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Should Apartment Tenants Make Building Repairs?

Should Apartment Tenants Make Building Repairs?

If you own rental property, you may have experienced months where you simply have too much on your plate. When your tenants come to you with maintenance requests, you may be tempted to let them make repairs themselves. Perhaps you are low on cash, or maybe your maintenance team is busy with other work.

While it may seem expedient to ask the tenant to perform the repairs, this is often a less favorable idea. We’ve put together a list of reasons why. We recommend reading carefully, as getting swamped occurs more frequently than many landlords would like.

Tenants that Repair Locks won’t Always Meet the Security Standard

If you grant a tenant the authority to replace a lock, you are inviting disaster into your operation. First of all, you likely won’t have the opportunity to vet the tenant as a locksmith properly. A professional locksmith (or your experienced maintenance person) will be able to ensure proper installation. Your lock will be secure, and the home and residents will be safe. However, a faulty lock could put the residents in danger, their possessions at risk, and invite a lawsuit.

Even if the tenant installs the lock correctly, you still need to ensure they purchased the correct type of lock. Even if they do, you have no guarantees that they haven’t made more keys than necessary. Also, even if they haven’t, you cannot vouch for the security of those keys throughout the process.

There are many ways that the installation could go wrong, and any such problem could come back as a lawsuit. Always have your maintenance person install the lock. This ensures that you are responsible for the lock and keys, and allows you to control the variables. As a result, you’ll have peace of mind.

Tenants May Not Uphold Your Standard of Appearance

A tenant may not align with your property’s aesthetic as you will. Your property is your brand, and maintaining its beauty is essential for your business model. If your tenants perform repairs, they may fall short of the standard you have set. If that happens, you’ll find yourself paying for those repairs twice. You’re better off getting it right the first time.

Consider paint, for example. You choose specific colors for your property to give it a particular look. Even with careful instruction, your tenant may change that look with a paint that’s not quite the same tone. They may do this by accident through poor mixing, or on purpose. They may also choose a completely different color. By letting them pick and apply paint, you offer them control of your operation and your bottom line.

The same goes for any other kind of cosmetic repair. If the apartment has holes in its drywall, or scratches on a countertop, can your tenant repair them? The tenant does not have your financial and operational goals in mind; they’re just trying to run a household. That often means that they’ll be unwilling to put in the time and money necessary to ensure a proper repair. What looks shabby to you might look just fine to them.

Functionality and Safety are Not the Same

The point of repairs is not merely to ensure something works. You can ask a tenant to fix a leaky toilet, and they may be able to stop a visible leak. But if there’s still a leak somewhere inside the floor, you’ll be facing financial catastrophe, and could endanger people’s lives.

The stakes get even higher if you’re talking about smoke alarms, HVAC problems, or an electrical issue. There is just no way you can take a chance on a tenant with repairs that require a professional. Water, fire, gas, and electricity have the power to destroy your entire building. Also, ineffective repairs can also invite pests or mold into the structure. So, you have no choice but to take personal responsibility for your operations. In many cases, the law will require you to do so.

Choosing Tenants for Repairs is Not Always Ideal

If you ask a tenant to perform repairs, they will eventually bring you a receipt and tell you they’re done. At that point, you’ll have to send someone to inspect their work. If it’s poor quality, you’ll have to ask your staff to do the job a second time. As a result, when your staff performs the repairs, you won’t have to do this.

If the tenant invoices you for their labor hours, you’ll have no way of knowing how long they worked. But let’s assume the invoice is accurate. If the job is done by someone inexperienced, they may take a long time to do a task that your staff could do in five minutes.

There are other reasons why you should always give repair assignments to your staff. Essentially, all of these reasons amount to the same thing: Control. Your property is your financial asset, and you need to protect it. Introducing new variables into the situation that are beyond your control is foolish. Find yourself a reliable teammate (or team) to help you maintain your property, and pay them well. It’s worth your bottom line, and your peace of mind.

With the help of a reputable property manager like MGR, you will never have to worry about dealing with the protocol surrounding tenants making repairs. For more peace of mind in knowing your property is in excellent hands, contact us today.

By |2018-12-14T20:49:38-08:00December 18th, 2018|Property Management Tips & Tricks|Comments Off on Should Apartment Tenants Make Building Repairs?

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The MGR Review is designed to bring you the top news and tips regarding property management and real estate in Southern California. Our near forty years of experience in these industries give us a keen insight on how best to succeed. Let us know if there is a topic you would like us to discuss!