Basic maintenance and repairs every landlord should know how to do

If you are the “hands-off” type of landlord and would prefer not having to bother with repairs yourself, that’s fine. Just be sure to have a network of contractors and other professionals you can rely on at any given time. 

If you’re the type of landlord that doesn’t mind getting dirty and likes to save money, making basic repairs and maintenance yourself is the way to go. Below are five tasks you should definitely learn how to do right away. 

1. Plumbing 101

One of the biggest complaints from tenants is leaky faucets. The good news is fixing them is usually as simple as taking the faucet apart and replacing a worn gasket or washer. Hiring a professional to do this could set you back as much as $125!

Other plumbing tasks you should learn to do include snaking a drain, disassembling a P-trap, and plunging a toilet the right way. 

2. How To Replace Electrical Switches And Outlets

Flickering lights or lights that dim on their own call for a professional electrician, but when an outlet or switch stops working, you can fix it yourself quite easily. Often times, it’s just a loose wire that needs tightening, but if not, replacing the offending switch or outlet is a 20-minute job at most. Just be sure to turn the power off at the breaker box before you begin. 

3. Appliance Diagnosis And Repair

Most rental properties include appliances. As a landlord, replacing those appliances is a costly undertaking you’d rather not do. As such, it’s a good idea to learn how to troubleshoot and repair appliance problems. Not only will you save the cost of the repair, but you’ll save money on the service call, too.

It’s hard to predict the many things that can go wrong with refrigerators, washers, and dryers, but by searching the symptoms of the issues as well as the brand name of the appliance, you can probably find plenty of information and videos online to help you diagnose and fix the problem. 

4. Maintaining HVAC Systems

Many HVAC unit problems require the expertise of a licensed professional but maintaining the units to prevent issues is something you can do yourself. 

Learn how to change filters, clean the refrigerator coils, and lubricate the fan motors. Also, if the furnace in your rental is gas, take some time to learn how to replace a faulty thermocouple/heat sensor as these components are often responsible for a pilot light not staying lit. 

5. Drywall Repair/Replacement

Damage to the walls in a rental unit is a common issue. You could pay a professional to fill in nail holes or repair large damage, but if you learn to do it yourself, you’ll save yourself $300 or more in repair costs. 

Drywall repair is a messy job, but it’s not difficult, and you’ll be glad you know how to do it when you need to get your rental ready for a new tenant to avoid a lengthy vacancy. 

Whether to go the DIY route or not is not always a straightforward decision. Time is money, and you may not have the time to do the repairs yourself. Weigh the amount you’ll save by doing these tasks yourself against the cost of hiring a professional to decide which option makes more sense.