The 10 Most Common Tenant Repair Requests

1. Appliances Not Working

Appliances have a lot of moving parts and as such tend to break down fairly often. Although some issues can be fixed by our handyman (a burned-out light bulb, a new heating element needed), many issues will need a qualified appliance repair person.

Unless a new appliance is needed, the typical cost to fix is between $60 and $120 per hour, and most repairs can be handled in one hour. If a new appliance is needed, we consider buying a refurbished or slightly scratched and dented ones. (Just one exception: We never buy used dishwashers.)

2. Water Leak in Ceiling or Under Windows

Water may be required for the human body to survive, but it’s deadly to a rental property.

If left unchecked, water can destroy wood, drywall, flooring, and virtually every other surface of the property. Even in small amounts, moisture can cause mold to grow, which can be expensive to remediate if it gets out of control. When tenant reports a water problem, we make this our #1 concern!

It's important to hire a qualified plumber to check out the problem and fix it immediately. When it comes to water leaks, our philosophy is don’t hire the cheapest guy; hire the best.

3. Water Leak Under Sink

A water leak under a kitchen or bathroom sink can have one of two causes: the supply line (the pipe that brings water to the sink, both hot and cold) or the drain (the white drain that takes the water from the sink and sends it out to the sewer).

We would estimate that 90% of the water leaks under a sink are caused by the drain pipe not fitting together correctly. This is a fairly easy and inexpensive task to fix by a plumber and costs around $90 for this job.

4. Water Drip From Faucets

A slow drip from a sink or bathroom can end up costing hundreds of dollars per year. Therefore, if there is a slow drip, we get it fixed right away. In most cases, the problem can be solved with a $0.50 rubber washer and about an hour of work from a plumber.

However, occasionally the entire faucet will need to be replaced. If this is the case, we don’t buy a $20 faucet that is mostly plastic. We'll be tearing it out next summer and replacing it again. And again. And again.

5. No Hot Water

If the tenant loses their hot water, it’s likely a problem with their hot water tank. If they need a new hot water tank, you’ll spend around $1,000 for a plumber to replace it.

However, it might just be the heating element inside the tank, in which case we can replace it for $20 and a couple hours’ of work by a qualified plumber.

6. Bugs/Rodents

Dealing with pests can be one of the most annoying jobs for a property manager because much of the time it’s the tenant that brought this unwanted residents into the units! Bugs and rodents are like crumbs, so tenants with clean houses rarely have a problem. That said, it’s still our responsibility to make sure that any infestation is taken care of.

We tackle this issue on two fronts: educating the tenant AND hiring a pest specialist to deal with the issue, typically costing a few hundred dollars. Also be sure to seal up any holes, no matter how small, that bugs or rodents could be using to get into the property.

7. Garburators

These things may be great for grinding away food that is put down the sink, but they are a constant thorn in the side of property managers. They break all the time! I believe this is mostly due to tenants putting things into them that never belong in a garburator. (“I didn’t know I wasn’t supposed to put whole chicken bones down there!”) For this reason, we try to remove garburator from our properties when possible.

However, if the garburators breaks while a tenant is in the property and we need to fix it, there are generally two things that could be wrong. First, it might just be “stuck” and need an allen wrench to unstick it. Or the motor might be burned out, and you’ll need a new disposal, which might run a couple hundred bucks including installation from a handyman.

8. Toilet Running

Toilets may be made of long-lasting porcelain, but the tank parts are generally cheap pieces of plastic that break all the time. If the toilet is running (water can be heard going through it 24-7, or the tank re-fills with water on its own every so often), it’s most likely a problem with the flapper. Typically, these kind of problems can be fixed with less than $20 of parts and an hour of labor from a plumber or a handyman.

9. Clogged Toilet

Problems that are caused by the tenant are the tenant’s responsibility, so when our plumber reports back to us we will charge back the costs to the tenants that caused the issue. However, if the drains seem to be clogged in the bathtub or bathroom sink as well, this is a good indication that the problem may lie with the drain pipe, such as a collapsed pipe or a tree root that has grown through it.

10. Furnace Repairs

Heat is vital, so a furnace repair (especially during the winter) is one of the most important repairs on this list. If the furnace goes out, it could be something as simple as the pilot light going out or something as complicated as a gas leak. When our tenant calls, we get a furnace repair specialist out to the property immediately.

Also, many furnace problems would have never happened had the furnace filter been replaced often, so be sure the tenant knows how and when to do this.

 

You’ll likely encounter more problems than just what I’ve listed here while owning rental properties, but these ten items represent 95% of the issues we face regularly.

None of them by themselves are that expensive to fix.

However, if left untreated, each of these can end up costing thousands or even tens of thousands of dollars in damage. We treat each of these items with care and get them fixed immediately.