As a landlord, you must make sure your rental properties are in habitable condition. That means that any time damages require your attention, you must respond as soon as possible to repair them.The best way to do this is to encourage your tenants to submit work orders and follow up on them quickly. If you don’t, you could damage your relationship with your tenants.
So, lets go over how landlords can make it easier for tenants to get repairs taken care of. By the time you’re done reading this post, you’ll be well-equipped to make positive changes to the way you handle tenant repair requests.
How Rockville Landlords Should Handle Repairs and Maintenance
Know Your Tenants’ Obligations
Your tenants’ responsibilities to you, the landlord, and to other tenants are based on a few things, including the law and the rules laid out in the rental agreement.
If your tenants fail to meet these responsibilities, you can end their tenancy and evict them.
One of the major obligations a tenant has is to keep the rental property clean, safe, and free from damage. They are not required to pay for normal wear and tear, but they must pay for repairs for any damage caused by them or one of their guests.
And they should always submit a work order to notify you of any damages that occur.
Know Your Obligations as a Landlord
You are required to make sure your rental property is habitable when the tenant first moves in, make necessary repairs, and conduct maintenance to keep your property in habitable condition.
A “habitable” property is one that meets heating, water, electricity, and cleanliness standards. It should also be structurally sound. Look to your local laws regarding these standards because they sometimes vary from city to city.
Also, be sure to provide your tenants with work order request forms to fill out whenever they have an issue that needs your attention.
Remember: you aren’t required to foot the bill for damages caused by your tenants’ carelessness and neglect.
Understand Why Maintenance is Important
Some of the only face-to-face contact you have with your tenants is when something is broken and needs to be fixed. And if those issues aren’t handled right, things can quickly go sour.
That’s what makes timely and effective maintenance so important for your relationship with your tenants. It’s the best way to impress them after they’ve been impressed enough to move into your property in the first place.
Also, depending on your state’s laws, your tenant could withhold rent until the repair is made. Or, your tenant could go around you and hire an outside party to make the necessary repairs – which would end up being deducted from their next rent check.
If the problem violates any state or local building or health codes, you could be in for a mess of legal trouble. Your tenant could contact local authorities, and you might be subject to fines or other substantial penalties.
Last, and maybe worst of all, your tenant might decide to simply move out of your rental property and end the lease agreement. This could lead to a construction eviction lawsuit against you. All the tenant needs to do is prove that uninhabitable conditions were a result of your reluctance to perform maintenance and that they left the property in a reasonable timeframe.
If you can’t put up a strong defense, you may face worse consequences than just the stress of filling a vacancy.
Assess Maintenance Issues
If your tenants know they can rely on you to take care of work orders promptly, there’s a good chance they’ll want to continue renting from you.
So, after a tenant has submitted a work order, you need to assess the seriousness of the repair. Some critical repairs you may need to make to your rental properties include:
- Waterproofing and weather protection of roof and exterior walls
- Securing the plumbing facilities (including hot/cold running water and sewage)
- Maintaining and repairing air conditioning and heating facilities
- Fixing a faulty dishwasher, washer, or dryer
- Reinforcing weak flooring in second-story units
- Keeping a working toilet, wash basin, and bathtub or shower in a ventilated room that allows for privacy
- Ensuring natural lighting in every major room through windows or skylights
- Verifying an operable deadbolt lock, smoke detector, and safe fire or emergency exit into a street or hallway
These are common maintenance issues most landlords take care of to keep their rental properties up to minimum standards.
Give Your Tenants Notice
The last thing a tenant wants is for their landlord to barge into their home without any notice. And if a landlord does, they could face a lawsuit. In Maryland, you’re required to provide notice to your tenants before you ever enter the rental property.
Always inform your tenants that you need to enter to make repairs at least 24 hours in advance, and try to provide tenants with an estimate of how long each repair will take as a courtesy. However, keep in mind that you may enter at any time without notice if the repair is an emergency.
Have a Rockville Property Management Company Handle Work Orders
Think about the time you spend handling repairs – that’s time you could be spending on more profitable tasks.
Why not devote your time to those profitable tasks by hiring someone to handle maintenance and repairs for you?
Some of your choices are to hire a contractor, hire a handyman, or have the tenant themselves perform the repair. But these range from expensive to risky.
That’s why you should look for a property management company to take care of your tenant repair requests.
To help you find the best residential property management in Rockville, MD, you should ask your potential property manager a few important questions, such as:
- What is your maintenance process?
- How do you handle emergency calls?
- What’s the average time it takes to close out a work order?
- How do you handle complaints?
- Do you provide tenants with maintenance surveys after you complete work orders?
- How many maintenance technicians do you have on staff? Or, do you use contractors?
It takes a little time and care to find the most qualified property managers in your area, but it’s worth the time you’ll get back when you’re relieved of your unwanted maintenance tasks.
Are you interested in residential property management in Rockville, MD?
If so, consider Bay Management Group. We can take care of your tenants and relieve you of unwanted property management tasks so you can save time and build a more profitable rental property business. Contact us today to learn more.