Rental Property Repairs That Will Break the Bank

Owning a rental property is more often than not a lucrative business.  That is, after all, why so many Maryland landlords continue financing rental properties.

However, as a landlord, you will never escape routine maintenance repair bills and as many come to find out, some repairs leave a larger hole in your pocket than expected.

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As a landlord, it is your responsibility to maintain the property and fix things when they break.  If you are using a reliable property management company such as Bay Management Group, then the likelihood that any catastrophic damage will occur to your property is minimal.  Routine maintenance checks, 24/7 maintenance support, and trustworthy contractors come with your property management services and help to ensure that not only your tenants are taken care of, but your home is as well.

There are, however, some major repairs that can damage your rental income profit instantly.  Today we will discuss some of the top rental property repairs that will leave any landlord with an empty wallet and some ways to help prevent those repairs from occurring in the first place.

Foundational Repairs

“A house divided against itself cannot stand.”

Those famous words uttered by Abraham Lincoln apply in today’s modern world to the foundation upon which your Maryland rental property stands.  Unfortunately, many landlords are unaware that their rental homes are starting to shift until major issues present themselves.  Here are some early indications that your rental property’s foundation may be experiencing a change:

  • Difficulty opening and closing windows and doors.
  • Irregular cracks in the drywall on the interior of your rental.
  • Uneven cracks in your flooring.

There are many factors that play a role in your rental property’s foundation shifting such as an improperly laid foundation, drainage problems resulting from neglected gutters, and leaking pipes causing too much water to puddle around your  property’s foundation.

It is critical that you maintain the exterior of your home at all times, routinely checking for extensive water damage and ensuring proper drainage in all areas of the home, both inside and out.  This includes making sure that there are no water leaks and that your yard is properly graded so that water runoff is directed away from your property’s foundation.  It is also important to inform your tenants of their maintenance responsibilities when it comes to the exterior of your home as well as making timely maintenance requests if necessary.

Potential Damage Costs:  Upwards of $40,000

Sewer Lines

The portion of public sewer line that extends from your rental property onto city property is often your responsibility should any damages occur.  In fact, Baltimore County will only repair the portion of sewer line that is in the public right-of-way; anything inside the property boundary is the property owner’s responsibility.

Public-Sewer-Lines

If your tenant complains about slow or gurgling drains, frequent plumbing backups for no known reason, or a foul sewage smell outside of your rental property, it is suggested you have a professional inspect your sewer lines for damage.

Often found in older neighborhoods, sewer line problems can be caused by deteriorating sewer lines that have cracked, become clogged, or have been damaged by large tree roots.  Though removing a large tree from outside of your rental property or resolving a clogged line may come at a hefty price, it is better than the costly maintenance bill of cleanup should an entire sewer line bust within your property line.

The damage from sewer backup, both inside and outside of your home is not one you want to contend with, and though your homeowner’s insurance policy may cover some of the cost, a quick find before the problem explodes is a safer scenario all around.

Two of the best ways to prevent sewer line maintenance issues along your rental property’s boundaries are to have lines inspected annually for any signs of leaks or cracks and to always contact the local water and sewage company before digging for a landscaping project.

Potential Damage Costs:  Upwards of $15,000 or more

Roof Repairs

Roofing issues can become one of the most inconvenient rental property repairs you will deal with.  Not only can the damage be extensive and costly, it must be resolved quickly if it is creating an unsafe living environment for your tenants.

Here are some of the most common reasons your rental property’s roof may experience damage:

  • Roof leaks and moisture buildup
  • Improper flashing installation
  • Shrinkage or blistering due to extreme weather conditions
  • Aging of materials
  • Poor ventilation
  • Lack of maintenance care (gutter cleaning, leaks, overhanging tree limbs, etc.)

Your roof’s shingles are apt to cause you the most grief over time.  As shingles age or fall off, your roof becomes vulnerable to rot damage.  If left untreated, you might  face having to endure an entire roof replacement.

In order to maintain your property’s roof to its highest standards (and save money in the long run), regularly check for loose/cracked/missing shingles, penetration leaks, gaps in sealant, proper nail attachment, leaks in the attic, water stains or discoloration in roofing deck, and even check for stains on the interior of your home.

Potential Damage Costs:  Upwards of $15,000

Furnace Repair

Heat during the cold winter months in Maryland is vital to your tenants.  If your tenant notices that the early mornings have become extra chilly, it might be time to take a look at your rental property’s heating source: the furnace.

Professionally installing a brand new furnace is one of the most expensive rental property repairs you might ever encounter.  However, there are some helpful troubleshooting tips to try before shelling out some of your hard earned cash on a shiny new appliance:

  • Make sure the thermostat is set to “Heat” and the temperature is high enough to ignite the furnace.
  • Regularly check and replace filters (buildup on filters limit airflow and can burn out a working furnace).
  • Ensure power is being supplied.
  • Check the circuit breaker and reset if necessary.
  • Make sure the furnace “light switch” is turned on.

It is important to note that if your rental property’s furnace does stop working, it could be for something as minor as a pilot light going out to something as serious as a gas leak.  If you are unsure about what to do and troubleshooting has not helped, call a professional that can thoroughly examine your furnace for maintenance issues.

Potential Damage Costs:  Upwards of $8,000 for professional installation

Water Damage

Water has the ability to damage any and all parts of your rental property.  Wood, drywall, flooring, and more can be ruined if left unchecked.

Water can easily seep into your property through a roof leak, an unsealed window, or via leaky pipes within the walls of your property.  Damage can also be more obvious when a toilet overflows, a washing machine floods, or a pipe under the sink bursts.

Though it can be difficult to measure how much water damage will cost you as far as repairs are concerned, it is crucial your tenants know that any type of water damage no matter how minor it seems, is to be taken seriously.  Even in small amounts, moisture can cause mold and contaminate your home leading to expensive remediation repairs and potentially unsafe living environments for your tenants.

As a landlord, it is important that leaks get repaired when first noticed, rotten wood, or water stains get addressed immediately, and repairs be made before any long-term damage occurs.

Potential Damage Costs:  Upwards of $6,000 or more

There is a lot that goes into financing rental properties in Maryland and unfortunately maintenance repairs (even costly ones) cannot be avoided.  If you own a rental property in the Maryland area save yourself the headache and enlist your favorite Baltimore County property management group to help ease your mind when it comes to managing and resolving such costly repairs as the ones mentioned above.

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Bay Management Group provides round-the-clock maintenance to address all of your tenants’ concerns, a qualified maintenance crew to properly diagnose issues and resolve them correctly, and routine inspections of both the interior and exterior of your property to ensure your tenants are properly caring for your rental.  Using them will give you the peace of mind that if repairs costs do pop up, they will be resolved quickly and costs will be as minimal as possible.


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