Any landlord out there will tell you just how important rental property maintenance is. You need to make sure the home is not only habitable, but comfortable to live in. All issues need to be taken care of, appliances must function adequately, pieces of chipped paint and plaster shouldn’t be falling from the ceiling, there shouldn’t be any mould covering the bathroom walls.

Well, we all know that much, but do you really know how to go about handling any problems that may arise in a rental home? As a landlord, you need to be aware of what you’re required to do to help ensure your tenants are as comfortable as can be while they’re under your roof.

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So, if you:

  • Are a landlord;
  • Want to know how to maintain your rental homes properly;
  • Are wondering who is responsible for the maintenance of a rental property;

Then read on, because this post has the answers you seek!

Who is responsible for the maintenance of a rental property?

First and foremost, you should be aware of your responsibilities as a landlord in regards to rental property maintenance. What happens if there’s mould in the bathroom? Who should take care of broken appliances? Well, there isn’t a single answer, as it all depends on the circumstances.

However, there are basic guidelines that may help you. Here is a list of what you are responsible for as a landlord, as well as what kind of maintenance is expected of your tenants:

Landlord responsibilities

  • Structural maintenance, including the roof and external walls
  • Taking care of leaks, damp and rising damp, mould, and pest control (depending on the circumstances)
  • Maintaining heating and hot water installations, gas appliances and installations, electrical wiring and installations (sockets, switches, circuits, etc.)
  • Maintaining bathroom fittings, such as basins, baths, toilets, etc.
  • Repairing drains, gutters, external and internal pipes
  • Repair of any electrical appliances, supplied by the landlord (fridge, cooker, washing machine, etc.)
  • Repairing smoke and CO2 alarms
  • Normal wear and tear repairs
  • Maintenance and repair of decor and fixtures
  • Safety checks – gas safety (annual), electrical installation safety (at least every 5 years), fire safety risk assessment

Tenant responsibilities

  • Proper use of the property
  • Avoiding damages to the best of their ability
  • Tidying and cleaning, including appliances
  • Maintenance of faucets and drains
  • Testing smoke and CO2 alarms, including changing batteries
  • Small maintenance jobs, such as changing light bulbs
  • Maintaining and repairing any furniture and appliances, owned by the tenant
  • Basic garden maintenance, such as mowing the lawn
  • Reporting any damages that occur
  • Allowing the landlord and tradesmen access to perform maintenance and repairs
  • Any other minor repairs stated in the tenancy agreement

When it comes to general maintenance and more specifics, take a look at the tenancy agreement – all details should be listed in there.

Keep this in mind – you, as a landlord, are not responsible for any damages, caused by the tenant or their guests, as well as those that result from the tenant failing to report issues.

For example, if the tenant doesn’t use the bathroom properly (fails to provide proper ventilation, etc.), which in turn causes mould to appear, then it is the tenant’s responsibility to deal with it. The same goes for electrical appliances – if the cooker breaks as a result of improper use, and not general wear and tear, then the tenant is responsible for repairing it. A faded carpet? That’s normal wear and tear. A carpet full of wine stains and cigarette burns? That’s improper use.

Let your tenants know what is expected of them and how to properly take care of their home in order to keep it in good condition and minimise the need for costly rental property maintenance.

Respond to your tenants in a timely manner

As a landlord, you need to be available and trustworthy when it comes to repairs. If you handle issues promptly, it can only improve your relationship with your tenants. Not only that, but it will also make sure the problem doesn’t turn into something more dangerous or expensive.

You should aim to respond to any rental property maintenance issue reports within 24 hours. This will let the tenants know that you are aware of the problem and will take care of it, giving them peace of mind.

As for how quickly you need to resolve the issue, that depends. If it’s not an emergency, try to have them handled within a few days. However, when it comes to emergencies and problems that can affect your tenants’ health and endanger them, take care of them immediately, or as soon as you possibly can.

Try to give your tenants at least a 24-hour notice before you enter the property to carry out any repairs and maintenance, and let them know exactly what will be done.

Don’t put maintenance off

Putting off dealing with rental property maintenance won’t result in anything good. Any small issues that you keep ignoring will only grow, ultimately requiring difficult and costly repairs. So – if you want to save yourself time, effort, and money – pay attention to every issue and don’t put off dealing with it.

Pay extra attention to your rental home during winter, as that’s when the most dangerous and costly problems can appear.

Appearing unavailable and not keeping your property in good condition will not only result in more expensive repairs, but it can also affect your relationship with your tenants. Not to mention how difficult an unkempt home would be to rent out. Want to keep your tenants happy and your property neat? Then be responsible and take care of any problems that may occur (and don’t leave them for the last second).

Perform appliance checks often

This is the same principle as not putting off any maintenance work – regularly checking up on the appliances in your rental property will make sure you catch any issues early on and avoid more expensive repairs. If possible, stick to a rental property maintenance schedule and keep track of what you’ve done and when you’ve done it.

When it comes to servicing your boilers and other electrical appliances, do so frequently. This will ensure that they are completely safe for your tenants, as well as reduce the risk of anything going wrong with them, as you’ll be fully aware of their condition.

Inspect the property regularly

Performing regular inspections will give you a good idea of the state of your rental property and what maintenance it requires. It would be great if tenants always informed you of any issues that arise, wouldn’t it? Such as when a wall needs plaster repair. Unfortunately, that’s not always the case, and they may not tell you about them until they leave, especially if the issue doesn’t greatly affect their day-to-day lives.

This is why inspections can help you deal with any problems quickly without having to rely on information, provided by the tenants. Just remember – you need to write the inspections into the contract, as well as the notice period you need to give before arriving.

Find a reputable tradesman

Shopping around for a good tradesman when it comes to rental property maintenance is essential. While “you get what you pay for” is technically true, don’t always consider the lowest or highest price to be the best (or worst) option, as there are many variables.

Hiring a rogue handyman or plumber, or only going off of price, can result in even more damage and repairs that cost an arm and a leg. So, do your research well before trusting anyone with your rental home. It really does pay off to hire a reputable tradesman with good reviews, word-of-mouth recommendations, and all the required certifications.

So, get many quotes, meet people, get recommendations from your friends, neighbours, and other landlords, and find the best option for you, your property, and your budget.

Need a hand with rental property maintenance?

If you need an experienced tradesman to help maintain your rental property, why not give Fantastic Services a call? The expert handymen we work with have a vast knowledge of their craft and can provide you with a service you can be proud of. So, whether you need a plumber, an electrician, or a decorator, we’ve got you covered! We can even take care of your gas and electrical safety certificates! So, what are you waiting for? Simply arrange your service using our online booking form and choose the perfect date and time!

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Takeaways

  • Know what your responsibilities as a landlord are and what you can expect from your tenants.
  • Aim to respond to any issue reports and resolve them quickly.
  • Don’t put off performing rental property maintenance.
  • Check on any appliances regularly.
  • Don’t forget about property inspections.
  • Shop around for a reputable tradesman.

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Did you find this post useful? Do you have any tips of your own on rental property maintenance? Let us know down in the comments!

Image source: Shutterstock / Bubbers BB

  • Last update: October 16, 2020

Posted in Home Improvement

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