enemy: it can only make things worse. When something in your rental property needs repairs, act fast. Your renter will appreciate your heads-up, direct approach to dealing with repairs and emergencies. For a comprehensive look at several major rental property repairs and why they require expediency on your part, check out this infographic:
We are pledged to the letter and spirit of U.S. policy for the achievement of equal housing opportunity throughout the Nation. See Equal Housing Opportunity Statement for more information.