Hiring a Contractor for Rental Property Maintenance

By E-Renter Tenant Screening
Posted on March 21, 2011 under Landlord Tips | icon: commentBe the First to Comment

tenantscreeningblog, tenant background checkOne of the biggest challenges for landlords is maintaining their rental properties. Failure to do so can lead to further damage, unhappy tenants and lower property values.

Some landlords prefer to do all their own maintenance; others are not capable or simply don’t have the time to perform maintenance. Still others make the attempt to do it themselves, only to realize they’re in over their heads.

If you’re thinking about hiring a contractor or handyman service to take care of routine maintenance and emergency repairs on your rental properties, here are a few tips.

  1. Do you need occasional help or a full-time maintenance person? Would you rather hire expert plumbers, electricians and carpenters each time you need specialty work? Knowing what you need is the first step. A long-term contract for routine maintenance plus regular repairs might be more economical than calling an expensive contractor for a smaller job. And don’t forget that availability is sometimes a problem with busy general contractors. A regular maintenance contract means priority when you have an emergency.
  2. Once you determine your rental property maintenance needs, ask for referrals.When working with an contractor, it’s sometimes difficult to know whether you’re getting a good deal and getting good work—or being ripped off. Your local builder and remodeler association is the perfect place to start your research. Also ask other rental property owners in your network. You might hear an earful about whom to avoid—and who is most trustworthy.
  3. Once you’ve narrowed your choices down, it’s a good idea to conduct a “job interview” with each one. Even though they will likely be a subcontractor, and not an employee, you’ll still need to be sure that there is a good rapport and mutual respect between you. If you’ve found the right person, you might be in partnership for a long time—and you want to make sure you can get along.
  4. Conducting due diligence on your potential handyman is another important to-do item. Check with your state licensing board to ensure your prospective contractor holds proper business and contracting licenses, and is bonded and insured. Individuals without proper licenses are best avoided. And don’t rule out conducting a background check. Anyone with access to your rental property puts you and your tenants at risk. Mitigate that risk by knowing exactly whom you are hiring. Be sure to ask for and check references before you make your final decision.

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