Contrary to popular belief, apartment maintenance isn’t only the landlord’s job – it’s a joint responsibility of the landlord and the tenant. If you and your tenant don’t work together, you won’t be able to keep your apartment in tip-top shape, and you’ll probably pay for costly repairs. We’ve put together this guide to help you improve your home maintenance habits.
How Landlords Can Improve on Apartment Maintenance
As the landlord, most home maintenance tasks are your responsibility. Below are a few tips to make sure your apartment stays well-maintained all year round. Most of these to-dos are also your obligations by law, so be sure to stay on top of them to avoid going to court:
#1 Test smoke and carbon dioxide detectors
State law says that landlords need to provide a working smoke detector as well as a carbon monoxide detector in their rental properties. Aside from installing these things, make sure to constantly check if they’re still in good working order.
#2 Have your HVAC tuned up
The HVAC is a vital part of your rental property. Without it, your tenants won’t be comfortable, or worse – they won’t be able to stay warm during the winter (you can be held liable for this, by the way). Have your HVAC unit checked twice a year to make sure it continues to work properly, and to keep it from working twice as hard to heat or cool your rental.
#3 Deal with repairs pronto
It can be tempting to postpone repairs, but keep in mind that even the smallest issues can become big problems. The moment your tenant raises a concern, act on it immediately. It can also help to partner with a property management company that provides home management services.
#4 Keep the water heater in working condition
By law, the landlord is responsible for providing hot water in their rental property. If the water heater stops working, you have a very limited window of opportunity to get it running again. With that said, the key is to make sure your water heater is well-maintained year-round.
#5 Don’t skip routine inspections
Because you can’t inspect your apartment whenever you want, always grab the opportunity to get a glimpse into your unit when you can. Stick to your inspection schedules as who knows when you’ll get the chance to see inside again. Inspections are important as they enable you to spot potential issues and deal with them before it’s too late.
Apartment Maintenance Tips For Tenants
Maintaining your rental isn’t a one-man task – your tenants should take part in keeping the property safe and sanitary, too. We’ve put together a few apartment maintenance tips to pass on to your tenants:
#1 When in doubt, read the rental agreement
When tenants sign their lease agreement, they say “yes” to the bare minimum of obligations, such as mowing the lawn, throwing out the trash, and so on. In case your tenants are wondering whether or not a particular task is for them (tree trimming, for instance), tell them to check their rental contract – it should outline their to-dos in detail. It’s also a good idea to go over each party’s duties during the signing of the lease agreement. That way, your tenants will have an idea of what they’re supposed to do daily.
Pro Tip: Partner with a reputable property management company to draft a foolproof contract that outlines each party’s maintenance-related responsibilities.
#2 Keep pests away
One of the main problems that tenants face in apartments is pest infestation. Pests are a serious concern that could cause you to shut down your rental until the issue is dealt with. Apart from conducting routine pest inspections, ask your tenants to keep their apartments free from food scraps and other items that can attract rodents, roaches, etc. Be sure to remind them to throw out their trash immediately because it’s one of the common causes of pest problems. Tell your tenants to contact your property management company the moment they spot any signs of pests, such as gnaw marks, rub marks, and more.
#3 Tell tenants to inform you of issues immediately
It’s the tenant’s responsibility to inform you of maintenance-related concerns immediately. Even if they may find it inconvenient to contact you every time there’s a minor concern, tell them that they must do this. These concerns can escalate into larger problems, so it’s best to deal with them while the situation is still manageable. Flickering lights, for instance, could lead to an electrical fire.
Since you can’t keep an eye on your apartment at all times, partner up with your tenants to make sure your property is always well-maintained, safe, and secure. Maintain an open line of communication so your tenants can contact you at any time. Consider a tenant portal where tenants can file a repair “ticket” and track its status.
#4 Encourage tenants to clean regularly
The apartment doesn’t need to be spotless, but it does need to be reasonably clean. Encourage your tenants to clean their unit as if it were their own, as this is one way to prevent problems that they’ll have to pay for with their security deposit. If they don’t tidy up the apartment regularly, spills, splatters, and more can become difficult to get rid of. A cluttered space can also attract pests, as well as make the apartment look more worn out.
#5 Prevent clogs
In case there’s a clog, tenants can rely on their landlord to unclog it. However, that isn’t always the case. If the tenant is found responsible for causing the clog, they may be asked to pay for the repair costs. For instance, if the drain gets clogged because the tenant tried to shove food down it, they would have to pay for repairs. Remind your tenants to be very careful with drains, toilets, etc., otherwise, they will have to use their security deposit.
Unreported clogs can lead to big problems such as flooding, so tell your tenants to contact you ASAP if they notice signs such as slow water drainage. Clogs in apartments can be costly, so it’s best to prevent them in the first place. Take the time to walk your tenants through what they can and can’t do with toilets, drains, garbage disposals, and more.
Call Us For Premier Apartment and Home Maintenance Services
Home and apartment maintenance can be time-consuming, but with the experts at Luxury Property Care, it can be a no-brainer for both you and your tenants. For years, we’ve been providing the best property management services in South Florida and surrounding areas. Call us at (561) 944 – 2992 or complete our contact form to find out more.