Most Common Rental Home Repairs and What They Cost

Having something break down at your rental is no fun. If you’re a landlord, knowing the most common home repairs and their costs will help you be financially prepared throughout the year. This data will help you know what to expect when you get a text or call from your tenants.

Fingers crossed, we hope that every problem is easy to resolve and low-cost! However, anyone who has lived life understands that things break down, and it’s normal. But there are steps you can take to prevent owning a rental with big problems, and with knowledge about typical repair needs, you can manage your finances confidently.

Let’s talk about the most common problems that arise in rental homes, their average costs, and how you can prevent big problems, and how you can properly maintain your rental!

The Most Common Problems with Rental Homes and What They Cost

Knowing the average repair costs associated with rental properties can help you prepare funds for home maintenance. It can also help you prevent issues by providing some basic items like extra light bulbs, air filters, and caulking.

Rental homes have some typical repair needs that landlords should be prepared to fix. Here is a quick list of them.

  • Plumbing Issues
  • HVAC Problems
  • Pest Problems
  • Appliance Issues
  • General Contractor Fixes

To confirm the frequency of these complaints, we checked our property management records to see what kind of maintenance our clients’ residents requested the most.

pie chart showing the most common rental work orders

In this chart, issues like “pest problems” are not the most popular maintenance request, but they do exist, but are lumped into the category “prep to rent” as pest treatment. This preventative maintenance reduces the frequency in which pests enter units.

Also, most “big” repairs like roof replacement or new flooring are related to the period of time when landlords fix the rental before filling it with occupants. This ensures the house is in good condition before people even walk in the door.

“Prep to rent” tasks mainly include routine inspections and touchups like carpet replacement and drywall repair after a lease ends. These tasks require the expertise of a local trade and are well worth the investment, ensuring the happiness of future residents.

1. General Contractor Fixes

Elements of the home that general contractors fix make up a lion’s share of rental maintenance issues, but you can decrease your chance of encountering “big” repairs when you buy the right property and maintain it.

Prevention Tip: A good home inspector can spot the big problems general contractors fix before you even purchase it. Big ticket repairs like huge electrical repairs, roof repairs, shingle replacement, foundation issues, water damage, and more can be identified before you buy the property. With a thorough home inspection before your purchase, you can negotiate the costs of these repairs off the home upfront or walk away from the faulty home altogether.

Lock-outs are surprisingly common for renters. Make sure you have a copy of the rental’s keys nearby or with your property manager so that your renters can get back into their home quickly and without a locksmith.

2. Plumbing Issues

Plumbing problems are easily among the most common sources of woe for rental residents. This broad category includes everything from not enough hot water to clogged pipes. Here is a list of issues renters face with plumbing and their average costs:

Prevention Tip: DIY work with a plunger can work in many adverse situations, which makes it a good idea to provide each tenant with a basic “plumbing emergency kit” which includes a drain snake, plunger, and visual aid to show where the main water shut off valve is located.

3. HVAC issues

HVAC issues are also common complaints from tenants. During winter, HVAC issues like lack of heat are frequently reported, while in summer, complaints about no AC are common. Promptly addressing these issues is crucial, and preventive maintenance can help mitigate them.

The range for average HVAC repair costs is wide because the type of home and its location determines what system is in place. Bigger houses need more than one furnace and heat pump, while smaller units can get away with mini splits or even window units, which are far cheaper to maintain. Region also dictates whether a house has an air conditioner at all, what type of fuel is preferred (electricity, wood or gas) and much more.

Prevention Tip: Schedule HVAC system servicing every 6 months, preferably at the beginning of spring and fall, to prevent problems and spot minor issues before they escalate.

Also, provide air filters for your tenant’s entire lease period so that it’s as easy as possible for them to do routine upkeep with the HVAC. New filters every month reduce strain on the system and decrease energy use, prolonging the HVAC’s life.

4. Appliance Issues

From broken dishwashers to noisy fridges and leaky washers, dealing with appliance repairs is a frequent task in rental properties. Moreover, the higher turnover rate in rentals often leads to increased appliance wear and tear compared to owner-occupied homes.

  • Typical appliance repair cost: $175, but a range between $50-$500 is possible.
  • Typical appliance replacement cost: $500-$2,000 (with many variations depending on appliance type, quality, features, and more.)

Prevention Tip: Routine servicing is crucial in between leases and lease renewals. Since residents don’t use appliances in the same manner, some may treat the appliances well and others… not so much. You can easily prevent small issues like replacing the batteries in smoke detectors or installing economic but highly rated appliances in your units.

5. Pest Problems

Termites, ants, roaches, and rodents can cause extensive and costly damage to your rental property. Instead of getting a tenant complaint about it, it’s much better to get a trade out to spray for pests and regularly treat your property to help prevent infestations.

  • Preventative treatments: $50-$75 (source for all 3 figures: Forbes)
  • Typical pest control visit: $250-$675
  • Cockroach extermination: $8,000

As you can see, prevention is much cheaper than treatment. Therefore, it’s important to keep up with regular pest control services. It’s also helpful to remind tenants that leaving out food and sugary beverages and failing to regularly take out the trash can attract insects and rodents.

Damage Control Tip: If you or your tenant begins noticing pests or signs of pests (such as droppings or damage), it’s important that you handle the issue immediately. The longer an infestation continues, the worse it can become.

Need a Property Manager?

If you need assistance responding to maintenance calls, look no further than Marketplace Homes Property Management. We do everything related to the full cycle of property management needs. Contact us today to learn about how we can help you manage your properties without any stress!

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