Should Residents Be Allowed to Do Their Own Maintenance?
As an investment property owner, you’ve probably had at least a minor maintenance issue or two at your property.
And once your resident notified you of this minor issue, chances are that you were met with the statement:
“I don’t want to wait for a vendor to come out. Can’t I just repair this myself?”
Well, that depends.
Essentially, the blanket answer is no, but there are exceptions to every rule.
Professional Maintenance of Your Property
When it comes to the maintenance of your property, you want to ensure that you’re utilizing skilled professionals that know what they’re doing.
If you allow your resident to perform repairs at the property, a couple of less-than-desirable outcomes could occur:
- They don’t do the repair correctly, causing you additional maintenance and additional expense
- The resident can damage your property if repairs are done improperly
- The resident gets hurt while performing maintenance, which causes a liability to you as an owner
But when using a professional, you have the peace of mind that they can perform skilled work because they’ve been trained in it.
The cost is a little higher up front, but will ultimately save you money in the long run.
Licensed & Insured Vendors
An important item to note is that you want to ensure that the vendors you work with have appropriate insurance and licensing in their field.
If the vendor you hire does something wrong, damages property, gets hurt, etc. their insurance will cover it.
With hiring properly licensed & insured vendors, your liability is greatly reduced in a number of ways.
Examples of Maintenance that Residents Should NOT Do:
- Any major mechanical repairs involving:
- Roof repairs
- Flooring/carpet installation
- Siding or window repairs
- Gutter clean out
- Lawn maintenance and snow removal when there are multiple units at a property
This isn’t an exhaustive list of everything that residents shouldn’t do maintenance-wise.
However, it does serve as a brief summary of some of the most important items that you don’t want to risk a resident handling themselves.
Examples of Maintenance that Residents Can/Should Do:
- Small routine maintenance that would be expected when living in a home
- Change out a furnace filter
- Water filter
- Changing light bulbs
- Lawn maintenance for a single-family home
- Cutting grass, trimming trees, shrubs, etc.
- Snow removal for a single-family home
At times, an item may need to be purchased to aid in small routine maintenance, like a dehumidifier or space heater.
You can allow the resident to purchase the item, provide you a receipt, and you can reimburse them if there is a need for that specific item (that doesn’t require professional installation).
Any good lease (like ours) covers these topics and puts the responsibility on the resident for these routine service items.
It’s in your best interest to hire professionals to handle most major maintenance items/repairs at your property.
Professionals are best when considering liability concerns, properly done maintenance, and long-term care of your property.
After all, your property is a big asset that you want to protect.
But, with that being said, there are always a few minor things that the resident should be responsible for outlined above.
The list does not include anything major, but just what would be regularly expected of someone occupying a home.
If you’d like to discuss any of this, please contact us about your specific situation. We’d be happy to walk through your situation and property needs with you!