Landlords, none of us want to hear the words at the end of the phone “We have a problem”. For many issues that arise, we can prepare and do preventative maintenance to avoid massive problems later. Here are nine maintenance things to do to keep the cost of repairs down.
1. Service the air conditioning systems.
This can be one of the significant expenses to your ROI. It is imperative that you as a landlord make sure you have the air conditioning systems serviced at least every six months. Cost of that is anywhere between $55 and $95 per service. Most local a/c service companies on island recommend every three months. What I suggest is that you buy extra filters and teach the tenant how to replace them every so often. Filters are inexpensive Aron $4 to $10 per screen. The a/c system produces condensation, and it usually drips out an exhaust line but if their crude and junk that clogs up the drain line then the water will back up into your ceiling causing more water damage to the ceiling and walls.
2. Replace smoke and carbon dioxide detector batteries.
The recommended standard is to change batteries in your smoke detectors in the twice a year. Why? Because most tenants will not replace the batteries, they will unhook it when it starts to make that irritating noise, and that is dangerous not to have the detectors working property.
3. Dryer vent must be clean and free of any lint
Most homes and condos rental in Cayman come equipped with a washer and dryer inside the apartment, so make sure that the dryer has a clear exhaust path. Over time with usage, the dryer hose seems to be push shut and damage the dryer or even start a fire. Some tenants do not know they must clean out the lint trap after every drying cycle. Take off the metal hose that attaches to the back of your dryer and checks for any lint that is stuck. If so, then use a vacuum to remove it.
4. Check the water heater for rust spots.
This an can be a clean but horrible mess if you water heater bursts. Make sure that when you install a water heater, you put the date when it was fixed. In the Cayman Islands, because our water is desalinated (meaning there are NO minerals in the water), Our tanks rust out quicker, and it is not because we have salty water as most people believe. The water sucks minerals from the metal water heater thus making it rust out sooner than other countries who use fresh water. Tell your tenants if they see rust-colored water to inform you right away so you can change it out before the hot water tank explodes. Condenser on-demand water heaters that heat just the water when needed. The cost difference between a water tank and a tankless heater is very similar unless you need new wiring. Your tenant will love the lower power cost. Check with a licensed election on islands as you may need more amps to run an on-demand heater.
5. Clean sinks and shower drains
Clogged drains can be landlord’s nightmare. By keeping the pipes and drains clean you can avoid major issues like pipes bursting or backing up. A trick I have used and I tell my tenants to do is pour half a cup of baking soda, down the tubes and let it sit for five minutes. Then add one cup of vinegar and a pot of boiling water, then again leave it to sit for five minutes and after that then run hot water through it for 30 seconds to a minute. You don't have to use harsh chemicals such as Draino.
6. Taps and Toilets
Check for dripping faucets and running toilets, both are straightforward fixes, and your tenants will appreciate you taking care of these irritating issues and save them money as Cayman Water is very expensive compared to other countries.
No one likes to clean let’s face it, but in Cayman, we have excellent services company that will come in and make your property smelling and feeling clean. Tenants view of clean is never the best, and it is subjective. So, make sure you do not give back their security deposit back until, the carpet on the stars has been steam cleaned, the sofa, mattress and rugs are having washed. A deep clean for a 2-bedroom condo cost $200 to $300 and to have the upholstery cleaned will be another $500 or more. If you have a property staged and clean rental you will attract a tenant who will treat your property as you presented it to them.
Exterior Home or Condo
8. Clean gutters, remove leaves, check roof and outside of the home.
It is essential to make sure that the gutters are clear and drain water properly. Walk around the home and check for any damage or potential problems. Wind can cause branches to damage the siding and roofing shingles. If you live in strata, ask the management company to look at these issues for you.
9. Trim landscaping.
Cleaning up the landscaping has many advantages. Trimming branches that might be encroaching on your home keeps the window screens protected. It will make your property look great, which can attract better tenants if the property becomes available for rent.
Heidi Kiss, Broker, License Partner and Advisor