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Quality time at the Rentals

December 29, 2014

This is the second part of Val’s post from a while back..  [Been really busy lately and neglecting the blog – will be better next year]

In my last post, I mentioned I was going to define how I spend “quality” time at my rentals. When I have a vacancy, which is few and far between, I will spend the entire weekend or several weekends in a row at the house. I love doing most of the work myself, with my husband and my daughter. Plus it’s a great way to save money – keeping more of the rent in my pocket.

In between vacancies, which is the majority of the time for me, I spend more of what I would call ” quality time” at the rentals. Things like this save me money and offer great service to the tenant.  And by the way, a tenant has never called me at 2 a.m. for any of these (or anything else). Below are 3 recent examples of service calls. If you notice at the core of these is really tenant education. Given the long-term nature of most of our tenants its worth the time to educate them to be better tenants.

1.  Tenant calls complaining of backed up toilet. I will drop by after work with plunger in hand to work on it myself to decide if I need to call my plumber or my handyman, or neither one. Most of the time, my plunger works and I just saved myself $. I have found that many tenants who come from apartments would never dream of plunging a toilet themselves and do not even own a plunger. At their apartments, they just made a phone call and the maintenance man came running.

2.  Tenant complains that back door will not lock (or will not unlock).  This is typically caused from the house shifting.  After work, I take my tool box and my chisel and look at it.  Once there, I see the deadbolt is just missing clearing the lock hole by a very small fraction.  In about 5 minutes I had the door locking again without unscrewing anything.  I would have called my handyman out on this one so I saved myself about $25 and called it a day.  Even better, the tenant is an older man and loves doing things around the house himself if he is able.  He watched what I did to the door, and I have never again received a call about that issue again because the tenant is repairing it himself!  It’s a win-win – for the tenant and me!

3.  Tenant calls complaining of ants in the house.  A stop by after work and inspect it. There appears to be a few ants in the kitchen area and a heap of trash that needs to be taken out.  No wonder they have ants!  I bring them a can of ant spray from Wal-Mart and advise them to take out the trash. I spray around entry doors and windows and have never had that call again. This saved at least $100 for pest control. Either they don’t have ants anymore or don’t want me advising them to take out the trash!

My husband and I have many examples like those above, where we have spent a small amount of time at the rental that ended up saving us quite a bit of money.  This is what I call quality time indeed!

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From → Landlord

2 Comments
  1. Great article! Thanks for sharing your responses to those common tenant requests for help. It’s nice to see how we can save big $ with just a little effort.

  2. Great advice, but I advise tenants to call a plumber on toilet clogs. It’s not a fault of the plumbing, it’s their fault. I have stopped by on occasion, but bring a toilet auger, never a plunger. Wen I replace toilets, always high flush power toilets.

    And ants are the tenants fault too. I do on occasion bring some ant poison, but advise them to get it too.

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