Owning an investment property can earn you a great return in the short run, and be a lucrative investment long term. But it can come with expenses as well – mainly renovation and maintenance costs. Renovation costs can be projected and budgeted for, however, maintenance costs can be unpredictable such as having to replace a burst geyser or roof repairs.
However, you have the chance to minimise the damage these costs can do to your savings and monthly budget by devising a property maintenance plan.
Many investors have fallen victim to – and understand the pain of – unexpected maintenance costs. That’s why it is extremely important to set aside a little money for a property’s ongoing maintenance.
One of the most important aspects of owning a rental property is ensuring it is kept in good repair. It is therefore important to always deal with the maintenance of the property as promptly as possible, ensuring that the repairs are undertaken before the problem escalates and becomes a major repair job.
Another good reason to respond promptly to a tenant’s maintenance requests is that it fosters a healthy relationship between tenant and landlord. Most tenants feel more settled in a well-maintained property, making the property their home by looking after it and staying on as a long-term tenant. When the tenants do decide to move on, new potential tenants viewing the property will see a well-loved home which increases the chances of securing a suitable tenant early in the marketing process.
There is sometimes a bit of confusion when determining which maintenance is the responsibility of the landlord and which is for the tenant. Owners often ask why they need to fix a broken lock, for example, when they are not the ones living in the unit. This particularly required maintenance would fall into the category of “fair wear and tear” which is the landlords’ responsibility. The tenant’s responsibilities are for items that need replacement with a short lifespan or are of a consumable nature, such as light bulbs. Should the tenant damage the property due to negligence, this also falls into the category of costs for the tenant, as usually outlined in the lease agreement.
Landlord’s maintenance responsibility examples:
• general fixtures and fittings
• gate motors and garage doors
• ovens, geysers and water pipes
• damp issues
• windows and doors fasteners
• cupboards and counter tops
Tenant’s maintenance responsibilities examples:
• light bulbs and fuses
• internal blocked drains (due to a build-up of food/hair etc)
• cleaning of carpets during their stay and again on exit
• mold due to condensation (windows not being opened)
Tenants must notify the owner or rental agent immediately of any maintenance that needs attention. Should they fail to do so they can be held responsible for the damage. Access must then also be granted so that quotes can be obtained and the repair work can be carried out by the appointed contractors.
In summary, the landlord is responsible for any and all ”fair wear and tear” issues that arise in the property, meaning items requiring repair due to normal use by the tenant. The tenant in turn is responsible for the repair of any items they have damaged, as well as replacing the consumable items used during their tenancy.
In a continuing effort to provide superior service to our landlords and tenants, we invite you to contact SA Investor Rentals (SAIR) to discuss how we can assist you in maintaining your investment property, and our product: Maintenance Guaranteed. You can reach SAIR on 087 230 9863 or email Karen@sair.co.za.