There are several recurring rumors regarding rental repairs in Palm Desert and many misinformed myths misconstruing maintenance matters. While the need to perform maintenance and repairs on rental property is inevitable, they do not have to be nightmares. So let’s clear up some of the most common rental property maintenance myths:
Rental Property Maintenance Myth #1: Do-it-Yourself Repairs Always Save Money
Being able to take care of your own repairs around the house definitely comes in handy, and can be a great way to save a few bucks when managing a rental property. If you’re a skilled handyman and can handle small repairs, basic plumbing tasks or appliance fixes, by all means save yourself from calling a local tradesman to make the convenience call.
However, from the wisdom of Kenny Rogers, “You’ve got to know when to hold ‘em, Know when to fold ‘em.” Rumor has it that Kenneth wrote this song based on his experience watching his carpenter father selectively turn down jobs (ok, only part of that factoid may be true…). But the counsel still stands; even the best DIY jack- (or jill-) of-all-trades knows when to leave repairs to the pros.
Oftentimes, even if you can handle the rental property repair job yourself, does not mean you should. How much is your time worth? Even if you’ve got the time and energy to take care of the repair yourself, often it makes financial sense to let a dedicated professional handle the job. Even the most capable DIY landlords will find themselves in over their head if they try to handle every job.
Additionally, Palm Desert tenants do not care if you are saving money by doing it yourself. If you cannot confidently complete the job quickly, conveniently, and correctly, you owe it to the tenant and yourself to find a qualified technician. Of the things within your control, one of the leading causes cited by tenants leaving a rental property when the lease is up, is because of bad experiences from poor maintenance. The money you might save doing it yourself is often just a delayed (and greater) loss. The same can typically be said about the cost of hiring a full-time property manager. Sometimes it’s just a convenience, but many times the cost of hiring a professional property manager makes the most long-term financial sense as well.
Rental Property Maintenance Myth #2: Tenants are Responsible for Maintenance & Repairs
Except in certain cases such as battery and light bulb replacement, maintenance and repairs are the physical and financial responsibility of the landlord. Yes, if the tenant throws a baseball through a window, they are responsible. But even then, the landlord should be notified and handle the repair, working with the tenant for the funds, or deducting from a security deposit. But when an appliance breaks down during the tenant’s stay, it’s typically the result of years of normal wear-and-tear, in which case the landlord is responsible for the repair or replacement.
Even preventative and regular maintenance tasks that traditionally are left to residents may be better handled by the landlord or property manager. For example, just because your tenants are certainly capable of regularly replacing smoke detector batteries and furnace filters does not mean they will remember to do so. If you are not replacing these items during a regularly scheduled inspection, providing new batteries and filters at regular intervals will encourage your residents to do so.
Also, do not forget the outside. Trees grow, gutters accumulate debris, faucets and sprinkler systems leak, and bees build hives. Keep an eye out for small problems inside and out to nip in the bud now, as well as identify potential future problems to either prevent or plan for.