What You Should Be Doing to Maintain Your Rental Property — and What Could Happen If You Don’t

One of the most expensive and time-consuming responsibilities of a landlord is maintaining the rental property. As a landlord, it’s your job to ensure that the property is habitable (free from infestation and has satisfactory heating, water, electricity, and is structurally sound). If something breaks to no fault of the tenant, it’s typically your responsibility as the landlord to fix it.

Types of Repairs

It’s important to ensure you’re aware of your landlord responsibilities, which can vary by state. However, generally speaking, there are certain things that are likely to fall under your domain to address, such as:

  • Visible mold
  • Pest control
  • Heat and electric
  • Functional appliances
  • Structural integrity

It is the tenant’s job to promptly alert you of any issues. Once they do, you’ll need to address them to make sure that the home is habitable and safe.

Timing for Repairs

There’s never a good time for something to go wrong. Sometimes, you might need to have a problem fixed at a property while you’re away on business or a vacation. It’s a good idea to have a couple of licensed professionals saved in your phone, in case of emergency. For example, heating or plumbing issues typically require immediate assistance (within 24 hours).

The Cost of Rental Property Repairs

Maintaining a rental property can be costly, depending on the issue. As a result, it’s wise to set aside money each year to be used toward property repairs. You should ideally save up to 30 to 40 percent of your annual rent, according to State Farm. As an example, if your annual rent income is $30,000, you should save $12,000 each year for maintenance.

What Happens If You Don’t Maintain It

There are financial consequences for not making the repairs reported by a tenant. For instance, depending on your state’s laws, your tenant might decide to pay a lesser rent or hold rent payments altogether until the maintenance item is fixed. The tenant could even hire someone on their own and deduct the cost out of the next month’s rent. If the problem persists and makes the property inhabitable, the tenant may opt to end the lease early, according to FindLaw. This would leave you to pay for the maintenance issue and your entire mortgage, without the help of the tenant’s rent check.

Proactive Maintenance Checklist

Proactively maintaining a rental property can help prevent any major issues down the road. To stay on top of things, consider doing the following on an ongoing basis:

  • Hire a pest control service to treat the property on an ongoing basis (inside and outside).
  • Hire a lawncare service to keep the lawn maintained. Additionally, have any trees trimmed or removed that are near power lines or other structures.
  • Clean gutters.
  • Check for leaks, especially after severe weather (such as a hurricane or significant snowmelt).
  • Check smoke and CO2 detectors, make sure they are actively working and replace batteries, when necessary.
  • Check and replace air filters.
  • Test for mold (if suspected) and properly treat it if found.
  • Conduct an annual walkthrough and take an inventory of any issues, including what needs to be fixed or replaced.

Give your tenants as much notice as possible before entering the property (in accordance with what is required by your state’s laws).

Skip the Hassle of Home Maintenance

It can be costly (and exhausting) to maintain a rental property. If you’d like to offload the burden of doing so, consider selling your property to a homebuying company, such as The Buy Guys. We pay cash for houses “as is” in Florida, Georgia and Texas. That means we buy them in any condition. If we’re able to make you an offer, you don’t have to make any repairs to your property in order to sell it. Additionally, the virtual process is quick and easy.

To find out how much your property is worth, give us a call at (888) 204-7603 for a free estimate in minutes.


Note: This guide is for informational purposes only. The Buy Guys does not make any guarantees about the sufficiency of the content in or linked to from this blog post or that it is compliant with current law. The content within this blog post is not a substitute for legal advice or legal services. You should not rely on this information for any purpose without consulting a licensed lawyer in your area.