Hiring a Maintenance Company? 5 Things Landlords Should Look For

By E-Renter Tenant Screening
Posted on May 14, 2010 under General | icon: commentBe the First to Comment

tools2Whether hiring an outside contractor for regular maintenance, emergency repairs, or both, landlords need to know a few things first—especially if they’ve never hired a contractor before. It’s important to keep your rental properties in good working order and safe for your tenants—so having a great repair person can bring you peace for mind. Besides, they’re a good investment in your business.

1. Is the contractor a member of your local building and remodeling association? Call them and find out! These associations are great sources for information and referrals. And generally, their members are experienced professionals who see value in associating with other professional contractors.

2. Is the contractor licensed and insured? Most localities and states require contractors to hold proper licenses. Most also require liability insurance—and closely scrutinize contractors. Before hiring one, ask your repair professional or contractor to show you their license and insurance coverage documents. Just because they say they do doesn’t mean a thing—and you don’t want to find out after they walk off your job or damage your property that your contractor has neither a license nor insurance!

3. Find out how they collect deposits and progress billings. We’ve all heard the nightmare stories of homeowners and landlords who are swindled by unscrupulous contractors. Paying large deposits—or the entire estimate in full—before the work has started is a risk. Some landlords never seeing the contractor again—and it happens every day. If your contractor is licensed by the state and a member in good standing of your builder’s association, you stand a better chance that they are reputable.

4. Does the contractor have excellent references? A good estimate and friendly personality doesn’t mean you should sign a contract. Too many people don’t check references—so too many dishonest contractors get away with illegal activities. Ask for references and call them. And be suspicious if they are too good—you could be talking to a friend of the contractor!

5. Does the contractor have a criminal past? As a landlord, you are responsible for the safety of your tenants. Imagine the potential liability of allowing an ex-con, thief, or sex offender around your tenants and their neighbors. For complete security, consider running a background check on the contractor you choose—before you sign the contract!

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