Why Rental Property Maintenance is Important

Category Rentals - Landlord Advice

Why Rental Property Maintenance is Important

If you bought investment real estate with the aim of generating rental income or even selling it after a few years, you need to perform rental property maintenance. Sure, the tenant is responsible for normal upkeep of the rental property, but what if the state of the property becomes the reason for not being able to get a high rental price?

Also, consider when you want to sell. If you have not done rental property maintenance, you end up with a house that requires extensive work before it can be sold. To sell, you need a valid electricity compliance certificate. If the electricity is in a poor state of repair, you can rest assured that the ECOC will not be forthcoming.

To this end, the buyer may also require a valid plumbing certificate if it becomes apparent that there are problems with the geysers or drainage on the property. Add to the list of problems, the risk of not being able to sell because of building regulation violations.

You may argue that you already have a valid ECOC, but if any changes have been made to the wiring system after the issuing of the certificate, you will need a certificate for the particular part of the wiring system.

Keep in mind, the ECOC is only valid for a period of two years. Instead of risking not being able to sell because of beetle problems, overfull septic tank, non-compliance with building regulations and the likes, pay close attention to the maintenance of your investment property.

The above is especially true in a buyer's market.  A buyer's market furthermore implies and oversupply of properties and normally an underlying reason for slowing down in the house market.  If the house is in disrepair, it can thus stay on the market for a long time. This is a huge problem, as you may have to reduce the price significantly to sell it. Then the question: "Do you still make a good return on the sale of the house?"

Bottom line is that it is an investment property. The house is thus an asset. Just as with any other asset, you do not want it to depreciate. In order to protect your investment, while generating rental income, it is imperative to perform property maintenance in a timely and professional manner.

Do not compromise by getting in an unqualified plumber, builder not registered with the NHBRC or an unregistered electrician.  You need an audit trail of work completed in compliance with the relevant regulations.

Even the smallest of deviations can leave you open for a lawsuit regarding gross negligence should one of the house occupants suffer injury because of non-maintenance or sub-standard structural maintenance on the property. It is your duty to ensure the property is fit for the reason it is rented.

The better the state of the rental property, the higher the return on investment. You can realise a higher rental price and the property's value grows. As a long-term investor, implement a rental property maintenance and service plan.

Quarterly rental property maintenance inspections and in between tenants, can help you to identify problems early on. Fixing the issues immediately can help to prevent secondary damage and expensive repairs. Have a checklist at hand to determine what maintenance should be performed.

The rental property maintenance checklist should include:

  • Entrance and exit doors or gates for keys, opening, closing, locking and unlocking.
  • Window handles for operation.
  • Glass or sliding doors for fluent sliding.
  • Roof leaks.
  • Signs of damp on the walls or ceiling, indicative of water leaks or related issues.
  • Smells or odours, indicative of drain problems or poor sanitary conditions.
  • Pool pump and related equipment.
  • Swimming pool filters and state of repair.
  • Garage door operation.
  • Gate motor operation.
  • Plant overgrowth - plants can cause the gate to stick on the rails.
  • Paving condition.
  • State of fence including electric fence.
  • Geysers for operation.
  • Power outlet covers.
  • Door handles and hinges for sagging.
  • Walls for paint.
  • Lights operation.
  • Stove components and operation.
  • Broken tiles or worn carpets.
  • Shower state (pressure, drain cleaning, and possible leaks).
  • Toilets - flushing, bowl leaks and seat state.
  • Taps for operation and possible seal problems.
  • Irrigation system condition.
  • Ceiling boards for condition.
  • Wood structures for condition (rot, varnishing, oil required etc.)
  • Burglar bars for functioning.
  • Stairs for safety.
  • Gutters (condition and cleaning).
  • Roof condition (tiles, roof plates etc.)
  • Wooden beams for safety and general state of repair.
  • Wooden deck.
  • Fireplace.
  • Outside taps.
  • Fishing pond.
  • Washing line.
  • Cupboards.

Keep in mind that your property rental contract most probably states that the tenant accepts the property as in good order. It is not possible for the prospective tenant to sign such a lease if it is not true.

Where to get help

The solution is to perform the initial checks and repair the property to a reasonable state before renting it out through a reputable estate agency such as Chas Everitt Lowveld. The agency screens prospective tenants and facilitates the rental of it.

 In addition, the agency performs in-going and out-going inspections with the tenants and is thus in a good position to identify problems. Respond to such problems in a timely manner as to minimise the risk of losing rental income due to the poor state of the property.  Protect your investment property by having a rental property maintenance plan in place.

Disclaimer - Information is relevant at date of publishing (April 2019). The article is for general information purposes only and should not be seen as legal, realty or financial advice.

Author: Isebell Gauche

Submitted 09 Apr 19 / Views 15

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