Please click the following link if you are interested in joining the Thayer & Associates Team: Careers

hammer with nails
June 20, 2023

Should Tenants Handle Their Own Maintenance?

As a landlord, being called upon for building maintenance issues is a regular, though sometimes exhausting, part of the job. Sometimes the repair is a big one, like a broken toilet or faulty heating. Other times it’s small things like a dripping faucet or flickering overhead lights. Are these really your problems to take care of? What if the tenant wants to do it? You could save yourself a lot of time and money, right?

Well, there are some things you should probably consider before giving your tenants permission to handle their own major maintenance.

Could Cause Bigger Issues

Unless your tenant is a trained plummer, woodworker, or electrician, doing their own maintenance could end up causing more problems than they fix. Of course, most adults responsible enough to pay their own rent can be trusted to change a lightbulb or use a plunger to unclog a toilet. But there are some jobs that, in untrained hands, could end up costing you more time and money than you’d save having your renter take care of it.

Let’s take plumbing as an example. The showerhead in your tenant’s apartment has developed a slow, steady drip and they want it taken care of. Plumbers are expensive, often charging anywhere between $45 to $100 per hour. Having your tenant take care of it themselves would save you that money. Now imagine your renter tries to fix that leak, only to accidentally break something and turn that small drip into a full-on geyser. Now you have a major plumbing issue that you’ll need to call a professional in to deal with ASAP. What’s more, plumbers sometimes charge double or even triple per hour for emergency repairs. So, you’ve actually cost yourself far more money than if you’d just called in a professional in the first place.

Legal Problems & Bad Reputation

Here’s the thing about renters doing their own home repairs – unless it’s in their lease agreement, landlords should be the ones handling their building’s maintenance, whether through fixing it themselves or calling on trained professionals. This isn’t just to ensure the job isn’t performed by amateurs. This is to make sure that, legally, you’re protected.

Imagine your tenant got hurt while making repairs that should have been your responsibility. Or what if they make the problem worse and the issue bleeds over to other apartments? Someone could possibly get sued, and even if you’re in the right and win the case, that’s still court fees and lawyers you have to pay for. It could also lead to a soured reputation among your other tenants. After all, one of the benefits of renting a property instead of buying is that issues like these are in someone else’s hands. Tenants might start looking for a new place to live with a more reliable landlord, which in turn cuts into the money you make from rent.

No, with a few small exceptions, as the landlord, you should handle maintenance issues, not your tenants. If fulfilling maintenance requests is something you find stressful, consider employing our property maintenance management services. Our services save you time and money through preventive and routine maintenance, as well as 24/7 emergency coverage, even during holidays and off-hours.

Leave a Reply

Your email address will not be published. Required fields are marked *