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What Monthly Services Should I Include With My Rental Property?

Greeting Valued Real Estate Investors!

Today we are going to talk about which services monthly services you might want to consider paying for as part of your rental property amenities. This article is partly a result of the tremendous response we received from an article we posted in April titled Should Rental Property Owners Pay For Pest Control? We received an incredible response from property owners who had never considered the importance of pest control and the positive affect it could have on both their property and their relationship with their tenants. But one question kept coming up…what else would be smart to pay for?

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So today we will cover whether or not you should paying for the following services…
– Electric
– Phone/Internet/TV
– Water
– Landscaping
– Pool Maintenance

Electric – NO
This is any easy one especially in South Florida because of the tremendous strain that air conditioning places on your electrical service.
However, you should recommend to your tenants that they participate in FPL’s budget billing program.  And if you have not heard of this, you should check it out for yourself, basically FPL will average your bill over the last 12 months so that instead of being really high in the summer and really low in the winter, it stays more consistent.  Another great FPL program is the vouchers they give for adding insulation, it basically makes the service free and it will help your tenant save on electricity.

Phone/Internet/TV – NO
Although there are not as many variations in that is there are in electric this is still not a good idea mostly because everyone’s TV viewing habits are different and so they need to choose the channel line up and options that are best for them.  Plus you wouldn’t want to get stuck on the phone with Comcast or AT&T more than you already have to for your own service!

Water – Maybe
This is one that is often included in rental units and with good reason.  The bill is almost always the same because people tend to use the same amount of water every day.  Another reason is that it is a small amount to pay to let tenants feel like they are getting something for free.  And one more is that because many other rentals offer it you might be losing out to competition over a nominal monthly expense if you do not offer it.

There is one caveat though to consider and that is if your rental property has a large green area that requires a lot of watering in the winter to keep from dying you may think twice about this.  On the one hand, if you have  a good sprinkler system that can efficiently manager the water distribution then the bill should not go up too much.  But if you don’t and the grass needs to be watered with a hose or portable sprinkler then you could be fighting against the current so to speak.

Landscaping – Probably
This one can hurt a little in the pocket book over the short term but it can be a major benefit over the long term. The reality is that most tenants will not invest in a good lawn mower and weed wacker because they are renting and that means they probably don’t plan to be at the property for more than a few years.  There are obviously exceptions but this tends to be the rule with single-family homes that have yards.  So if they are not going to cut it themselves then they have to choose a landscaper, and since they are probably looking to save money they may go with the cheapest option or even worse they may choose to call the landscaper only when the property is badly in need of a cut. Of course as we all know if South Florida, if you don’t properly fertilize and regularly cut your lawn it will become infested with weeds and bugs and then when the tenant moves out they will leave you with the mess to clean up.

Additionally you need to consider the long-term value of your property which is directly tied to the other values in your neighborhood.  If your lawn is constantly overgrown and nasty looking then potential buyers who are touring the neighborhood will not be interested in paying top dollar for the house down the street.  This will have a trickle down effect to your property and instead of appreciating quickly it will appreciate slowly.  and there is one more thing… your nosy neighbors will not like you and will not keep as close of an eye on your property for you.

And finally there is the old pride of ownership X-factor that comes in to play. Although your tenants do not own the property, they are going to be much happier and willing to pay more in rent if they are able to come home from work after a rough day and see a perfectly manicured lawn where they can play with their kids.  So in the end you can see why landscaping is probably a good idea to pay for even if it does cost a little in the short term, you are going to reap the benefits over the long term.

Pool Maintenance – Definitely
If you have a rental property that has a pool this one should even be a question.  Pools require regular maintenance or they will deteriorate quickly and require expensive repairs to get them back in good condition.  You cannot trust that your tenant will continue to pay a pool maintenance company if he or she experiences financial difficulty, there are far more important bills for them to pay before they worry about paying to keep your property in good condition.  So if you want to avoid some very costly repair bills you should definitely pay to make sure the pool is treated regularly.  Additionally it is an added service that you can work into the rent because you can justify a higher rent for a pool that is kept in perfect condition.

Thanks for reading and as always if you have any questions that we did not answer here today, please call us at 305-517-3900.

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