Property Management Repairs and Maintenance
There are many responsibilities of owning rental properties for landlords. This is true whether the property is a small apartment building, a single large complex, or if the landlord owns several rental properties. Landlords that hire a highly-qualified property management company likely trust that company to handle important responsibilities. Some responsibilities typically include listing the unit for rent, tenant screening, and monthly rent collection.
Another responsibility that landlords need to consider is the importance of the property maintenance and repairs. Understanding the services of your property management company and the issue of property repairs is important for a number of reasons. Do property management companies pay for repairs? Are they even responsible for the property management repairs and maintenance? Landlords need to know the answers to these important questions so that they know who to rely on for which services, and to comply with their responsibilities as a landlord.
Property Management Company Responsibilities
The responsibilities of a property management company relieve landlords of many duties that they may not always be able to perform, or would simply rather delegate the responsibilities to the staff of an experienced property management company. The services provided by a property management company allows landlords to rent their property to the best-qualified tenants after applicants complete the basic rental application, and after each prospective tenant passes the tenant background check. Landlords no longer have to rely on having to stock a drawer full of old tenant applications that may not ask all the proper questions that will help to determine which applicants will be the best tenants.
There are a wide variety of other forms that are offered by the American Apartment Owners Association, some of them include:
- Rental Application
- Notice of Lease Violation
- Rent Receipt
- Pay or quit notice
- State-Specific Residential Lease Agreement
Many legal forms needed by landlords are offered free to AAOA members.
Property management goes a long way beyond just providing forms and screening tenants. Some other property management company responsibilities likely include providing access to the company’s state-specific legal forms and education, including the laws governing landlords and tenants of every state. Property management news, along with regular updates, keeps landlords and property owners informed of current real estate news and real estate management tips.
Providing property management software options allow landlords to further reduce stress that may be related to managing their rental properties. These property management solutions often include services such as online rent collection, renters insurance information, and work order management.
Property Maintenance and Repairs
Property management companies may facilitate tenant requests for property repairs, but this facilitation of the work order request is where the role of a property management company ends concerning property maintenance services. Landlords that are not qualified to do the necessary repairs to their properties, or that perhaps resides in an area other than where the rental property is located need to hire an experienced, qualified property maintenance company.
It is essential for landlords to quickly respond to maintenance requests from tenants. One reason is that failure to respond to make necessary repairs
as soon as possible may make many situations worse. Another reason to hire a property maintenance service company is that landlord tenant law requires that landlords maintain their rental properties in safe, habitable condition at all times. Some landlords may consider asking the tenant to perform minor repairs, especially if the tenant is responsible for the damage. A landlord that does this is facing the fact that the tenant is not qualified to make the repairs and any consequences. If a tenant experiences an injury while attempting a repair, do you want to be liable for their injuries?
Although some state laws vary somewhat on the responsibilities of landlords to keep their rental properties maintained, every state requires that landlords abide by the laws of the particular state. One example is the statutes in the State of New York. The state requires property owners to “keep all and every part of a dwelling and the lot on which it is situated in good repair, clean and free from vermin, rodents, dirt, filth, garbage, or other thing or matter dangerous to life or health.”
Similarly, the State of Ohio requires that all landlords, “Make all repairs and do whatever is reasonably necessary to put and keep the premises in a fit and habitable condition,” and that they also “Maintain in good and safe working order and condition all electrical, plumbing, sanitary, heating, ventilating, and air conditioning fixtures and appliances, and elevators, supplied or required to be supplied by the landlord.”
Another example of the requirements of landlords comes from the State of Nevada, which provides statutes relative to any landlord that fails to maintain their rental properties in safe and habitable condition.
Property management companies provide many services that help landlords to comply with laws in the state where the rental property is located, and to maintain the premises in safe and sanitary condition. Some services and property repairs offered by a property maintenance management company typically include:
- Regular yard and lawn maintenance
- Common upkeep of the premises and each apartment during a tenancy
- Cleaning apartments between tenants
- Plumbing and electrical upkeep and repairs
- Heating and air conditioning checks and repairs
There are other repairs and services that many landlords are likely glad to delegate to a property maintenance company. Some examples include tenant lockouts, the repair of appliances that are provided by the landlord, emergency repairs that include after hours or weekend maintenance service needs, and water emergencies such as leaks or flooding in an apartment.
Hiring a Reputable Property Maintenance Company
Landlords often know how to hire a reputable property management company, but may not know what to look for when considering the ideal property maintenance company. There are several qualities to look for, the first of which is to make sure that they are a company with experience. Make sure that they have references. Some other qualities to look for in a company that performs property management repairs and maintenance are similar to those listed in a Consumer Reports article on how to hire a remodeling contractor for your home repairs and remodeling needs.
Consumer Reports suggests making sure that the company is properly licensed and has other important documentation such as insurance. Avoid chasing the low ball is another piece of excellent advice. There is potentially a good reason for that saying that “you get what you pay for,” which you likely do not want to risk when considering a company to perform property maintenance and repairs.
Make sure that there is a contract drawn up when hiring a company to manage the maintenance and repairs of your rental properties. Landlords that fail to insist on an initial contract and to keep the agreement with the property maintenance company updated may discover that they made an expensive mistake.
There are specific points to include in any property maintenance company and landlord agreement that may not be initially considered by the parties. You do not want your tenants with a flooded apartment or with no heat on a cold night to get a voice mail at 5:15pm after the office closes at 5pm, or on the weekend when the landlord office is closed until Monday morning. Make sure that there will always be someone available to respond to maintenance and repair calls 24 hours a day, including weekends and holidays in the event of an emergency maintenance or repair situation.
Are you in need of a company to perform upgrades to the property exterior or to remodel a rental property? This is also something to discuss with your property maintenance service company. Some companies perform only basic maintenance and repair services, while others may offer more extensive services beyond the typical routine upkeep of rental properties.
For more information about rental property management check out AAOA’s Landlord’s Guide to Rental Property Management guide.
The AAOA helps landlords find reputable vendors that specialize in services such as property maintenance and repairs. Members have access to an extensive national listing, allowing landlords to find the right professional for their needs, no matter where the rental property is located in the country.