No one wants to live in a home that is falling apart or disgusting. So many landlords neglect the proper maintenance of their rental homes just to save a little extra money. Recently in an article from The Connecticut Post,
“New York Gov. Andrew Cuomo declared a state of emergency last week at the New York City Housing Authority, saying its 400,000 tenants have had to endure gaps in basic maintenance that have left some units barely fit for habitation.”
You certainly don’t want your tenants saying your home is “barely fit for habitation.” So what steps can New Haven property managers take to keep their rental homes looking great on the inside and out, while also saving a little cash? Real Property Management Southern Connecticut wants to share these five keys to cost-effective maintenance.
KEY #1: Prepare the Property
When tenants move out, and before new tenants move in, you need to walk through your property and take care of all health and safety issues. As a property manager, you are responsible for meeting all required Habitability Laws. These laws say that you must provide the following for your tenants:
- Running water
- Protection from the elements
- A residence free of mold, noise, and garbage
- No noxious smells
- Carbon monoxide and smoke detectors that work properly
In addition to the habitability laws, you should be sure all doors and windows on the property open and shut correctly. For added security, you must re-key the property before new tenants move in. You also need to inspect the outside of the rental home and trim any trees that might fall on the house in the event of severe weather. Look for anything inside and outside the home that could potentially be a safety hazard, and remedy the problem areas. Not only will you protect yourself from future fees and lawsuits, but you’ll also be speeding along the leasing process since clean, secure, well-maintained homes rent more quickly.
Part of preparing your property and making it a healthy and safe place to live is cleaning it. You might have checked all the doors and windows, but if they’re covered in grime, many tenants will not feel that you’re providing a healthy living environment. You can choose to clean the home yourself or hire professional carpet cleaners and a house cleaning service that will do a satisfactory job. You don’t want tenants walking into your home finding stained carpet, dust everywhere, and cords hanging out of the ceiling. You want a tenant’s first impression of your home to be a positive one, and part of that is providing tenants with a clean, safe, healthy place to live.
KEY #2: Plan for Maintenance Costs
Edmond Mbiaka said, “Always prepare yourself for a financial emergency, even when you don’t see a possibility of a rainy day in your future.” Rainy days are inevitable in property management. So what happens in life when you don’t set aside money for a rainy day? That’s when the dishwasher will break, the garage door won’t open, the toilet won’t flush, etc. A lot of landlords make the common mistake of not setting aside money for maintenance costs. They think they will take care of each problem as it happens, and then they find themselves overwhelmed with credit card bills. A smart rule of thumb is to set aside the equivalent of one or two month’s rent to pay for maintenance expenses. By putting money away little by little, you will avoid racking up bills on your credit card or shelling out the big bucks for major repairs. You should also have a fund for “make ready” costs when tenants move out. If your home is more than ten years old, set aside a little extra to cover maintenance problems.
KEY #3: Smart New Haven Property Managers Proactively Catch Problems
The definition of the word ‘proactive’ is: creating or controlling a situation by causing something to happen rather than responding to it after it has happened. As a landlord, you don’t want to just respond to maintenance issues after they happen. You want to prevent them from happening if you can! When you ignore maintenance issues, it usually leads to more expensive repairs later on. The best way to deal with your rental home maintenance is with a proactive approach. You should conduct routine property inspections where a licensed inspector can check that everything is functioning correctly in the home. The inspector should assess the following:
- Water heaters
- Air conditioners
- Windows and doors
- Safety hazards
- Any other maintenance issues the tenant wants to have addressed
At Real Property Management Southern Connecticut, we recommend regular property inspections every four months. We also suggest conducting seasonal maintenance to prepare for the cold Connecticut winter months and before the summer hits. Be sure you give your tenants plenty of notice and reminders about the routine property inspections.
Go the Extra Mile
Take the extra time to get to know the quirks and traits of your property before tenants move in. Does the door to the garage have a hard time shutting when the temperature is cold? Does the radiator make a weird noise during the day? Are there shingles on the roof that are coming loose? New Haven property managers should note the items in and around your property that may not need to be replaced yet, but might in the near future. That way you can alert your tenants to the habits of your property and let them know when they should notify you. Catch small problems before they grow, and you’ll save yourself time, money, and hassle.
KEY #4: Respond Immediately to Your Tenant’s Concerns
Want to know the #1 reason tenants leave a rental home? You guessed it, ignored maintenance!
It’s your job as a landlord to respond quickly to your tenant’s maintenance requests. So what if you can’t be available 24/7 to answer those emails and phone calls? Unlike other property management companies, landlords in Connecticut know they can trust the experts at Real Property Management Southern Connecticut to listen and respond to their tenant’s needs quickly and efficiently. We are experts at handling those tenant emergencies and late night phone calls. We take care of the problem as soon as possible, making sure you comply with all regulations. Our 24/7 maintenance hotline allows us to answer emails and phone calls from your tenants no matter the time of day to be sure the problem is addressed right away. This reduces your risk and liability, improves your tenant retention, and helps you and your tenant keep up a cordial relationship.
KEY #5: Preferred Pricing and National Discounts
We’ve been in the property management business for over 25 years, so we can give all of our landlords preferred pricing and national discounts on everything, including:
Instead of calling up a plumber that you’ve never used before, or paying full price for a new oven for your tenants, use our discounts and save yourself money and headaches.
Hire Real Property Management Southern Connecticut & You’ll Notice the Difference
Too many landlords avoid needed maintenance to save money. When you put us to work for you, we’ll save you money with our cost-effective maintenance. We promise to help New Haven property managers:
- Prepare their Property
- Plan for Maintenance Costs
- Proactively Catch Problems
- Respond Immediately to their Tenant’s Concerns
- With our Preferred Pricing and National Discounts
When your property is well-maintained, tenants will be more likely to respect it as you do. Appliances break, systems wear out, and things happen! Don’t break the bank trying to take care of the maintenance on your rental property. Don’t fall for all the other property management companies out there who don’t keep their promises. Put our proven processes and experienced team to work for you today!
We are pledged to the letter and spirit of U.S. policy for the achievement of equal housing opportunity throughout the Nation. See Equal Housing Opportunity Statement for more information.