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Investing in Rental Property: The Price of Ignoring Multifamily Property Repairs

Image of water damage to drywall that can lead to big problems when investing in rental property.

Investing in rental property isn’t a one-and-done proposition. Ignoring rental property repairs and maintenance can lead to bigger, more expensive repair problems down the road.

What are the penalties from ignoring those seemingly small-ish repairs around the multifamily property? What about the not-so-small ones that have grown over time because you thought they could stand to be put off just a bit longer? You may be surprised at just how big the price tag can become.

10 Tasks to Protect Your Portfolio When Investing in Rental Property

Here are 10 common small-ticket tasks that can turn into major repair issues if ignored when investing in rental property:

  1. Smoke detector testing and replacement. Apartment fires can be dangerous and devastating, but working smoke detectors can limit risk to residents and property. Schedule monthly smoke detector inspections to test, replace batteries with every time change, and replace detectors every 10 years. A small investment like this can save you and your residents lots of heartache and loss with just one early detection.
  2. Water leak repairs. One leaky faucet might not seem like a big deal, but water is the enemy of any man-made structure. Water leaks can cause thousands of dollars in damage in short order, so encourage tenants to report any leaks quickly, and make repairs a maintenance priority. Watch water meters for unusual spikes in usage, and consider that a sign you’ve got a leak to find.
  3. Water heater maintenance. Traditional water heaters last about 10 years, but their lifespan can be cut short by hard water deposits and improper temperature settings. Schedule an annual water heater maintenance flush to prolong the life of heating elements and delay water heater replacement that can easily run $1,000-3,000.
  4. Regular HVAC system checks. Reduce service calls and maximize the life of HVAC systems by providing routine inspections and cleaning for your rental properties. Your residents will be comfortable year-round, and your bottom line will thank you. Remind residents to change air handler filters every 30 days.
  5. Pipe freeze protection. Enlist residents to help maintain inside temperatures above 55 degrees when there’s a freeze warning, and make sure external spigots and exposed pipes are wrapped to prevent catastrophic freeze damage.
  6. Garbage disposal usage tips. Provide residents with tips on what can go into a garbage disposal, and what can’t. Encourage them to call as soon as there’s trouble, to avoid major water damage from a backed up disposal that prevents a dishwasher from draining.
  7. Toilet tips and quick maintenance. A running toilet tank due to an improper flange seal can send water bills skyrocketing. In addition, tenants and unsupervised children tend to flush things that can damage your sewage and septic systems, so offer tips to renters to keep their toilets functioning properly. Address any running tanks or leaks with the same urgency you would a leaky pipe.
  8. Electrical problem prevention. Local building codes usually require ground-fault circuit interruptor (GFCI) outlets within a certain proximity to water, so make sure when investing in rental property that your electrical systems are protected. Go the extra mile by providing light bulbs for tenants, to control energy usage and wattage and avoid overheated bulbs.
  9. Pest management. Sign up for regular pest control treatments to avoid costly infestations. Enforce strict trash management policies, and hire a pest management service to maintain rodent bait stations near dumpsters and other areas where rodents travel. Insect and rodent damage can quickly make investing in rental property a high-dollar venture, so prevention is key.
  10. Drywall repairs and replacement. Add a thorough drywall damage inspection to your make-ready checklist to ensure that walls are in good repair. While small holes can be patched, sometimes it’s better to replace sections of drywall, especially in wet areas where a leak or other water damage has compromised the integrity of your wall structure.

An Ounce of Prevention Goes a Long Way

When investing in rental property, preventive maintenance tasks can seem tedious, but can pay dividends. Deferred maintenance and shortcuts can lead to bigger problems later, including damage to your property’s reputation and resale value.

Want to reduce the likelihood of unexpected financial surprises like these? Get the responsive and attentive care your tenants and property deserve from the professionals at Class A Management.