Why Repairs and Maintenance are so important-Landlord and Tenant Responsibilities
To quote from an excellent book about rental investing, written by Bryan M. Chavis, titled “Buy it, Rent it, PROFIT”- “The number one reason tenants renew leases is because of efficient maintenance responsiveness.”
If you look at the repairs at your own home. Despite taking good care of your own house, there is always something that needs fixing. This is because no matter how well we maintain our homes, wear and tear is inevitable due to the passage of time, the changing weather and environmental factors.
While your tenants will ensure your investment is bringing you a return, it's important to make sure you're prepared for these costs, it's essential to have a budget for maintenance and repairs that can be easily accessed for any unexpected costs.
When you consider these factors and their impact on your property’s bottom line you understand the importance of good maintenance on your property. Issues surrounding maintenance lead to a high proportion of cases at the Tenancy Tribunal.
Maintenance is a consistent responsibility; every season brings different maintenance issues with it.
Common maintenance and repairs for Landlords
Some of the most common repairs and maintenance items that are required include:
· Keeping property in a reasonable state of repair
· Security(e.g. locks)
· Pruning and tree removal
· External property work (e.g. painting, clearing gutters, external house wash, roof leaks or repairs, fence repairs).
· Chimney cleaning
· Any electrical or plumbing work not caused by tenant.
· Keeping the premises clean and tidy
· Lawns and garden maintenance i.e. weeding/general upkeep
· Replacing light bulbs and smoke detector batteries
· Intentional damage by tenant or their invited guests
What happens if a tenant damages your property?
As a landlord, you are responsible for maintaining and repairing the property to ensure it is safe and habitable for your tenants. Establishing a maintenance fund is a good idea to help cover the costs of routine maintenance and repairs. However if the damage is caused by the tenants negligence, intentional actions, or failure to report a problem that led to extensive visible damage, they may be held responsible for the costs of repairs.
At the beginning of every tenancy, we take a bond of four weeks rent, the maximum permitted, from the tenant. This money is put aside in a secure account held by Tenancy Services which we collect as part of our service and forward to the Bond Centre. If a tenant damages your property you are entitled to use this bond money for repairs.
If the extent of the damage goes above and beyond the amount set aside as bond and the tenant is unwilling to pay, we can apply to the Tenancy Tribunal to recoup the costs.
Setting Aside a Maintenance Fund
As a general guide, we recommend all our landlords set aside 10 per cent of your rental income each year for repairs and maintenance. This will provide you with a maintenance fund to cover major or minor repairs, or any period of time your property may be vacant.
Having a maintenance fund is becoming increasingly important with legislation such as the Healthy Homes Act. This Act requires all landlords to ensure their rental properties meet a minimum liveable standard. This covers five key areas: heating, insulation, ventilation, draught-stopping and moisture/drainage.
As part of setting up your maintenance and repairs fund, we would also recommend you review your existing insurance policy to ensure it reflects your responsibilities as a landlord and covers you for all eventualities.
At The Rent Shop regular property inspections by a Property Manager can definitely help in identifying potential maintenance issues early on, before they become more significant problems and address them before they turn in to more serious and costly problems. Depending on your arrangement, your property manager will contact you to seek instruction or go ahead and organise the repairs, if this is part of your maintenance agreement.
At The Rent Shop, our focus is on property management. We take care of your investment as if it was our own and will do whatever it takes to protect your investment. If you would like to know more about our comprehensive Property Management service offerings, please call our Business Development Manager Sandra Dodson on 09555-9100 or 0274776428 for a confidential chat.