Preventative Maintenance is a common sense approach to reducing liability for property owners, and preventing injury to tenants as well as complying with building codes and laws. It is important that both the interior and exterior of a property provide a safe environment for a resident.
A major key for reducing liability is to “think preventative.” Paying for maintenance repairs can reduce or avoid costly legal problems. Courts have a very dim view of property owners that ignore hazardous maintenance. It can have an additional benefit of encouraging tenant retention. A happy tenant is less likely to move if their home is comfortable and safe. This reduces loss of rental income.
- Fix flooring problems such as exposed carpet tacks, loose tiles, ripped linoleum, and stretch carpeting when necessary. Replace flooring when it becomes a trip hazard as soon as possible.
- Repair any unsafe electrical problems, such as broken receptacles, unsafe wiring, or faulty stove/oven and dishwasher units immediately. Have tenants test the oven annually preferably prior to Thanksgiving.
- If the refrigerator has an ice/water maker, check the connection annually.
- Install GFCI’s in bathrooms and kitchens to prevent electric shock.
- Water heaters should have a drain line in place.
- Air Conditioning filters should be replaced frequently to keep the system working optimally.
- Check water shut off valves in bathrooms and kitchen to make sure they work.
- Maintain or replace smoke alarms so that they work properly in the event of fire.
- Install carbon monoxide detectors in the property. This is a relatively inexpensive item to promote tenant safety and is now required by law in many states. It is not in Texas yet, but we think it may be soon.
- Replace or fix window locks, ensuring that the tenant can easily open all moving windows to provide escape routes in the event of fire or to prevent a burglary.
- Installing double cylinder deadbolts with thumb throws is a big safety item.
- Remove or fix any problem that could promote mold problems, such as leaking or dripping faucets, broken bathroom fans, etc. If necessary, have the property evaluated by an experienced mold expert. This is one of the highest liability areas for landlords today.
Many of the above items are simple and inexpensive; some are not. There may be repairs that are mandatory by state or federal law. They can all reduce or prevent costly legal issues. If you have questions or concerns regarding your property, call us to discuss them. We make it a priority to promote the safety of your tenants and “Protect Your Investment.”
- Install proper lighting around the property to help deter or expose waiting predators.
- Keep bushes and trees trimmed to not only assist with exterior lighting, but also avoid areas where tenants can trip and injure themselves.
- Removing large tree branches can also prevent damage to roofs, people, and tenant vehicles.
- Trim tree branches away from roofs to prevent rodent access to property and to comply with insurance.
- Repair large cracks that cause uneven sidewalks and driveways - another trip hazard.
- Remove dangerous tree roots – this can cause large cracks in sidewalks and driveways.
- Have hanging wiring, falling gutters, and falling roof shingles, removed immediately.
- Remove high grasses or debris that could promote fire danger.
- Repair, replace, or take out unsafe patio covers, sheds, fences, or structures that could cause a hazard.
- Repair or remove dangerous potholes or rocks.
- Fix the source of any standing water. This not only eliminates potential pest problems, but can also reduce water bills.
- If there is a pool or spa, be sure there is proper maintenance of the water and that it complies with all safety codes.