A good property manager sits smack dab in the middle of the landlord and the renter. It takes great skill to navigate that position well, but it can be done, and when it's done well the benefits are pretty spectacular. Here is what real estate investors and tenants need to know about their relationship with their property manager, especially when it comes to repairs.
Repairs and Maintenance: The Essentials
Landlords: If you're the owner of a property in which you do not reside, you need to know a few things about maintenance and repairs. First, each state has it's own habitability statute that lays out the minimum acceptable standards of a rental property. If you do not maintain the property to minimum standards you can face the withholding of rent until repairs are completed, or even the condemnation of the house. Repairs above and beyond the minimum standards set forth by your state are recommended, however, for a few reasons.
- It protects the value of your investment. No one wants to rent a house that meets minimum habitability standards, but has holes in the wall, cracked floors, or a terrible lingering smell. That will make it very difficult for you to maintain a positive cash flow.
- It keeps tenants happy. Happy tenants stay longer, which is essential to maintaining the value of your property and a steady income.
- It prevents bigger problems down the line. Fixing a small leak now could save you the huge repair cost of having to replace a cabinet, a floor, or remediate a mold problem.
Your property manager should be able to tell you what is going on at your rental home at any time and coordinate any necessary repairs with the tenant and repair team. The best part about this for you is that you don't have to take the late night phone calls requesting repairs, you don't have to spend time trying to find the right person to fix the problem, and you maintain anonymity with the renter.
Tenants: For tenants, the view of repairs can be quite different. You need to know that while you are making your home at your rental home, you will have an obligation to safeguard the property against preventable disasters. For example, noticing a small leak might not be a huge deal to you, but it can cause water damage that builds up over time, creating a huge project for the landlord.
In addition, because it is your home, you may feel the desire to paint a room, add a flower bed, or otherwise upgrade the property. Many owners are okay with such upgrades, others prefer to do them themselves as they transition from one tenant to another. You'll need to ask before you begin these projects.
The benefit of having a property manager for you is that whether it's repairs, upgrades, questions about your lease, or anything else pertaining to your rental home, you have a one stop shop ready with answers. Just give your property manager a call, and they can get repairs made, maintenance completed, copies made and questions answered. Your property manager wants for you to remain happy in your home because, as listed above, it's best for everyone to maintain renters that stay for a while.
It might seem intimidating to hire a property manager, either to find you a rental in which to live, or to manage a rental you own, but the process will be smoother, and for landlords the benefits far outstrip the costs. Now that you know the ins and outs of repairs and maintenance are you ready to talk to a property manager?