Should you let your owners/tenants handle repairs?

By
Property Manager with AmeriTeam Property Management SL#3200658
https://activerain.com/droplet/4l8v

Should you let your owners/tenants handle repairs?

(photo: cheezburger.com)

 

Should you let your owners/tenants handle repairs?

 

http://www.biggerpockets.com/renewsblog/2014/05/29/landlord-manual-labor-poll/

 

This is an age-old question in Property Management-land, of course- and it typically comes in one of these scenarios:

1) You're managing a single family home, townhome or condo for an owner who tells you he's "really handy" and has "handled things like that before", or

2) You have a tenant living in a single family home, townhome or condo you manage who tells you he's "really handy" and has "handled things like that before"

I'll answer the question from my perspective at the end of this, but I really found some other folks' answers to the question a bit interesting.  The site this came from, Bigger Pockets, is a great source of information- and it's clear Joe Landlord is a good bit better educated than they once were thanks to the world of information out there for them to absorb to go along with the ol' on-the-job learnin' we all do as well.

One guy answered that it was good for a landlord to handle repairs if they were broke.  Another put it a bit more mildly and said that they should handle them unless they had deep pockets.  A good number hit on the knowledge side of things as well- understanding that a tenant-occupied property isn't a toy of some sort and that "practicing" will surely make things worse.

I have owners who wish to handle their own repairs versus me sending a professional to take care of the issue at hand.  That's not good for a few reasons- including but not limited to the following: owners may/may not be competent enough to handle the job, quality of the owners' work might be sub-par and/or hazardous to the tenant (see photo above) or owner may procrastinate in handling the job for some reason or another and expose both you and himself to claims from the tenant.

Tenants often ask whether they can handle repairs or "make-ready" work in advance of a move-in in return for reduced rent- and often ask to handle things like painting by themselves.  Risk and liability rear their heads here as well.  Sure, things could turn out well if a tenant handles something prior to move-in and things go perfectly- but what if he gets his Scaffold Magic goin' on (see below) and snaps his neck?

 

(photo: cheezburger.com)

 

As you may have guessed by now, my answer to the question would be a pretty solid "no".  Landlordin' is for landlords, managing properties is for property managers and makin' repairs is for those professionals that work their particular trade every day.  Using them isn't always cheap (and as some alluded to in their answers here, there are some rascally property managers out there as in any business)- but more often than not, the end result is less risk and more sleep for all.

 

Should you let your owners/tenants handle repairs?

 

Posted by
 
DENNIS B. BURGESS
Property Manager

Licensed Florida Realtor
 
AmeriTeam Property Management
845 N. Garland Ave., #200
Orlando, FL  32801
 
 
 
205-445-4755 cell/direct
407-901-3636 x103 office
407-901-5147 office fax
 
Turning vacant into occupied, and "houses" into "homes"SM
 
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Doug Rogers
Bayou Properties - Alexandria, LA
Your Alexandria Louisiana Agent

In my lawsuit happy state such action would be begging for trouble.

Jul 22, 2014 10:14 AM #1
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Barbara-Jo Roberts Berberi, MA, PSA, TRC - Greater Clearwater Florida Residential Real Estate Professional
Charles Rutenberg Realty - Clearwater, FL
Palm Harbor, Dunedin, Clearwater, Safety Harbor

I love that photo! Some minor repairs should be allowed. When I prepare a lease, I write repairs under $50, which is indeed minimal.

Jul 23, 2014 03:01 AM #2
Rainmaker
422,445
Dennis Burgess
AmeriTeam Property Management - Mid Florida, FL
Orlando Property Manager and Realtor

Hi, Doug:  Thank you for stopping by, and for your comment.  I'd figure our lawsuit-happy state's probably on par with yours or even worse- and with it also being a tenant-friendly lawsuit-happy state, it's call for trouble is that much louder!

Jul 23, 2014 07:07 AM #3
Rainmaker
422,445
Dennis Burgess
AmeriTeam Property Management - Mid Florida, FL
Orlando Property Manager and Realtor

Hi, Barbara-Jo:  Thank you for dropping by, and for your comment.  I know some folks that do that with minor repairs as well- say, allowing tenants/requiring tenants to replace toilet flappers and all.  I can understand that- but the big items have to be left to the pros!

Jul 23, 2014 07:09 AM #4
Rainmaker
4,160,424
Joan Cox
House to Home, Inc. - Denver Real Estate - 720-231-6373 - Denver, CO
Denver Real Estate - Selling One Home at a Time

I would think if landlords want a property manager to manage their properties, why would they take care of the repairs.

Jul 26, 2014 12:09 AM #5
Rainmaker
422,445
Dennis Burgess
AmeriTeam Property Management - Mid Florida, FL
Orlando Property Manager and Realtor

Hi, Joan:  Thank you for stopping by, and for your comment and very good question. Simply put, every property management company (and often individual managers within one company) handles things a bit differently than the next.  Assuming Fair Housing and other laws, landlord/tenant acts and etc are followed, there's not necessarily one right way of doing things that is above all others in every circumstance.

A majority of owners I've managed for have been as you would expect- they trust me to handle the "whatevers" that happen in day-to-day life and to send them a check from  rental proceeds every month.

Some are different, however.  Some may have a favorite A/C company and only want me to send that company out for repairs if needed, some may have their own handyman, etc.  And yes, some may want me to call them each time a repair issue arises- so they can decide if they'd like to handle things themselves.  Some do their own repairs, do them well and in a timely fashion.  Others.... represent the problem with it all.  What if the owner says he'll make a repair, but his understanding of the word "urgent" doesn't match yours...or what if he honestly plans on getting something done- yet life gets in the way and he simply can't do it?

It's the latter scenarios that have prompted a number of companies to craft their managememt agreements accordingly- explicitly stating that owners are not to effect their own repairs, as it's in the best interests of the tenant in ensuring things are done in a timelyfashion- and it's in the best interests of all concerned that the arms-length relationship between owner and tenant is maintained as well.

Jul 26, 2014 01:45 AM #6
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Rob Arnold
Sand Dollar Realty Group, Inc. - Altamonte Springs, FL
Metro Orlando Full Service - Investor Friendly & F

Definitely we tell tenants in the beginning that we handle all repairs and maintenance.  That doesn't necessarily mean that a handy tenant might not occasionally fix something and not tell us, but we never put the burden on the tenant to do any fixing.  Just too much liability and often times they do sloppy work anyway. 

Jul 28, 2014 02:20 AM #7
Rainmaker
422,445
Dennis Burgess
AmeriTeam Property Management - Mid Florida, FL
Orlando Property Manager and Realtor

Hi, Judge Rob:  Thank you for dropping by, and for your comment and insight.  Tenants doing sloppy work?  Huh?  I've always thought they've done great work...eye roll.

Jul 28, 2014 09:02 AM #8
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Dennis Burgess

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