Should tenants perform building maintenance?
Tenants sometimes suggest that they perform maintenance tasks to keep costs down. It may sound like a good idea, but there are risks involved.
This is always a tough question. Tenants often approach landlords suggesting that they can perform certain maintenance tasks around the building in order to reduce the operating costs for the building. Some tenants insist on performing their own air conditioning or fire prevention work or snow removal.
Although there is nothing wrong with allowing the tenants to perform this work per se… there are definite risks involved.
Let’s suppose a tenant agrees with you as a landlord to maintain their own air conditioning unit. Due to unforeseen business difficulties they now need to reduce monthly expenses. From the tenant’s perspective, the easiest expense to cut is the maintenance of the premises. More often than not, at the end of the lease term, the equipment that the tenant has been responsible to maintain is in poor shape and the landlord now needs to replace it. This can cost up to several thousand dollars.
As a landlord, you want to protect yourself against these instances. We always recommend that the landlord do the work themselves and bill back the operating costs to the tenants. This protects the landlord yet ensures that the building is kept to the highest level of maintenance.
When tragedy strikes, your first instinct is usually to help. But before you do, you must ensure that your tenant’s rights are not violated, and that you are protected.
Some landlords feel that their properties are too small to be professionally managed, but unless they have the time and expertise to do it well, they can run into problems like my friend did…
During my travels, I’ve noticed that professional property management isn’t something you find worldwide – much depends on local building, and health and safety regulations…
If you’d like to see what a client-focused property management company can do for you,
please contact our office at 604 873 8591.