Common Property Maintenance Issues
Updated: Feb 7
As a property manager in New Jersey, repairs and maintenance are going to be more costly than you can expect. We would know from all of the various houses we manage. We’ve comprised a list of the top maintenance problems that you might encounter as an owner and broke them down for you below, to better understand the costs of owning rental property in New Jersey.
One of the costliest repairs is the typical A/C or Furnace breakdown. Dirty airy filters, old thermostats, leaking refrigerant, compressor malfunctions and a lack of maintenance are among the most common issues that bring the HVAC repairmen in. A solution to avoiding costly repairs is enrolling in a maintenance plan so they service your unit regularly. Our favorite recommendation is to use expensive filters when changing your air filters. They last much longer and result in fewer breakdowns.
2. Doors and Locks
As a landlord, you likely prefer your income to be more passive as opposed to active. In the event that a tenant gets locked out of their home at an odd hour of the night, they’re likely going to call you for a spare or advisement on how to get into their unit. Rental property locks are used frequently and can get worn down to the point where the key does not unlock or lock the door. Having a 24/7 locksmith handy is a great way to deal with tenant problems like this. Sending a locksmith ensures the tenant gets in whether the key is broken or if the lock is.
3. Clogged Sinks, Toilets, and Bathtubs - Plumbing
Clogged toilets can lead to long-term damage in pipes and leaks across the pipeline if not dealt with efficiently. Plumbing tends to be a year-round issue that could constantly come up. When it comes to plumbing repairs, it is important that you hire a trusted plumber to actually fix the issue. If your plumber temporarily fixes or provides a cheap solution, it is likely that the issue will lead to a much more expensive issue down the line. To be pro-active we spell it out in our Leases that the tenants can only flush human waste down the toilet. We also advise them to put hair traps in bathtub or shower, as it stops all that hair from going down the waste line.
4. Appliance Breakdowns
Refrigerators, dishwashers, washers, dryers, and ovens are filled with moving parts that wear out over time. Refrigerator water filters need to be changed every six months. Also, refrigerator compressors get too hot due to dust accumulation on the coils or a lack of air in the room. Attending to kitchen appliance repairs efficiently are important as you do not want your tenant to lose hundreds of dollars in groceries because of a broken refrigerator or be unable to cook food for a week because of a malfunctioning oven/stove. Keep in mind the shelf life of your appliances as well before you pay for that repair. From our experience, once those appliance repairs go over $300 it's better to buy a new appliance. Most can be had from Home Depot for around $500.
Ants, roaches and other unpleasant insects get into the house, often drawn by a lack of cleanliness in the unit. Generally, the kitchen is one of the more common spaces where insects can gather, especially if there are windows that are left open and food in open containers. Sending an exterminator might be the obvious solution, but a conversation with your tenants regarding cleanliness is essential. We do quarterly maintenance inspections to make sure tenants aren't living like pigs and potentially attracting rodents or roaches.
6. Roof Leaks
It is inevitable, but at some point, your roof may leak. Ensuring your roofs don’t have leaks year-round can be an efficient way to avoid a roof and ceiling repair. How do you do this? Make sure you don't have trees hanging over head, brushing up against the roof. Take a look at your roof and compare it to a newer roof. If your roof looks like hell, don't wait for it to leak. Start budgeting for a replacement and you'll sleep better at night.
The Fix-All Solution
If you’re a landlord and don’t want to deal with these issues on a daily or even weekly basis, there is a solution to solve all of these problems – choose a property management team to handle it for you! An experienced and trusted property manager has a book of professionals who are under contract that will get your property back in a livable condition in a timely manner. This keeps the repair costs low and keeps your tenants satisfied. We have a well oiled machine at Tverdov Housing and it's because of all the systems we have in place to catch problems before they become one. Owning a rental property is a great investment but if you're going to be a hands on landlord, it's far from a passive investment.
Hiring a property management group like us keeps your tenants and investment protected with the added benefit of avoiding the stress completely.
-Article by Adham Sheira