Taking care of maintenance issues on your Santa Cruz rental property involves several do’s and don’ts. Because I am a positive person, I am going to start with a few tips on what you should do and then end with a couple tips on what you should not do.
Do your health and safety maintenance checks annually. During these inspections, you want to make sure there is nothing at your property that can harm tenants or others. Check all the lights in your home, take a look at the landscaping and shrubbery and make sure there is not an opening for someone to hide and harm your tenants. Make sure the sidewalk in front of your home is not lifting because that could cause people to trip and fall. Ensure all GFCIs are installed and test the batteries in your smoke alarms.
Do annual maintenance checks. In addition to the health and safety inspections, you also want to look for preventative maintenance that needs to be done. Remember that prevention is always less expensive than kicking the can down the road. If you see something that needs attention, fix it. Otherwise, you will have a bigger issue later.
Do hire licensed and insured vendors only. You want professional experts doing the maintenance at your house. Hire people who are experienced and covered in case there is a problem.
Do not allow tenants to do maintenance on the home. I have been an expert witness in two court cases that involve maintenance on rental properties. In one instance, a tree needed to be trimmed and the owner allowed the tenant to do the trimming. The tenant climbed the tree and then fell out of it, shattering his hip. Unfortunately, the tenant did not have medical insurance. That owner should have known better, and ended up paying a lot of money to his tenant when it could have been avoided by hiring a professional landscaper. Please, protect yourself and do not allow tenants to perform maintenance tasks for which they are not qualified.
Do give property notice to your tenants. You have to give them 24 hours notice before you show up to go into the home or even be outside the home for maintenance issues. You don’t want to just show up. Tenants know their rights, so make sure you know them too.
If you have any questions about property maintenance, or you have a few do’s and don’ts of your own to share, please contact us at Portola Property Management. We’d love to hear from you.