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Home · Property Management · Remodel and Repair : 6 Common Property Management Mistakes

landlord helpIn real estate, as in any business, mistakes can cost time and money.

The following is a list of the six most common mistakes landlords make when maintaining and making repairs to their property, according to San Francisco’s Fast Forward Property Management team:

1. Overpaying contractorsContractors can charge whatever they choose for any job. Therefore, to ensure a fair price, it is always advisable to get multiple bids for a project, rather than settling for the first one. To get the best value with contractors it is best to agree on an hourly rate ahead of time and agree to pay at cost for the materials.

2. Trying to save money by hiring unskilled workersOn the other hand, trying to save money by using unskilled workers can backfire. Genaro Mendoza of Fast Forward Property Management explains, If you pay someone $15 an hour for a job that takes that person 10 hours to complete, that job cost you $150. If you pay an expert $50 an hour to do that same job, but it only takes him or her 2 hours to complete it, you only spent $100 on work that is most likely of a higher caliber and therefore less likely to require repairs in the near future (which would cost you even more money). The bottom line comes down to value. A higher rate doesnt always equal a higher final bill.

3. Personally performing time-consuming repairs to save moneyLandlords with the proper skills can save a significant amount of money on labor by doing construction and maintenance work themselves. In order to save enough money to make this worthwhile, however, the job must be completed quickly. Many owners brag about how much money they saved in preparing a vacant unit for rental, but not all of them do it swiftly, in which case the money saved in labor expenses would have been negated by the weeks of rent lost due to the vacancy.

If you save $900 by doing the work yourself, but lose $1,400 in rent by not filling the vacancy promptly, you have actually lost income, .said Mendoza. Most professionals can paint a unit and replace flooring in just a few days, and then the unit can be rented.

4. Allowing tenants to do repairs themselvesWhile it is common practice to give a tenant some money off of their rent for making a repair, it exposes landlords to great risk. If someone falls from a ladder or gets injured while hired to do work, and the landlord does not have workers compensation insurance for them, then the landlord could be held personally responsible for paying for their medical bills and loss of income.

5. Not inspecting properties regularly We regularly hear stories of owners who have, after a long-term tenant moved out, found extensive damage to a unit that could have been easily prevented, says Mendoza. It is essential to inspect units (even the rented ones) regularly so that repairs can be done before further damage is done to your building.

6. Deferring maintenanceMaintenance is a significant expense for most property owners. Some landlords have an If its not broken, why fix it? mentality, but deferred maintenance will cost more in the long run, as well as lower property value. Additionally, rent in buildings that have areas in obvious need of improvement tends to be lower, and many tenants will move if their landlord will not fix things or keep their units up to date. Few things frustrate tenants more than landlords who do not respond quickly to service requests. Neglecting maintenance to save money now will cost more in the future.

This information provided by Fast Forward Property Management, a property management firm in the San Francisco Bay Area that specializes in managing apartment buildings, HOA, and commercial properties, offering more than 40 years experience.

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  • Shevy Rebollar

    In Tip #5, Not inspecting properties regularly… tip says that It is essential to inspect units (even the rented ones) regularly so that repairs can be done before further damage is done to your building.

    ……According to California Civil Code 1954, the landlord is not permitted to enter an occupied apartment unless is an emergency, requested by the tenant, persuant ot a cort order, etc….read the Civil Code 1954 for further conditions.

  • Kim

    Hi Shevy,
    I’m sure it feels like you can’t do much to protect yourself in California, but
    I think you may be reading that statute too strictly. You should be able to do a routine inspection so long as you give adequate notice — you can’t just drop in on the tenant unannounced. In fact, if you don’t and there’s something going on in there –like the tenant’s growing pot, you could get into trouble for that. It’s probably best to have the inspection schedule in your lease or house rules so the tenant knows you’ll be doing it — that could also help deter any bad behavior. Thanks for reading. Kim/AAOA Blog Editor

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