Things Landlords Should Be Doing Every Year But Probably Aren’t

When you are not able to fix issues as soon as they arise, you will only end up hurting your business, especially long term. As a landlord, it’s, therefore, important to carry out your lease responsibilities fairly and religiously.

Also, staying organized will help you stay on top of things to ensure that you don’t miss any important opportunities to maximize your income. The following are things that landlords should be doing every year but probably aren’t:

Give Your Tenant a Renewal Option Early Enough

Ideally, you will want to retain your tenants for a year-long lease. While some landlords may prefer month-to-month leases, a year-long lease provides superior benefits to your bottom line like income stability, reduced vacancies, and overall greater control over the property.

With that in mind, always remember to provide the tenant with a lease renewal option at least 90 days before the lease expires. This is especially true if you are renting to a great tenant that you don’t wish to lose.

You can notify them of the option via either email, phone call, or even in person. Make sure to let them know of the renewal terms. For instance, whether you are going to increase the rent or if you’re going to conduct a lease renewal screening check.

a home figurine and house keys resting on a contract

Reassess Rental Rates

Adjusting your rental rates can benefit your bottom line significantly. But don’t increase the rent rate arbitrarily; do market research to remain as competitive as possible.

You could to take your search online. Here, you’ll need to look at similar rentals to see how much they rent every month. Listing sites such as Zillow and Trulia are some of the established sites that can help you in this regard.

Another option verify the prevailing market rates in a variety of ways. One option would be to speak with a property manager or a real estate agent. They will usually have access to rental data platforms that have both historical and real-time rental rates.

If your prices are comparatively low, raising rent will enable you to stop further bleeding of your profits. If you are overcharging tenants, you can lower your prices to align with the prevailing market rates and make your property more desirable to prospective tenants.

Test the Smoke and Carbon Monoxide Detectors

As a landlord, you must provide your tenants with a property that meets the state’s basic safety codes. For most states, smoke and/or carbon monoxide detectors are a must-have to ensure tenants' safety.

check smoke detectors in rentals

Installing and maintaining detectors will help you keep the risk of fires and other safety issues low, ultimately saving you money and time. What’s more, your dedication to safety will strengthen your landlord-tenant relationship.

Generally speaking, as a landlord, you have the following responsibilities when it comes to smoke and carbon monoxide detectors:

  • Install the detectors in all sleeping areas and on every level of a rental property.
  • Test the detectors monthly to ensure that they are working as they should.
  • Replace the detectors every 7 to 10 years to stay compliant with the National Fire Protection Association (NFPA).
  • Provide the tenant with written information on how to test and maintain the detectors in the lease agreement.

Inspect the Property for Plumbing Leaks

Plumbing leaks are quite common in US homes. Leaks can result in gallons of lost water wasted due to leaks. But besides the cost of the wasted water, leaks could also cost you thousands of dollars in water damage.

As such, it’s important to regularly inspect your property for plumbing leaks. Preferably, get a plumbing inspection done once every two years. The inspection should cover every plumbing fixture, including the air conditioner, faucets, drains, water heater, and water-using appliances.

You will also want to respond to your tenant’s plumbing maintenance requests promptly to prevent further damage.

plumber looking at pipes under a bathroom sink

Check Your Keys Regularly to Ensure They Work

Your tenant may need to change their locks for varying reasons including if they have been a victim of crime, or if the keys look old or damaged.

That said, always ensure that you have a working key for easier access to the property. The last thing you want is to have a handyman show up to work only for them to realize that the keys you gave them don’t work. This can cost you both time and money.

Note that even though you have a key, you need to make sure that you respect the tenant’s privacy. Give them an advance notice before the entry, have a legitimate reason for entering the property, and only do so during normal business hours.

Shop for a Favorable Insurance Rate

It’s possible that you could be losing money with your current insurance provider. Be that as it may, switching from one insurance company to another may not be that easy. As such, only consider making the switch after you are sure of significant savings.

You can do your research online or hire a professional insurance agent for advice. You should also be on the lookout for special deals and promotions.

a person in a white shirt looking over a document with someone in a blue shirt

Maintain the Property Routinely

When was the last time you checked the gutters or the heater furnace? Create a maintenance plan and execute it routinely. Split the checklist into weekly, monthly, quarterly, and annual maintenance tasks. In addition to these assessments, be responsive to tenants’ maintenance requests.

Bottom Line

By reading this guide, it’s possible that you have learned something you should be doing every year but probably aren’t. And unsurprisingly so, it also happens to the best of us. Just make sure not to overlook them moving forward. They could be costing you money!

Do you have a question or need expert help managing your rentals, Gifford Properties & Management can help. Get in touch with us to learn more!

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