When you own a property, repairs are inevitable. Here are the five most common repairs you’ll need to perform for tenants:
1. Leaky pipes
Whether it’s a leak under the kitchen sink, in the bathroom, or out in a pump house, leaky pipes are common. Many leaks are caused by ill-fitting pipes and broken joints, but sometimes unintentional damage can be the cause. Other causes include:
When pipes are installed, all the connectors get wrapped in seals to prevent leakage. Over time, these seals wear out, and water can start to leak. Seals are easy to repair, and you may not even need to call a plumber. However, if you haven’t performed a specific repair before, it’s wise to call a professional plumber.
Clogged lines that burst
Some clogs can cause pipes to burst. Hopefully, you never need to deal with this kind of clog. You’ll definitely need to call a plumber, and it won’t be cheap.
Over time, rust can eat away at your pipes, and so can household drain cleaners. It’s wise to ban tenants from using drain cleaners and show them how to use a simple drain auger instead. You can buy cheap plastic augers for a few bucks, and it’s worth giving them to your tenants when they move in.
Too much water pressure
Water pressure is nice to have in the shower, but too much pressure can put a strain on your pipes and cause a leak. Have a professional contractor measure the water pressure to put your mind at ease about this one.
Frozen water expanding and contracting
Most pipes can withstand a few cycles of expansion and contraction from frozen water, but it’s not something you should bank on. If your property is located in an area where freezing temperatures are standard, make sure your tenants know to drip the faucets at night when temperatures drop below 32 degrees.
2. Broken appliances
Dishwashers, refrigerators, and stoves will start breaking down at some point. Some issues are easy fixes like replacing a burned-out lightbulb or replacing the heating element. However, other repairs will require a qualified repair technician. You can expect to pay $100 per hour for these services, but the good news is most repairs can be done in under an hour.
If you need to buy a new appliance, buy it used. Just be sure to document the cause of the service call because if the tenant caused the damage, they’ll need to pay for the replacement appliance. For example, some people use sharp objects (like an ice pick) to defrost the freezer and end up breaking through the body of the unit and causing irreparable damage.
3. A leaky roof
Roofs can leak for a variety of reasons. However, regardless of the source, leaks should be repaired immediately to prevent further damage. If you let a leak go too long, you’ll end up with problems like mold, rotted framing, and damaged ceilings.
Fixing a leaky roof is an involved process that should be done by a professional.
Finding the cause of a leaky roof is the tough part. Leaks can be caused by:
- Deteriorated materials due to age. Nothing lasts forever.
- Damaged materials due to weather fluctuations. Tar is used to seal shingles together and direct sunlight melts tar. Also, the sun can cause shingles to become brittle and crack.
- Leaky roof vent gaskets. All roof vents should be sealed with tight gaskets, but those gaskets can crack over time. Plastic vents are also susceptible to cracking.
- Wind. A shallow roof slope invites the wind to lift shingles and push the rain underneath. Some roofing projects require a double layer, so be sure to have that checked out by a professional.
- Debris, including moss and algae. Debris on the roof can trap water for a long period of time and allow it to seep into the house. Moss and algae can cause shingles to become displaced.
- Holes. If you’ve ever wondered why people don’t remove those old TV antennas from their roof, it’s because they’ll need to fix a gaping hole and it’s not always worth it. If you decide to remove an antenna, remember to seal the hole.
- Heavy snow. Sometimes a roof gives in to heavy snow. Not all snow is heavy despite the volume, so your roof could be completely okay for many years until there’s an exceptionally heavy snowfall.
- Missing shingles. Sometimes shingles become displaced and fall off the roof without your awareness.
4. A pest infestation
Dealing with a pest infestation is one of the most frustrating things you’ll need to handle as a landlord. If your property is a single family home, it’s easier to tell if the problem was created by your tenant. However, with a multi-family apartment complex, it’s difficult to identify the source since bugs travel easily through walls.
Whether it’s ants, rodents, bed bugs, termites, cockroaches, or wasps, you need a plan to handle these calls immediately. Some landlords pass the responsibility of pest control to the tenant in the lease that takes effect a few weeks after the tenants move in. Once you have to field several of these calls, you’ll want to do the same.
5. Broken garbage disposals
Garbage disposals are one of the best kitchen tools, yet are so often abused. A well-treated garbage disposal shouldn’t break often, but tenants manage to find ways to break them anyway. Some people think a garbage disposal can handle anything you give it.
Hopefully, your garbage disposal calls will be simple burned out motors or stuck blades. If you have to deal with repairs more than once, you’ll be better off ripping it out completely.
Tired of frustrating repairs? Hire a property management company
Handling repairs is a full-time job. If you’re tired of dealing with even the simplest repairs, contact Green Residential and find out how we can help.
We’ve got decades of experience managing properties for landlords who have better things to do than field repair calls at 3 am. We’ve teamed up with local contractors who are experts in their industries. Our relationship with these contractors ensures we get the best repair rates to save you money. Contact us today for a free analysis and see how we can help.