How To Avoid Expensive Repair Costs

By Ashley Paskill on September 2, 2022

As a property manager, keeping up with repairs is a crucial part of your job. Unfortunately, these repairs can sometimes be expensive, especially if things are not taken care of as soon as they begin to break. There are ways to reduce repair costs to help you and your tenants save money.

Trim tree branches

If you have trees on your property, it is crucial to keep the branches of these trees trimmed. If you do not, they may cause significant property damage and may even injure someone if they fall. Keeping them trimmed will ensure that they do not damage your rental and any tenant property. Fall is a good time to take care of this as leaves are falling so the trees will be bear. This will allow you to see which branches need to be taken care of right away and which ones can wait.

Withhold the security deposit

Sometimes, repairs will require a large expense, especially if you have to replace damaged items. There may even be exterior damage to the property. These are justifiable reasons to withhold the security deposit. The deposit is designed to help you cover costly damages, especially ones caused by tenants who failed to follow instructions. The security deposit may not cover the cost it will take to make the needed repairs, but it will help cover the cost at least a little bit so it is less of a financial burden for you.

Even just requiring a security deposit can help motivate tenants to take care of the property. They want to get the deposit back once they move out, so they will likely do whatever it takes to get it back. This means they will be more likely to take care to not do things to not damage the property.

Screen your tenants

Screening your tenants properly will help you know you have good tenants who do not have a history of significant property damage. Asking for references from prior landlords can help you know in advance which tenants may be more likely than others to cause property damage. If you have a screening process already, make sure that asking about property damage is a part of it and include it if it is not. While a screening process will require extra work for you and your employees, it will help save you money when you do not have to pay for costly repairs caused by tenants.

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Clear the drains

As time goes on, it is likely that gunk will make its way into the showers and sinks’ pipes throughout your property. Unfortunately, if this is left unchecked, the gunk can cause blockages that will eventually lead to flooding the property. Between tenants, pour cleaning fluid down the drains to remove any blockages before flooding occurs. Depending on how long your tenants are staying on your property, you may even decide to do this more frequently than when they move. If a tenant reports that a drain may be blocked, take care of it right away before things get worse.

Take before photos

When a new tenant moves in, take photos of the property before they move in. This way, you will know exactly how the property looked before they moved in and the tenant can be held accountable. Doing this may motivate the tenant to keep the property in good shape so they do not have to pay for the damages themselves. Taking pictures will allow you to clearly detect any damage that was done without having to second guess yourself.

Be strict with subletting

While you may want to allow subletting in your rentals, especially if you rent primarily to students, it is crucial to set tough rules to help reduce the amount of property damage caused by subletters. Be a part of the subletter search process and create a sublease rental agreement. As mentioned above, take photos before the subletter moves in at their designated time. You may even decide that the risk of costly damage caused by subletting is not with it and decide to not allow subleasing. Either way, be sure to include any rules you have around subleasing in your rental agreement so that current tenants are aware.

Pets in your rental

You may allow tenants to have pets in their rental properties, which can attract tenants. However, pets can cause damage over time. Many property managers collect a one-time pet deposit as well as charge a small additional rent on top of the regular rent to cover the pets. This may help tenants take good care of their property, being extra mindful of potential damage caused by pets. Just like the normal security deposit, they eventually would like the pet deposit back, so they will be motivated to avoid damaging the property.

It is important as a property manager to take steps to avoid costly property repairs. There are small steps that you can take to help save you money in the long run.

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