Holiday Maintenance Everything A Landlord Needs To Know

Posted on Tuesday, December 3 2013

With Christmas looming fast and the prospect of some sun, surf and relaxation on most of our minds now is a good time to ensure you have your rental maintenance or even for that matter home maintenance covered for the break and into 2011

There are some basic issues that many landlords overlook at this time of year that include burglar alarms if they are installed, security checks, providing emergency call out numbers for tenants if the property is not managed by a property manager and even small things like ensuring the tenant knows where the water main is on the property and how to shut it off and where the electrical switchboard is and how to turn on and off the breakers.

Let’s break these down so and ensure you have done everything so you can have a hassle free holiday from your tenant or property manager.

Burglar Alarms – If these are not monitored are they actually working and have they been recently tested (i.e. are the batteries ok?)The cost of a service call out is minimal just make sure you use a reputable company and someone local to the property if they need to attend again to keep your costs down. However if your alarm is monitored make sure it has been serviced and that the company monitoring it is actually doing just that (you pay for this service) and always make sure there are stickers on your windows and doors giving full warning that the property is alarmed as most burglars want an easy life so will move on to the next property. Make sure tenants and neighbours have the alarm company’s details in case the alarm is faulty so it can be sorted without you needing to be involved.

Security – Some locksmiths provide a residential security inspection service for around $100.00 which will cover all aspects of your property. This is one of our most popular services our company provides as not only does your tenant feel safe and secure in their home but you equally have knowledge that your property is secure and that it is less likely to be broken into as well. You are also able to provide your insurance company with a copy of the report should anything happen to your property to reinforce your diligence as a landlord and have any claims paid subsequently. Just make sure you do fix any items that are highlighted on the report. Security lights should always be operational as these are your second biggest deterrent after alarms. If you don’t have any then get at least one installed at each entrance and one by any garage as well.

Water Mains – Always make sure your tenants and neighbours if possible know where this is located and how to shut it off. The amount of damage done by a burst pipe can be enormous in a short space of time and anything on your side of the boundary is at your cost to repair. I am often amazed at how many landlords and property managers who don’t know where their mains are and it’s just too late when an incident happens.

Electrical Switchboard – A call out on a weekend or public holiday can cost you well over a $150.00 just to have a circuit breaker reset. That’s dumb so make sure the tenants know where the electrical switchboard is and how to reset a breaker and or have a spare fuse or two of different sizes by the board so they can change them if necessary. If you then need an electrician you can sort one for the next working day at a far less cost to you. If your tenants are going away encourage them to use 24 hour timers with lamps so they come on at various times and even provide them if you feel it will help keep your investment and their home safe for the period they will be away.

Most importantly make sure your tenants have emergency numbers for contractors that you want them to contact if you manage your property yourself. These contractors should have a clear set of questions they ask your tenants before going out to site and charging you and they should be trustworthy and be clear that you are an investor and that this is a business.

So now let’s have a look at what you can do if you are financially challenged and will be staying around home or near your rental property over the Christmas holidays. Firstly it’s a great time if tenants are going away for a period of time to get access and do all those small maintenance jobs that are needed. Most tenants won’t look after a property as well as a home owner so the gardens may need a good tidy up and a bit of elbow grease from you once a year isn’t a bad thing for a landlord. Perhaps it’s time to paint the front fence or replace the mailbox remember that tenants like to be house proud as well and if you put in the effort a small rent increase in the new year may just fly through with little objection as they appreciate you spending your holiday time maintaining their home. You could also Chem Wash the property and make it look fresh and appealing (this also helps to lengthen the time in between you will need to repaint your home generally).Get the chimney swept for the New Year and keep your insurance company happy whilst you have the opportunity.

If you can gain access inside have a really good look around and ask the tenant to list all issues that they are aware of ( don’t be afraid) and then deal with the simple ones first and then move onto the harder stuff from there. Remember if the list was 10 and you completed 7 and you have a schedule for the other 3 what happy tenants you will have when they get back from holidays. Always check for water damage in all wet areas including under all sinks in bathrooms and leaking toilets. This damage really adds up and will cost a lot if left for any period of time. If unsure get a professional such as a builder or plumber to take a look for you. It’s hard to see signs of roof leaks in summer but water marks on the ceiling are a sure sign and again these need to be sorted by a professional. Even if you use a property manager you should visit your property regularly if at all possible and ensure you are happy as the landlord and owner that the property is being maintained to a good standard after all it’s your investment, your income and your business isn’t it?

Try to remember that all property has maintenance costs and that dealing with issues on a regular basis or annually at such times at Christmas holidays can mean larger costs and bills being avoided. It is very easy to have an annual maintenance plan for your properties either residential or commercial for that matter the key is to be diligent in your actual maintenance.

All of what I have shared above can be used on your own home or your bach as you will probably be there over the holiday period anyway. For more information on property maintenance or to find out the 6 Biggest Maintenance Mistakes that investors make go to www.MaintainToProfit.co.nz/AnnualMaintenance for some more great free information.

Happy and safe holidays to you all and we look forward to catching up with you all in 2012 and remember “Be A Wise Landlord”

By Mark Trafford
Director
Maintain To Profit,

Websites: www.MaintainToProfit.co.nz

 

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