As owners of rental property will vouch for, property maintenance is a time-consuming 24 x 7 job. A burst pipe, a broken washer or non-functioning dryer, or any other problem may strike your place. If, you don’t have the time or the skills to fix these problems, it would be a good idea to hire a professional for rental property maintenance.
Having specialised plumbers, electricians, etc. do repair jobs can prove to be far too expensive, and their exorbitant charges will quickly devour into your profit margin. For a property that has continual, on-going problems, it is far better to hire a full or part-time maintenance person.
Before advertising, it would be a good idea to check if any one of your tenants is qualified to carry out necessary maintenance tasks. In a barter agreement, you could trade work for a knock-down in rent or offer free accommodation, in case you own apartment units. This arrangement, you will find saves considerably on repair costs, over the course of time.
Whether, you hire a tenant or outsource maintenance, be mindful of the following, if you wish to find the most qualified person, who will not only save you trouble, but also extra expense down the road.
- Look for an experienced handyman. There is a big difference between fixing a dripping tap and maintaining a large property. The complexity and frequency of problems for big apartment complexes may prove too much for the average handyman to handle. Before hiring, ensure the new recruit is competent and capable of handling the most demanding tasks that may come their way.
- Ascertain their skill level. Determine their skill level by checking out, whether the worker is able to handle a wide variety of problems, if he / she is qualified to work as an electrician, or does he / she have certain limitations.
- Is his / her expertise level a good match for the maintenance problems? If your building suffers from chronic plumbing problems, hiring a skilled carpenter will not help. This is one situation, where it pays to find a jack of all trades, rather than a master of one.
- Where do they live? If the maintenance man / woman you hire do not live on site, find out how far their place of residence is from your property. And, if you have found the perfect maintenance person, who lives much too far from your rental property, snap them up as it would be a good idea to provide him / her housing, either within your rental property or nearby.
- Decide on whether you want a full or part-time maintenance person. That can be decided easily, depending on the size of your property and the number of problems anticipated. For a large apartment complex, you may need a full-time maintenance person; however, if you own just a couple of rental houses, a part-time worker would be an economical choice.
- Check out their response time. It is essential to know the response time of a maintenance worker who does not live on site. Certain maintenance problems cannot be left to be resolved in the morning. For example, if a furnace goes out in the middle of a cold snap night, it needs to be fixed as quickly as possible. If, the maintenance person cannot make it to your property in as short a time as possible, look for someone whose schedule permits them to be on-call.
- References. Before hiring ask for employer and character references. Have applicants’ complete written applications to enable you to follow up on references provided.
- How ethical is your new maintenance worker? As you know, an unethical worker will not only prove a big drain on your budget, but may even ruin a landlord’s reputation amongst his / her tenants. Former or current employers should be contacted to check out the work ethic and personality of all new hires.
- Can the applicant cope with the demand on his / her time and expertise? If your rental properties are spread over a wide area, one maintenance worker may not be enough to handle maintenance issues. Check the distance between your properties to decide whether you need to hire one or more maintenance workers.
- Reasonable rates. If, maintenance problems for your rental properties are fairly infrequent, why take on the added expense of hiring a maintenance worker, when you could simply pay for one-time jobs. Carefully weight this out before making a final decision.
As you know, a well-maintained and clean rental unit means a better class of people will apply to rent your property. As well, careful selection and screening prospective tenants thoroughly will help avoid later problems, if any. For help in suitable tenant selection, visit www.e-renter.com for tenant screening and background check services, the best and only way to prevent expensive litigation, penalty charges or property damage.