Property owners and managers worry about a lot. From attracting and finding good renters to keeping up with monthly maintenance on the property, the first year of owning a rental property can feel overwhelming. While things don’t get much easier in the future years, experience tends to be a great teacher. After several years, many property owners figure out how to best manage their property, ways to avoid expenses, and how to limit the time they spend on upkeep and maintenance.
Your property’s roof is its shield against the elements. It’s arguably the most essential part of the property. Yet, many people tend not to give the roof much thought—until something goes wrong. Roofing issues have a way of starting seemingly small and innocuous. However, with enough time and inattention, a few missing shingles, misplaced flashing, or clogged gutters can be the starting point for much bigger problems.
If you have a roofer inspect your property’s roof every year—as you should be, ideally—they may alert you to repairs that you need to make soon. While a few missing shingles might not seem like a big deal on a sunny day, it could be a different story the next time a storm blows in. Your best bet is to be proactive and act on the recommendations of your roofer. Make sure that all needed home repairs get made in the month immediately following your latest checkup.
Replacing an air conditioner or furnace can significantly eat into your rental income, potentially wiping out a year of revenue. It’s in your best interest to keep your property’s current cooling and heating systems in as good a shape as possible for as long as possible. While you can’t control what temperature your tenant keeps the property at, you can ensure that the HVAC systems are receiving annual checkups and maintenance from a certified professional. Ideally, you should schedule two appointments: a spring tune-up for the AC unit and a fall inspection for the furnace. Professional tune-ups can prevent breakdowns and help extend the life of the system.
During your air conditioner service, the technician may make you aware of pending issues that you need to resolve soon. Some of these issues could be low refrigerant levels or a broken capacitor or thermostat. Never put off making these home repairs; get a second opinion if you feel it’s needed, but then schedule follow-up service immediately after. Many long-term HVAC problems start when property owners procrastinate on critically needed repairs. In nearly every case, this results in far more headaches and expense down the road.
Sewer Line Issues
The sewer or septic line is responsible for carrying wastewater away from the home. Under the right conditions, these lines can leak or start to clog. Most leaks, for instance, are caused by aging line material, shifting earth around the track, or tree roots growing around and then into the line. If your renter has been complaining about the smell of sewage, the sewer line might be the root cause. It’s vital to deal with a sewer line leak right away; outside of the unpleasant odor, a leak can attract nearby tree roots to the line, causing further damage.
Sewer line clogs are just as insidious. Everything your renters put down the kitchen sink or flush down the toilet travels through the sewer line. However, specific food waste and inorganic materials can become trapped in the line, starting a partial clog. Plumbing experts advise against putting grease, oil, eggshells, uncooked rice, uncooked pasta, or coffee grounds down the kitchen sink drain, as these can adhere to the interior walls of the line and start a clog. It’s hard to police a renter’s behavior, but you can at least inform them of the issue and encourage them to dispose of certain types of food waste in the trash.
Once the clog entirely blocks the pipe, a sewer line backup is imminent. This is when wastewater comes back up through the drains and floods the home. The results can be disastrous. A sewer line backup might cost thousands of dollars to repair and lead to the loss of rental income. If your renter reports that the property’s drains are moving more slowly than before, you need to take immediate action and bring in a local plumber.
To see the other home repairs you should make right away—including fixing electrical wiring—check out this infographic.
We are pledged to the letter and spirit of U.S. policy for the achievement of equal housing opportunity throughout the Nation. See Equal Housing Opportunity Statement for more information.