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Property Management Blog

Published on Thursday, December 18, 2008

Apartment Maintenance Is Many Jobs In One

Apartment maintenance is a broad term that is used for the upkeep and maintenance of the physical structures and daily operations of multi-family complexes. The term can refer to any one of the specific duties performed in the interest of the day to day upkeep itself, or as a comprehensive description of all of the duties and responsibilities of the personnel hired to perform such duties. The term could even refer to the individual tenants responsibilities in regards to the upkeep of the spaces that they inhabit.

From the tenants perspective, the details addressed within the term apartment maintenance could be considered the keeping the interior of their individual unit clean, and making sure that the walls, floors and interior space remain in good repair. Indeed, the tenant has a responsibility to avoid knocking holes in the wall, breaking appliances that came with the unit and insuring that the floors do not become scratched or ripped, even if it is not necessarily their responsibility to fix them should they become damaged. Keeping their patios and balconies clean, safe and free of clutter is the responsibility of the tenant, as is placing garbage in the appropriate dumpsters or receptacles, rather than piling it up outside the door or within the unit itself.

Ultimately, the responsibility of apartment maintenance falls into the hands of those who are hired by the owners or managers of the property specifically to provide such services. These services include, but are not limited to making units ready for new tenants by painting, cleaning and repairing all of the damage caused by the previous tenants as well as normal wear and tear. In addition to the interior walls and floors, hired personnel are responsible for securing windows, changing locks, repairing broken appliances and fixing leaking plumbing.

In essence, apartment maintenance requires that the responsible and knowledgeable personnel who are ultimately hired for the job know and understand aspects of heating and air conditioning, are familiar with basic home repairs, plumbing and even have a working knowledge of electrical repair, or if they do not know such things, they can then contract out more difficult jobs to another company more specialized if the need arises. Not only that, but the personnel hired to maintain the interior units is also required to maintain the outside elements, as well. Upkeep on swimming facilities, such as hot tubs, Jacuzzis, swimming pools and other water features, landscaping and changing exterior light bulbs is common, and so is cleaning the parking lots, grounds and other public spaces.

When the going gets tough and a job or problem comes up that no one can solve or figure out, then calling in the more experienced contractors is just part and parcel of the process. Even the task of insect and pest extermination often falls onto the shoulders of apartment maintenance . Depending upon the size of the property, any number of responsibilities can rest firmly on the apartment maintenance facilities, if not to accomplish themselves, then to hire outside of the company to find someone who will accomplish the job, and do it under budget.

It takes knowledge and skills that are beyond the scope of most individuals to accomplish the demands of an entire multi family property. The work is time consuming, constant and often very physically oriented, keeping the men and women who make their living providing such services on their toes and active.

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Author: Web Master

Categories: Property Management




Landlord Knowledge Base

If you’ve ever considered investing in a few rental properties in Philadelphia or Bucks County, PA now might be a good time. Prices are still low in Philadelphia, but have been on the upswing. According to the National Association of Realtors, the median price of an existing home in a US metropolitan area grew 13.7% between July 2012 and July 2013, the latest in a 17-month streak of year-over-year price increases. 

New landlords can choose from properties that are likely to appreciate and a large pool of potential renters.Licensed realtor Pat Mueller cites a few reasons for this trend: “Many families have lost their homes to foreclosure and are entering the rentals market for the first time in years. Mortgages are also harder to get now, so fewer people are qualifying for a new one.”The more skills you bring to the table to get into Houses for Rent in Philadelphia Philadelphia or Bucks County, PA and the more time you have to devote to your properties, the faster you can make a return on your investment. 

But investing in rentals can also be disastrous (or too stressful to be worthwhile) without expertise. Here are three professionals you may consult about your new rental properties, and what you can do to mitigate how much they cost you:Handyman:  You may need to hire a specialist for some work on your rental. If you need new outlets or new pipes, for example, hire an electrician, plumber or licensed contractor. Handymen usually tackle smaller, more manageable tasks, like:

  • Painting and paint removal
  • Drywall repair
  • Minor appliance repairs (fixing a leaky toilet or faucet, among others)
  • Installing tiling or flooring, moldings, windows, doors
  • Refinishing decks, cabinets and other wood items

When You Could Skip It: You could do any (or all) of these projects yourself if you have the time and interest in learning. Of course, this only works if you live relatively close to your rentals and are flexible enough to service them on short notice. And if you’re willing to respond to the occasional 5 AM basement flooding.

Average Savings: Any base rates or costs-per-hour vary from location to location in Philadelphia or Bucks County, PA , but nationally, you can expect to spend an average of $60 to $85 per hour for repair costs. It general costs less to hire an individual handyman than a handyman employed by a company. Expect an additional charge if your job requires a trip to the store for materials.

Resident Property Manager As the owner of a handful of rental properties, you may be able to manage them yourself, but if you want help, a single resident manager would probably be more cost efficient than a property management company. Resident managers may:

  • Serve as a handyman
  • Advertise vacancies in your units
  • Show apartments to prospective tenants
  • Review rental applications
  • Collect rents

When You Could Skip It: Again, the closer you live to your properties and the more spare time you have, the less likely you are to need a manager. The obligations of being a boss will also cut into the time you save on maintenance.

Average Savings: The national median wage for residential managers is just over $25 per hour. Research the wages in your community and adjust according to how much responsibility your manager will take on. 

Real Estate Agent: Once you’ve gotten your financials in order and done your own research on the neighborhood(s) you’re considering, you might contact a realtor to show you potential properties. You can also arrange for a realtor in Philadelphia or Bucks County, PA to show rentals once they’re ready to rent.

When You Could Skip It: It depends. Even if you’re a local, or have thoroughly researched the neighborhood(s) you’re considering, a realtor is a great resource for a first-time rental buyer. Realtors have access to data and statistics not necessarily available to the general public and first-time buyers may not know all the right questions to ask. Using a realtor to fill your Houses for Rent vacancies is less of a no-brainer, depending on your other time commitments or whether you plan to hire a resident manager who could do the same thing.

Average Savings: As a buyer of rental properties, as when buying your own home, sellers typically pay most, if not all, of the buyer’s realtor fees. In this case, Mueller points out there’s little reason not to work with a realtor. For help in filling your units in Philadelphia or Bucks County, PA, the services of a realtor would set you back between 10-20% of the unit’s rent per month.  Mueller recommends interviewing with several brokers before making your final decision to invest into Houses for Rent .

The Bottom Line: As a new landlord, you can’t necessarily control the flexibility of your schedule or the amount (and cost) of unexpected repairs to your properties. Rentals are a long-term investment. However, to maximize profits from your Houses for Rent, new rentals, you can buy close to home and start small. It is best to begin with just one or two properties. This will allow you to maximize the time you spend on your properties’ needs, and minimize the amount you’ll have to pay anyone else.


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