Having a well-maintained property means that someone has to keep an eye-out for potential problems. That someone can either be you, your property manager, or (if you want to be efficient!) your tenants themselves. The importance of keeping up maintenance in rental properties cannot be emphasized enough. Tenant maintenance means that you’ll not only have the immediate help from those that are most directly affected by maintenance problems, but you’ll also have your tenant’s appreciation (which is known to be a key for good investment profits).
Tenants must know that they are the first-line of defense when it comes to the upkeep of their rental home (and your building!). By making tenants know that they are as much responsible for preventing the deterioration of the premises, you are helping your tenants invest in the idea that their good vigilance and your quick initiative to resolve problems is a mutually beneficial relationship: your home or building is just as much their home or building too. This is a good thing! Your tenants will notify your property management company right away about any issues that come up and they can respond on your behalf.
When it comes to good tenant maintenance, the relationship between tenants and landlords is greatly influenced by whomever is running the property’s management. Not all property management companies are the same. It would be advantageous to hire a property management company that holds multiple professional designations. You should especially look for those with a CPM (or Certified Property Manager) designation. CPM members have a Code of Professional Ethics from the Institute of Real Estate Management that they have to follow. Such members also have to have at least five years of good property management experience under their belt.
You may also want to allow your tenants to do minor maintenance for themselves as long as they follow a set of guidelines that you provide. Make it a requirement to have before and after pictures taken. They may be willing to volunteer the labor, if they get a little leeway to choose paint colors or what not, and depending on the rental agreement put in place you can just reimburse them for the interior painting supplies. However, when it comes to specialized work, like with bricks and carpentry, or plumbing and electrical fittings, you’ll need someone with experience. But it would be good for tenants to actually see a landlord come out and do something simple, like mend a fence or lay a slab – they’ll get to see how much pride and care you dedicate to their rental home, and it may even inspire them to be more protective of it. Also, if you’re just starting out in the DIY Home Improvement scene, you’ll gain confidence and will gradually be able to deal with increasingly more complex projects as you go along.