Common Rental Maintenance Issues for Tenant Occupied Properties
As a landlord, there are some problems that you will encounter more often than others. Here’s a quick look at these common rental maintenance issues, and some quick solutions to help you address them before they get worse.
Problem 1: Clogged drains
Clogged drains are among the most frequent recurring nuisances that landlords have to deal with. Sinks and bathtubs are used multiple times per day, and unless a tenant is scrupulous about drain care, clogs will inevitably develop.
Solutions: Install drain screens, give tenants clear instructions on drain care, then set a limit on the number of times per year (or other time frame) that you’ll fix this issue at your expense. If your pipes can handle chemical drain cleaners, suggest that tenants try to use these first before jumping to send out a plumber – but do make sure to suggest a cleaner that is right for your pipes! Request that tenants not pour grease down the drains, and that they clean drain stoppers and pour boiling water down all drains once a month. Proper prevention can eliminate this problem completely. You may also want to leave them a plunger at the property to use if sinks and tubs start draining slowly.
Problem 2: Lockouts
Everyone forgets their keys and ends up locked out of their house now and then. Unlike homeowners, tenants have landlords to call when they need someone to let them into their home. When a tenant lives in a large complex with onsite staff, lockouts can often be resolved without much hassle to anyone, but this is not generally the case for independent landlords.
Solutions: Provide tenants with a spare key that they can leave with someone they trust, or leave an extra key in a lockbox somewhere on the property. (If you’re worried about too many spare keys floating around, have “do not duplicate” stamped on each key, and make sure the tenant returns both keys at the end of the rental period.) Then specify in the lease that tenants are required to use a locksmith, at their own expense, in the event of a lockout that they can’t solve using these resources.
Problem 3: Pest infestations
With so many pests looking to get in—from ants and spiders, to bedbugs and fleas, to mice, squirrels, and any other form of wildlife that can fit down a chimney—it can be difficult to keep a rental property infestation free. Landlords and tenants will need to work together to help prevent the appearance of these unwelcome guests.
Solutions: To prevent mice, spiders, ants, bees, and other common household plagues from taking up residence in your rental, conduct an annual inspection of the exterior of the building, making sure to seal all possible entry points. If you have a chimney, make sure it’s properly capped. Provide tenants with information sheets on how to prevent fleas and bedbugs. In the lease, outline proper procedures for trash removal, and specify who is responsible for what in the event that an exterminator becomes necessary.
Problem 4: HVAC malfunctions
Heating and cooling systems are vital to every home, often creating emergency situations when they’re in need of repair.
Solutions: Preventative maintenance is the key when it comes to maintaining your heating and air conditioning units. Replace furnace filters every three months, and calibrate your thermostat annually. Each spring, clean your air conditioner’s evaporator, and make sure that the area around the condenser is cleared of any plant life. It’s a good idea to test heating and cooling systems each year before they’ll be needed. Turn your furnace on in late summer or early fall, and give your AC a test run in March. This way, if you do need repairs, you’ll get the cheapest rates and quickest response time from the service technicians.
Of course, there may be other problems with your rental property you encounter besides these 4 common rental maintenance issues. A professional property management company can always help you to resolve the specific issues related to your property, whether they are common rental maintenance issues or more complex problems. If you are considering a Chicago property management company, contact us today!