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When to Pay for Minor Repairs on your Income Property

Greetings Real Estate Investors!

Today we want to talk about a somewhat painful subject that we think we can turn into a positive one for you…Paying for Minor Repairs.
Ouch that hurts right?  Even to think about your hard earned money coming out of your pockets is something that no investor wants to deal with.  But it’s a fact of life and even more a fact of owning property…stuff breaks.  Whether it is through normal wear and tear or from neglect or abuse, the law of entropy remains…all things break down.

A Common Question…
So a common question we get from our clients is how much of a repair are they responsible for an how much is a tenant responsible for?
The most common legal answer and one that should be written on any solid lease agreement is that the tenant is responsible for repairing anything they damage regardless of price or for anything that breaks down from normal use that is less than $100.

So for example if your tenant’s son pushes his brother into the drywall and opens a hole then they must pay for it no matter the cost.  But if the pipes under the bathroom sink have begun leaking because of age and a plumber is required at a rate of $200 then you should pay to replace it.

Another common tenant covered “repair” is the replacement of Air Conditioner filters, since they should be changed every few months and cost less than $100.

The Smart Landlord
But this is where the smart landlord will take stock of their relationship with their tenant and decide not to be penny wise and pound foolish as the old saying goes.

Most successful landlords will tell you that they actually pay for and in some cases have someone install new air filters every 3 months.  There are two reasons for doing this, one is economic and the other is “big picture”…

The pragmatic reason is most tenants do not remember to replace air filters regularly which means that the A/C is going to keep working harder and harder (especially in the hot summer months) and it will eventually require an expensive repair or even a total replacement much sooner that it would have if the filters were changed regularly.

The “big picture” reason is that small gestures can yield large returns. So if you are willing to pay for something minor there is a good chance that you are going to have an easier time when trying to raise the rent on a yearly basis.  Think of the conversation that will happen in the kitchen when you notify them of the rent increase when they say “Well you know what remember when we had that problem and they took care of it for us?  It’s hard a to find a good landlord.” And of course a regular rent increase is worth far more than the minor expenses of small repairs.

The Fine Line
Of course there is a fine line to walk here, tenants can and will abuse landlords who give in to easily so they key is to be aware of your relationship by monitoring expenses and communication.  All of this can be done with the help of our PropertyWare web based management system.  And to make sure you are on top of any problems that arise we have a 24/7 Emergency Hotline so that your tenants can always call when they need something and you will only be bothered if it is an actual emergency.
For more information on how our services can take your real estate investment business to the next level please call us at 305-517-3900!

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