To quote from an excellent book about rental investing, written by Bryan M. Chavis, titled “Buy it, Rent it, PROFIT”

The number one reason tenants renew leases is because of good maintenance. The number one reason they leave is poor maintenance responsiveness. Maintenance is also the number one area where you can lose control of your expenses on a property over the years.”

When you consider these factors and their impact on your property’s bottom line you understand the importance of good maintenance on your property.  Issues surrounding maintenance lead to a high proportion of cases at the Tenancy Tribunal.

Both the landlord and tenant share responsibilities for repairs and maintenance in different circumstances but both are critical in maintaining the quality of a property.  Just like cars, domestic appliances require regular servicing

Preventative maintenance

A professional property manager will create a maintenance schedule to reduce the risk of certain items failing or creating risk to your property. Examples of this are air conditioning units and chimney cleaning.  Regular maintenance and cleaning of these sorts of items will likely extend their operational life, rather than having to be replaced due to lack of attention.

Thorough routine inspections

It is critically important for property managers to be checking for signs of potential maintenance issues such as:

  • leaks under sinks
  • hinges on cupboards not working properly
  • small details such as the installation of door stoppers (which could prevent possible damage to walls and/or fixtures)
  • ensuring the grouting or silicon is kept in good order around sinks, hand basins, showers or baths (to prevent swelling of cabinets, benches and/or flooring)
  • checking for stains on ceilings or on facia boards (this could be from blocked gutters or a crack in a roofing tile or the fact ridge capping has perished).
  • checking smoke alarms are functioning

These inspections allow the owner of the property to be aware of items that may need attention due to wear and tear. Delayed maintenance on these issues can wind up costing an owner more money if the condition worsens due to lack of attention. These inspections also promote goodwill with tenants because it allows them an opportunity to tell us about items we may not have been aware of.

The Rent Shop Nelson has a list of approved contractors who can be trusted to address maintenance issues quickly and effectively.  Having a close working relationship with contractors means that they offer us discounted rates on their hourly charge out fees and products, keeping our landlords costs down and increasing the return on their investment.  We constantly review the performance of our contractors and keep them accountable for the work they complete for us giving our client’s peace of mind

I see many landlords pay for repairs that are not their responsibility. If a tenant breaks something intentionally or through carelessness or negligence, they can be held liable for those costs (to a maximum of your insurance excess, or 4 weeks bond, whichever is the lower).

Key take away points:

Retention of quality long term tenants.

Opportunity to maximise the asking rent for a well-maintained, well-presented home.

The cost of maintenance and repairs is not always the responsibility of the landlord. Tenants can be liable to careless or intentional damage.

Minimize the risk of smaller unattended maintenance jobs leading to bigger, more expensive work being required.

Providing a safe, warm, healthy home for tenants and complying with regulations.

Maximise the return on your investment.

Educating and communicating expectations to tenants is critical at the start of, and throughout, their tenancy.