Maintaining your rental property in Myrtle Beach, Conway, or the surrounding areas is a priority when you’re a real estate investor. By taking good care of your investment, you’re preserving its condition and increasing its value. You’re also ensuring your tenants are satisfied with where they live and likely to renew their lease agreements.
Keeping up with repairs, making sure everything is working properly, and responding quickly to tenant needs will ensure that your rental remains safe and comfortable and occupied.
As you set up a plan for responding to emergency, routine, and preventative maintenance needs, make sure you’re aware of potential maintenance liabilities. These can often be surprises, and they’re almost always expensive.
These are some of the most common liabilities that rental property owners tend to run into when managing their own properties. We’re also sharing some of the strategies we use, as professional property managers, to avoid such liabilities.
Unlicensed and Uninsured Vendors
When work needs to be done on your property, choose vendors who are licensed and insured. Otherwise, you are welcoming a lot of liability.
Unlicensed workers may offer lower prices than licensed and insured professionals, but it is not always wise to accept their services. Hiring unlicensed and uninsured vendors may present legal, financial, and safety risks that can jeopardize your rental property and tenants.
- First, there are legal concerns. Unlicensed vendors may not have the necessary permits to operate a business or to do work on your property. They won’t have workers compensation insurance or liability insurance in case something goes wrong. If you hire an unlicensed contractor or vendor and a problem arises, you’ll have no legal recourse or protection from consumer authorities. You could find yourself liable for any harm or damage done to your rental property or your tenants. You can also be liable for any harm that comes to the worker. If an uninsured vendor falls off a ladder, you could be held accountable for medical bills, pain and suffering, as well as lost wages.
- You’ll also face financial risks hiring a vendor who is not licensed and insured. The short term savings of hiring an unqualified worker could result in long term costs. If the repairs made to your property actually don’t fix anything but instead cause damage, you’ll be left paying someone else to make the same repair and mitigate any further damage.
- Unlicensed and uninsured vendors are also a liability because of the safety hazard they pose to your property and your tenants. Unlicensed vendors may save money by using unsafe materials, cutting corners, and not adhering to safety standards. This can lead to unsafe conditions and potential accidents on your property.
Low quality work is perhaps the biggest liability when you’re renting out a property.
As property managers, we have relationships in place with high quality vendors and contractors who provide outstanding work for cost-effective rates. We also have our own in-house maintenance team that can respond to nearly every problem our property owners run into.
Hiring licensed and insured professionals for your rental property is always the best policy, especially if you want to avoid the liability that can come with unlicensed and uninsured workers. Even better – work with a management team like ours, where you know there are qualified workers on staff in the maintenance department.
Deferred and Unreported Maintenance
Deferred maintenance is a huge liability. It leaves your property vulnerable to deterioration, and it also opens you up to more expensive repairs later. Don’t put off those small issues that seem insignificant. They’re not insignificant at all. You need to take care of them right away so you can preserve the condition and value of your asset and so that you can show your tenants that you’re responsive to maintenance needs.
There’s also the danger of unreported maintenance. When tenants don’t feel comfortable telling you about the things that are wrong, you put your property in danger. Make sure your lease agreement is explicit about the process for reporting maintenance. Make sure your tenants understand that you want to know when something breaks or needs to be replaced; even if it’s a minor issue. This will ensure you’re not spending more than you need to on maintenance later, when the minor problem grows into something more serious and expensive.
Deferred and unreported maintenance can also be a liability because it leads to more emergency repairs. Maintenance emergencies are disruptive to tenants and bad for your property. They also cost a lot of money, typically. As property managers, we avoid this liability by prioritizing preventative maintenance and conducting routine inspections to ensure your property is in good condition.
Paying Too Much for Repairs
Overpaying for maintenance is a liability that will rob you of your return on investment (ROI).
Maintenance costs have risen in recent years. Labor costs more. Supplies cost more. Materials cost more. Sometimes, it’s hard to find someone to do the work, and you may be left waiting longer than you anticipated, due to staffing issues and supply chain problems.
While costs have risen, you still want to make sure you’re not overpaying for the work you need. Take the time to gather quotes and estimates, and evaluate what each company offers to deliver.
Or, avoid this liability altogether and work with a team like ours, where maintenance costs are kept in check. With our own in-house maintenance team, we’re able to control scheduling and costs. There’s also more communication, ensuring you’re never wondering about the status of repairs or improvements.
These are just a few of the maintenance liabilities that rental property owners in Myrtle Beach and the surrounding areas must face when they’re leasing, managing, and trying to maintain their investments. We can take some of the risk out of the process.
If you have additional questions about maintenance and how we can help, we’d love to talk with you. Please contact us at J & P Unlimited. We manage investment properties in Myrtle Beach, Conway, Surfside Beach, Murrells Inlet, Socastee and the surrounding areas.