So you’ve decided to hire a property manager to handle the day-to-day operations of your rental property. Excellent choice – they can take a huge load off your plate! But once you hand over the keys, you probably still have some burning questions.
The big one I always get from new clients is: “What repairs and maintenance are you responsible for as my property manager? And what repair expenses will I be covering as the owner?”
Let me break it down for you. When you hire a property manager, their job is to oversee maintenance and handle repairs to keep your property in prime condition. But you as the owner are still on the hook for paying any repair bills and maintenance costs.
Don’t worry though – I’ve got you covered on the details of how it all works! Over my 10+ years managing rentals, I’ve learned how to stretch every dollar to maximize returns for owners. Read on as I walk through exactly what type of repairs typically fall under a property manager’s responsibility, how maintenance expenses are paid, procedures for handling repairs, and key costs owners should budget for…
What Repairs are Property Managers Responsible For?
When you hire someone to manage your property, their job is to keep things running smoothly. That means overseeing all repairs and ongoing maintenance required to keep your building operational and your tenants happy.
As your property manager, I act as your eyes and ears on the ground. If a tenant reports a leaky faucet or a broken stair tread, I’m the first line of defense to get the issue evaluated and fixed. I’ll coordinate access to the property with your renters, determine if professional repairs are needed, and hire reputable technicians to remedy most standard maintenance problems.
Some of the common types of repairs that typically fall within my scope of responsibility include:
- Plumbing repairs – from leaky sinks and clogged drains to water heater replacements and sewer line clogs. If it’s plumbing-related, I can handle it!
- Electrical repairs – faulty wiring, power outages, malfunctioning light fixtures or outlets – I’ve got an excellent electrician ready to assist.
- HVAC maintenance and repairs – when the AC won’t blow cold air on a 95 degree day, I know your tenants will be calling me stat. My 24/7 emergency HVAC techs can troubleshoot furnace and AC issues.
- Appliance repairs – if the refrigerator stops cooling or the oven won’t heat, I coordinate appliance repair or replacement.
- Pest control – if critters invade, I call my pest control partners to evict them quickly and safely.
- Interior repairs – from drywall patches to damaged floors or leaky roofs over living spaces, I handle all repairs inside the units to keep them safe and comfortable.
I also take responsibility for ensuring your property remains compliant with all landlord-tenant laws and safety regulations in our area. That includes evaluating any reported safety hazards like broken stair railings, uneven walking surfaces, faulty locks or lighting, exposed wires, missing smoke detector batteries, etc.
My job is to know all federal, state, and local housing codes to keep your building up to standards. I leverage my network of licensed and insured contractors to remedy any issues that could pose risks for your tenants.
The bottom line is I oversee anything that happens within the walls of your property and the surrounding grounds. Curb appeal upgrades aside, if it’s broken, leaking, clogged, or putting tenants at risk, I’m on it!
Now as for upgrades like kitchen remodels, new roofs, re-paving the driveway, or other major enhancements – those fall outside typical property management responsibilities (and budgets!). As your owner rep, I’m happy to get quotes and coordinate major upgrades like those upon request. But the costs would come straight from your pocket.
The typical repairs outlined above are covered under the monthly fees you pay me to manage your asset. Read on for details on exactly how those repair expenses and payments work…
Who Covers the Cost of Repairs and Maintenance?
By now you’re probably wondering – my property manager oversees all these repairs, but do they actually pay for them too?
The short answer is no! As the owner, the repair expenses ultimately come out of your budget. My job is to responsibly and transparently oversee maintenance, stretch your dollars as far as possible, and ensure you have happy tenants in safe housing.
When you hire me to manage your property, we’ll set up a separate reserve account to cover unpredictable maintenance costs as they pop up. Each month when I collect rent, I’ll transfer a portion (often 10-20% of the payment) into that reserve fund.
Then as repair needs arise, I pay vendors and technicians out of your reserve account, not my own pocket. I send you a monthly statement detailing any maintenance payments so you can track reserve balances and reimbursement needs.
If a major emergency repair exceeds the current reserve – say the AC system needs full replacement in July – I would get your approval for added funds before proceeding. I know owners appreciate that check-in for large unanticipated expenses over a certain threshold.
To sum it up, your property management fees cover my coordination and oversight of maintenance. But the actual cost of parts, supplies, and professional repair services gets deducted from your dedicated reserve account.
How Property Managers Handle Maintenance and Repairs
By now I’m sure you’re confident I’ve got you covered handling routine maintenance and emergency repairs for your building. But you might wonder about the step-by-step process when an issue arises. Let me give you the insider scoop!
When one of your tenants notices a maintenance concern, they simply notify me through their online tenant portal or with a quick call or email. Simple and painless for them – no more coordinating with the owner or waiting for approval to fix annoying drips or appliance glitches!
After they send a maintenance request, here’s what happens behind the scenes:
- I contact the tenant to gather details about the problem if the initial information is vague. Getting clear specifics from the start ensures I dispatch the appropriate type of technician with the right equipment to remedy the issue. This prevents wasting precious time and money sending an electrician for a non-electrical problem!
- Once I understand the root cause, I determine whether it’s a quick fix my staff can handle or if I need to send a licensed professional.
- If I dispatch a vendor, I select from my established network of electricians, plumbers, HVAC repair techs, appliance servicers, locksmiths etc. based on availability and your property’s needs. I leverage relationships and history with certain providers who offer prompt, fairly priced, quality work.
- I oversee quote approvals, coordinate access to your property for the repair visit, and manage communications with tenants about timing, impacts, etc.
- During the actual service appointment, I’m available by phone if any questions come up. And I follow strict procedures for documenting vendor arrival/departure times and invoice amounts to ensure transparency.
- Post-visit, I circle back with tenants to ensure the fix adequately resolved their maintenance issue. I also review the vendor’s workmanship and property condition before approving payment from your reserve funds.
I take maintenance and repairs seriously for my owners because I know one frustratingly slow or expensive repair can cost you a long-term tenant. Throughout the process, I leverage both high-tech systems to track details and high-touch personal coordination to handle concerns promptly and professionally.
That symbiotic combination allows me to stretch your budget dollars responsibly so you keep more rental income in your own pocket!
Emergency Repairs and Exceptions
While I outlined my general process for repairs above, emergency issues bring some slightly different protocols given their urgent nature.
If a tenant reports a maintenance emergency – sewer line backing up, smoke detectors beeping ominously, roof leak over electrical panels – I know immediate intervention is crucial even outside business hours.
In after-hours emergency cases, owners provide me verbal authority upfront to approve repairs up to $2,000 without delay. We agree that health and safety risks like fire, flood, or failure of essential systems take priority over upfront quote approval given their potential damage.
However, as soon as possible following the emergency visit, I still follow standard procedures to document details like:
- The nature of the emergency
- Photos of damage/risks
- Invoices from emergency technicians
- A clear explanation of completed work
I then route this documentation ASAP back to the owner just like during standard business hours. So rest assured I still maintain transparency and oversight – I just have more flexibility to act swiftly if disaster strikes off hours!
Beyond emergency repairs, I adhere to the authorized spending cap outlined in our property management agreement for typical maintenance expenses. Of course if any especially complex or expensive issues exceed that threshold, I gather multiple quotes and consult the owner before proceeding.
But truly in the majority of common property repairs I handle – leaky toilet flappers, jammed garbage disposals, clogged sinks – I leverage my experience to deliver affordable solutions without micromanagement. Keeping things humming along 24/7 is my superpower!
So while you foot the bill for maintenance emergency or not, partnering with an experienced property manager safeguards your budget. I stretch dollars efficiently, skillfully handy emergency Band-Aids, and keep your tenants safe with prompt repairs.
Let’s talk budget planning…
Key Factors Impacting Repair Costs for Property Owners
If the thought of unpredictable appliance breakdowns or costly HVAC replacements makes you cringe, you’re not alone! As a long-time property manager focused on rental investments exclusively, I’ve learned to plan for maintenance expenses strategically.
Over my years in business, I’ve noticed 5 key factors that tend to influence how much owners shell out in annual repairs and upkeep:
Age and Overall Condition
It probably comes as no surprise that older properties typically rack up pricier repair bills. Water heaters, furnace systems, appliances etc. degrade over time thanks to years of wear and tear. Newer construction may breeze by with more minor maintenance fixes for longer. Plan to budget extra for big ticket system fails in dated buildings.
Preventative measures also impact deterioration – properties with updated roofs, electrical, and plumbing tend to hold up better than those clinging to original fixtures from decades back. Talk to me about smart refresh investments that could save you money long-term!
Previous Upkeep Initiatives
How well past owners maintained the property significantly sways future costs. Did they invest in protective measures like pipe insulation, gutter guards, foundation sealing? Or bandage sporadic problems ignoring gradual decay?
Units with a history of TLC typically need fewer major overhauls. Reviewing maintenance logs and speaking with knowledgeable property managers provides clues to what you might encounter.
How owners prepare for eventual repairs also influences budgets. The more padded your designated maintenance reserves, the less you’ll panic when crisis strikes!
Best practice is funneling 5-10% of collected rent into reserves monthly to build a healthy cushion. If instead you continually tap funds as soon as issues arise, you may find yourself short when a big-ticket problem like a roof leak pops up. Discuss an optimal savings strategy tailored for your property’s needs.
Relationships & Buying Power
The property management company you select plays a major role in maintenance costs. Firms like mine cultivate wide contractor networks granting preferential rates you can’t obtain solo.
Long-loyal trade partners offer parts discounts, absorb some rush delivery fees, and give priority response times to companies like us who provide reliable business. My deep roots in this community translate to direct budget benefits for clients.
Repair vs. Replace Decisions
As items near the end of their lifespan, owners face fork-in-the-road decisions. Do you repair the 18-year-old AC unit this summer? Or bite the bullet to replace the whole system?
Walking through pros, cons, and cost comparisons with an experienced property manager clarifies the wisest long-term investments for your property. I leverage both data and instinct guiding owners to optimal outcomes.
While factors like gradual wear and major storms create some unavoidable expenses, taking a proactive approach minimizes costly surprises. Leaning on historic trends for your property type, planning adequate reserves, and trusting your manager’s advice goes a long way!
Now that you know who pays and how the system works, let’s talk choosing the right property management partner for your needs…
Do Property Managers Typically Cover the Cost of Roof Repairs?
Questions to Ask About Repairs When Hiring a Property Manager
Maintenance coordination is one of the most important tasks a property manager handles. Yet many owners fail to ask key questions about repairs when interviewing management prospects.
With so much riding on their ability to handle issues promptly and affordably, probe candidates thoroughly about their repair capabilities before signing any Property Management Agreement (PMA).
Here are 8 vital repair questions to get candid responses about from any property manager you consider hiring:
What Specific Services Do Your Fees Cover?
Spell it out clearly – do they handle overall maintenance oversight in addition to the expected accounting and tenant management? Or do they charge extra for handling “property visits” and repair coordination?
Many traditional brokers acting as pseudo-property managers nickle-and-dime owners with multiple add-on fees. Know exactly what you’re paying for (and not paying for) upfront!
What Is Your Average Repair Response Time?
Ask prospects to share specific stories about recent tenant maintenance requests. How quickly were they on site assessing the issue? How soon after the visit did they have a resolution or next steps?
Look for managers with systems to handle tenant coordinating and vendordispatch smoothly for the fastest possible response times. Slow repairs can equal unhappy tenants and expensive emergencies.
Do You Have Established Relationships Securing Discounts?
Trusted managers cultivate strong local connections translating to real cost savings for owners. Quiz them about any exclusive partnerships that could benefit your budget through preferential rates, priority scheduling, or special payment terms.
Loyal contractor relationships built over years demonstrate a company’s influence in the community. Leverage that to your wallet’s advantage!
What Systems Are In Place For Clear Owner Communication?
Understanding expectations upfront prevents frustrations later about approvals and costly surprises. Probe managers about their standard procedures for notifying owners regarding:
- Required repairs exceeding your authorized dollar amount
- Emergency repairs over the agreed-upon threshold
- Any other specific situations you want to be informed about ASAP
Look for centralized electronic systems allowing 24/7 visibility rather than playing occasional phone tag.
How Are Maintenance Reserves Handled?
Get clear specifics on how they track reserve account balances, calculate monthly set-asides, and replenish funds. Who actually holds the money? What statements or reports detail deductions?
I recommend querying about average required reserve levels as well given each property’s unique trajectories.
How Are Vendors Selected and Work Validated?
Ask candidates to elaborate about their relationships with vendors and processes to guarantee quality work. Do they send the same technicians to properties or rotate assignments? Who confirms repairs were completed properly before approving payment?
Understanding their methods for oversight prevents you from funding sloppy work or half-baked solutions.
Could You Provide Some Owner References To Query?
Speaking directly with current clients gives candid insight about responsive maintenance experiences. Ask prospects for 2-3 references and blocks of time you can call to ask questions.
Pay attention to owners of properties similar to your own in age, size etc. to best gauge how the company might perform specifically on your asset.
What Software/Tools Improve Communication and Access?
Web-based visibility into real-time reporting provides confidence repairs are handled promptly and professionally even when you’re remote.
Ask how the company leverages technology to connect tenants, owners, vendors to track maintenance issues from first report through solution seamlessly.
Getting nitty gritty on repairs pre-contract ensures your manager won’t drop balls reacting to tenant maintenance woes. Dodging disappointment down the road starts with targeted questions now!
Key Takeaways: Who Pays for Property Repairs & Maintenance?
If you made it this far, pat yourself on the back for stellar commitment! Let me recap the key details before you dart off:
While property managers oversee maintenance coordination, owners themselves remain on the hook for covering actual repair and upkeep expenses at their rentals.
Managers stretch dollars by setting budget guidelines, leveraging contractor relationships to secure discounts, establishing reserve funds, and determining necessary work scope.
Still, any parts, technician visits, or supplies required for fix-ups ultimately get paid from the owner’s dedicated maintenance reserves. The property management fees owners pay cover the administrative legwork executing repairs, not the hard costs itself in most cases.
Of course exceptional emergencies, major upgrades chosen by the owner, and specified exclusions in your Property Management Agreement may affect who foots certain bills.
But day-to-day leaks, appliance glitches, safety repairs and the like? You pay…but I make the payments painless through seamless coordination.
Hopefully this insider overview dispels money mysteries around repairs, reservations, and pesky property problems! Drop me any lingering questions in the comments – I’m always happy to clarify the fine print.
And when you’re ready to hand off headaches to a true maintenance pro, you know who to call to take repairs and rentals off your crowded plate!