Managing Property Damage as a Landlord

Posted by Rose Morrison on Dec 14, 2020 9:00:00 AM

people having a planning session

All landlords have to deal with property damage at some point or another. Even if you live in the perfect climate and have the best tenants, time will take its toll on your rental units. Therefore, it’s important to prepare in advance, so you’re ready to make repairs at the first sign of damage. Follow these tips to stay ahead.

Be Available

Your tenants will often notice property damage before you. When they do, you must be available to listen and respond to their requests. If you don’t have the time or live too far away to make repairs, hire some help. Only 27% of landlords have a property manager, even though half of all property owners don’t live close to their investment. Respond to maintenance requests quickly and keep your tenants happy by adding a manager to the payroll.

Refer To the Lease

As you evaluate your property damage, refer to the lease to determine who will be footing the bill. If occupants were the reason behind a hole in your wall or broken windows, they may be responsible for making repairs or at least paying for them. Distinguish between normal wear and tear and more significant damages and consult the rental agreement before making any major repairs.

Make Speedy Repairs

After identifying and assessing the damage, try to repair the issue as soon as possible. Even problems like small leaks can turn into broken pipes and a costly emergency if you don’t make speedy repairs. Coordinate with your tenants and find an ideal time to enter their unit to fix damages. Follow up with occupants in the coming weeks to ensure the repair is sufficient and still effective.

Budget for Property Damage

Of course, there’s no way to know when disaster will strike. Therefore, it’s best to budget for property damages before they occur. Set aside at least 1% of the annual property value to cover unexpected repairs and avoid ending up in the red. Doing so will improve your bottom line and keep tenants happy.


Rose Morrison is a home improvement and real estate writer and the managing editor of Renovated.

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