Mistake #2 - Taking Shortcuts
As a property owner, you know how time-consuming keeping your property in good condition is. Things break, disasters happen, and they usually don't happen at the best times. Even in normal circumstances, several things need to be done to make sure that the repair or improvement is handled correctly. And if you're not a large company that gives a contractor a lot of business, you know how tough it is to get someone out. Because this can be so time-consuming, many Property Owners will go the easy route by allowing their residents to take charge of maintenance.
Let's look at three scenarios where owners take shortcuts that seem harmless but could cost thousands.
Your resident asks if they can brighten the place up a little bit. They want to paint. You think it's a good idea, but you don't mind it if they're going to provide the labor and they're going to pay for the paint. What a great way to save money and get an updated color scheme.
Never. Let. Residents. Paint.
You'd be surprised at how many bad paint jobs I've seen. I've seen some paint jobs that look like somebody painted with their eyes closed. We've seen walls streaked up because a resident got lazy and only painted one coat when it needed two or three. We've seen houses where they rolled up to the ceiling or onto the crown molding and trim. Not only do you have to paint walls, but now you have to paint trim, crown molding, and sometimes even the ceiling. In one case, a property owner allowed his resident to paint. They were supposed to paint the entire property because he wanted it all one color. When they moved out, they'd only painted two rooms. That left the owner to change the colors in those two rooms or paint the entire property. What happens if they spill paint on your carpet? Are they going to pay for it? What happens if they fall off a ladder while painting that vaulted ceiling? Do they have insurance to cover them? No. You're going to end up in a lawsuit.
Let's just say your kitchen faucet or your toilet needs repair. Seems rather simple. Your resident says they'll fix it and send you the bill. That's not the best idea. What happens if they don't make the repair correctly and it floods the house? Who's gonna have to pay for that?
Your resident is a self-proclaimed handyman and wants to negotiate a deal for you to allow him to do repairs and take it off his rent. Many owners think this is a great arrangement. It makes it super easy for them. Well, it's not. Your resident reaches out and says the kitchen faucet is leaking. Again, no big deal. $25 - $30 in parts and some labor. He comes back with a receipt for a $250 faucet?!? You gave him permission to get the job done. Or every month, there seemed to be more and more repairs. The bills get larger and larger. Or even worse, the resident moves out, and you discover that several of the repairs you paid him for were never actually completed. Not only do you have to complete the repairs now, but now you have additional damage because they didn't properly repair the leaks. This really muddies the waters of the landlord-and-tenant relationship.
Are you taking shortcuts by letting your resident take care of maintenance and improvements?