Owning a rental property is one of the dream jobs for many people who fancy getting money for simply, well – owning a rental property.
You have a house or apartment, or a cabin in the woods, market it well, have some tenants move in, and then collect a hefty amount of money every month doing absolutely nothing at all. Sound about right?
Well, you’d be wrong if you think this is the case.
The thing is, while this sort of arrangement where you simply get the money and don’t have to do anything does seem attractive and does represent the best-case scenario, so to speak, there’s always the question of who’s responsible if some object in the rental property or the other breaks and needs mending.
In this article, we’re going to talk about a landlord’s role in the plumbing maintenance of his or her rental property. Whether you have just one rental property, or fancy buying more in the future, understanding what your responsibilities are is essential for your success.
As you will see, there are some grey areas when it comes to plumbing maintenance, so if you’d like to figure out what tasks you will be considered responsible for and what task would be the tenant’s job, sit back, relax, and read all about it in the passages below.
Right then folks, without further ado, here’s the deal.
Who’s Responsible for Plumbing Maintenance of a Rental Property?
As we’ve already mentioned, the biggest trouble with home maintenance and rental properties, in general, would be the fact that they represent somewhat of a grey area, because there are many situations where no one is quite sure who should cover the expenses of a problem that pops up.
Now, although there is a general rule of thumb for this, we’d advise you right off the bat to specify in the contract with your tenant who will be responsible for what in case of this, that, or the other problem. This may seem like a big and boring undertaking, but here’s the deal: 1) it isn’t – there are only so many items and systems in the rental property you need to address, and 2) doing so will bind and secure both parties as to what should happen in case there’s a thunder strike, or the washing machine starts acting up.
As for that rule of thumb, you can model that contract on its rough outlines. Here’s how it works.
As their name suggests, emergency repairs need immediate (or close to an immediate response), and the consequences of such occurrences often fall into the purview of the owner’s responsibility. Unless the tenant himself or herself is directly responsible for the emergency. (For example, if they caused a fire, broke the water toaster in anger and now there’s a fire, etc.)
Swinging back to the disasters we mentioned earlier, these are some of the examples:
- A large and uncontrollable water pipe leak,
- A gas leak,
- A large hole in the roof (causing a leak),
- Unsuspected damage caused by storms,
- Malfunctioning water heater,
- Flooding of one or more rooms.
… would then be the repairs that can be taken care of not necessarily the same day, so to speak. Typically, such damages are often caused by the tenants themselves and are not that serious, to begin with. These would include:
- A dripping tap,
- An annoying sound that comes from the refrigerator,
- A squeaky door etc.
If the damage is caused by the tenant (you know that the problem wasn’t there before the tenant moved in), you can arrange for the handyman to come over but let the tenant pay them. If the problem wasn’t their fault, you, as an owner, should cover the expenses for the fix.
How to Prevent Plumbing Emergencies
1) Take Good Care of the Garbage Disposal Unit
Garbage disposal units represent an important link in the chain of getting rid of food scraps that would otherwise be festering and no doubt fermenting in your trash bin for ages before you through them out.
Because they’re used daily, garbage disposal units need to be checked regularly, especially if you’re a rental property owner and you have one of these in your property. You see, if there’s a problem with this contraption, your tenant or tenants can complain that they can’t use the sink properly anymore, which is an issue that certainly needs to be addressed.
So, if you visit for an inspection every month or so, make sure that checking the garbage disposer is on your checklist.
2) Perform Drain Tests
Seeing the water you’ve just used to wash your hands struggle to get into the hole in the ground or the sink can be a sorry sight to behold for a tenant.
So, before a potential candidate comes around to see your rental property, make sure you’ve fixed any slow drains and other plumbing issues that may have been caused by clogged pipes. Generally speaking, you should perform an exhaustive plumbing checkup, so if you don’t think you can do it, or don’t have the time, you can always hire a team of plumbing maintenance professionals who will do this for you.
3) Tackle Faulty Water Heaters
Water heater problems are probably some of the most common plumbing issues that can occur in rental properties.
The thing is, the sediment that accumulates in them should be taken care of regularly, so if that is not done, the heater can get surrounded with various minerals and other plaque coming from the water. In turn, this can reduce the lifetime of the heater.
So, before a new tenant moves in, make sure to take good care of the water heater in your rental property, to avoid any troubles with it down the line.
All things considered, a lot of maintenance problems related to rental properties are the best deal with in advance. That way, you, as an owner, can reduce the likelihood of various problems that can pop up, as well as have a clearer idea of how should pay for what in case something does pop up in your rental property.
This article has been contributed by Kate Mclean.