Rental property maintenance is one of the many responsibilities of a landlord that might feel intimidating to new property owners. Yet, routine maintenance will help keep your property in shape and avoid costing you more money in the future by decreasing the need for major repairs. Plus, completing maintenance is a legal duty of a landlord laid out in lease agreements and state laws.
Because maintenance can be a stressor to many landlords, having a system that keeps you notified, organized, and responsive will alleviate some of that weight. Keep reading below to learn why staying on top of maintenance is important as well as how to handle maintenance requests online through your TurboTenant account.
Why You Need to Stay on Top of Property Maintenance Requests
In the world of landlording and homeownership, there are multiple ways people estimate how much maintenance will cost for a property. One general rule states that maintenance will cost around 1.5 times the monthly average rent of the property. For example, if the rent price is $1,000, you would typically expect to spend around $1,500 on maintenance for the year. Another estimating tool is the 1% rule – this means 1% of your rental’s worth when you purchased it should be set aside for the yearly maintenance costs.
While maintenance costs should be built into your budget, completing routine maintenance tasks as well as routine inspections will help you keep your property up to date and avoid expensive fixes that could add up from neglect. Here are a few other reasons why responding and fixing maintenance requests is imperative:
- Avoids Conflicts with Tenants: Maintaining a positive relationship with your renters will lead to less stress and a better rental experience for both parties. By responding to tenants’ maintenance requests as soon as possible and fixing what they ask will show them you are professional at completing your landlord tasks. When a tenant knows a landlord is responsive and helpful, they are more inclined to renew their lease.
- Less Work During Tenant Turnover: As you complete routine maintenance throughout the previous lease, such as having pest control prevention, replacing light bulbs, or fixing water leaks, there will be less work when a new tenant moves in. This means you can spend less time updating your rental so you can fill the vacancy as quickly as possible to continue your rent cash flow.
- Protects Your Property Investment: Like we mentioned above, maintenance is another way you protect your property investment – catching things that could turn into larger issues will help you save money and even increase the value of your property.
- Must Maintain the Warranty of Habitability: The implied warranty of habitability means that landlords have to take care of any repairs that will make the unit uninhabitable such as a broken heater during winter or a burst pipe. This is laid out in a lease and is a responsibility landlords need to take seriously.
Download convenient rental inspection checklists for free here.
Responding to Property Maintenance Requests from Tenants
Renters will not appreciate delayed response and overdue fixes when it comes to repairs, so when your renters submit a maintenance request to you, communicating with them and responding as soon as you can is ideal. If you have a go-to maintenance person, letting them know the problem as soon as possible will help avoid any conflict. Remember, the time length a landlord has to fix something is different for critical vs. non-critical repairs. Read for more details on how long a landlord has to fix something here – make sure to also check your local and state laws.
How Maintenance Requests Work in TurboTenant
Having your maintenance requests and maintenance history in your TurboTenant account will easily help you avoid multiple texts, emails, or notes to keep track of what needs to be fixed in different units. Renters can log into their accounts and submit a maintenance request form that includes a title, description, an option to upload photos, and a preferred time to enter.
When renters submit a maintenance request, landlords will be notified immediately by email. When you click on the link to view the request, you will be able to view the description of the maintenance request and see who made it and if the tenant wants to coordinate a time of entry – you can send a message to the tenant right on the request to ask any questions or discuss times. Furthermore, if you need to send a work order to a different person who helps with maintenance, you can easily send all of the information to them by email instead of having to go through the extra hassle of calling them or sending them screenshots.
Another advantage of online maintenance requests is that you will have the records of repairs for all of your rental units easily viewable in your account with an “Open” or “Resolved” tag. Utilizing this feature will be a game-changer when you need to look back to see if you already made a certain fix in the property. Once the maintenance request is resolved, you can notify your tenants that it is fixed and renters will receive a form to provide feedback with a thumbs up or thumb down and a comment section.
Ultimately, utilizing the maintenance request feature in your TurboTenant account will save both you and your tenants time and has many other benefits for your rental business. Let your current tenants know about maintenance requests today and if you are in the need of filling a vacancy, don’t forget to screen your tenants.
Should I hire someone to do my rental property maintenance?
It is up to the landlord if they want to hire someone to help with maintenance at their properties. If time is an issue, it can be very beneficial to have a go-to maintenance person to help fix non-critical issues. However, if you are trying to save costs, DIYing can be a great solution – just make sure you are prepared and educated. If there are issues that require more specialization, such as an electrician, it is probably best to leave it to the professionals.
How long do I have to fix something?
When it comes to time length, make sure you check your state and local laws as it varies from location to location. Typically, a landlord has around 3-7 days to fix non-critical repairs and then 30 days to fix critical repairs. Read our full guide on maintenance timelines here.
What’s the difference between normal wear and tear and actual problems that need fixing?
Here is a helpful resource to distinguish regular wear and tear in a rental. If your tenant requests something to be fixed, even if it is just replacing a lightbulb, it is wise to honor the tenant’s request – some landlords will have specific things laid out in the lease that tenants are responsible for taking care of such as mowing the lawn or unclogging drains. Remember, always be transparent and open to communication with your renters to build a sense of trust among both of you.
Ultimately, utilizing the maintenance request feature in you TurboTenant account will save both you and your tenants time, and staying on top of rental property maintenance has many benefits for your rental property business. Let your tenants know about maintenance requests today and if you are in the need of filling a vacancy, don’t forget to use an online rental application and to screen your tenants.