Regular property maintenance is key to running a successful rental investment. When a property is well-maintained, it’s desirable and that helps attract quality tenants and improve tenant retention.
We’re going to take you through 4 maintenance tips for your rental properties. Let’s get started, shall we?
Tip #1: Know Your Responsibilities as a Landlord
As a Florida landlord, you’re responsible for a smorgasbord of things. Including:
- Supplying your tenant with adequate trash receptacles. When tenants start renting your property, they will obviously need somewhere to put their garbage. It’s your responsibility to ensure they have enough trash bins.
- Ensuring all essential services are functioning. Essential services include electrical, heating, plumbing, gas, and all supplied appliances. If you fail to provide these, you’d be considered to have ‘constructively’ evicted your tenant. Constructive eviction is illegal.
- Maintaining common areas of the property. If renting out an apartment, you have a responsibility of ensuring all common areas are clean and have a working lighting system. Also, they must be safe and have stable banisters on the staircases.
- Following all building codes. Florida requires landlords to provide their tenants with a property that meets the minimum safety and health codes. Including, drinkable water, hot water during the cold season, functioning smoke and carbon monoxide detectors, and a working plumbing and electrical system.
- Providing running water. Your rental property must also have running water. In addition, it must also have a working toilet, shower and sink.
- Performing repairs. As a landlord, you also have a responsibility to make reasonable repairs to ensure the property remains habitable.
Tip #2: Know What Responsibilities Your Tenant is Liable For
Tenants, too, have certain responsibilities under a residential lease agreement. The following are the legal ways tenants are required to help with rental maintenance.
- Ensuring the property is free from both safety and sanitary hazards. When it comes to safety and health issues, your tenants have several responsibilities. Including, ensuring emergency exits are accessible, and not tampering with smoke and/or carbon monoxide detectors.
- Following habitability codes. Your tenants must also follow building and housing codes. For example, most leases cap the number of adult tenants that can occupy a rental unit. In such a case, if your tenant sneaks in an additional person, they would be in violation of the housing laws and that would mean more normal wear and tear.
- Preventing the growth of mold. Tenants also have a legal responsibility to prevent the growth of mold. They must not provide an environment that promotes mold growth, such as letting excessive moisture accumulate in their units. They must, for instance, open windows or turn on the fan when showering.
- Respecting the property. Tenants have a responsibility to care for their rental units. They must not, for instance, cause negligent or careless damage to the property. In addition, they must keep all appliances they have been provided within a reasonably clean condition and keep all plumbing fixtures reasonably clean.
Tip #3: Conduct Rental Inspections on a Regular Basis
Conducting regular inspections on a rental property has multiple benefits. For one, it ensures that tenants are keeping up with the rules.
For example, not keeping an unauthorized pet or illegally subletting the unit. Also, you’re able to check on maintenance issues, that if left ignored, could lead to habitability issues down the road.
Typically, there are four types of inspections a landlord can conduct on their rental property. They include:
- Move-in inspection. Also known as a walk-through inspection, this is performed right after the tenant signs the lease but before they move their belongings into the property. This helps document the current property’s condition and acts as a reference point when the tenant moves out.
- Drive-by inspection. This is a visual inspection of the property. You can use this type of inspection to check for lease abidance. For instance, if you notice an unauthorized car parked in the driveway multiple times, that can point to an unauthorized roommate.
- Seasonal inspection. Each season brings a new set of maintenance responsibilities. Before the cold winter season begins, for instance, you may need to winterize exterior pipes or improve your property’s curb appeal.
- Move-out inspection. Most leases require tenants to leave their units undamaged, except for normal wear and tear. You can use the move-in inspection checklist as a reference to check whether the tenant has caused any excessive property damage.
As a landlord, you also have a responsibility to notify your tenant before entry. Under Florida law, landlords have a responsibility to give their tenants a notice of at least 12 hours prior to entry.
While the specific hours aren’t specified, you must enter the tenant’s unit during “reasonable” hours. This would exclude very early morning visits or late nights.
Tip #4: Respond to Maintenance Issues Quickly
As a landlord, you have a responsibility to ensure your property adheres to the state’s basic health, safety, and structural codes. So, when maintenance issues crop up, you must respond to them with the necessary urgency.
In the state of Florida, landlords have exactly 7 days to respond to their tenants’ repair requests. If you fail to do so, your tenant may be able to exercise certain rights. For example, terminate their lease without further rent obligations. Also, Florida tenants have a right to withhold rent if their landlord fails in their maintenance duties.
Besides abiding by the warranty of habitability, ensuring your property is properly maintained helps incentivize tenants to rent longer. And lower vacancies mean more money left in your pockets.
There you have it! Four maintenance tips for your rental properties! If you have trouble maintaining your rental property, Florida Property Management & Sales can help. Get in touch with us today to get started!