Even if they didn’t start that way, many property owners become handy over time. You watch the video tutorials, talk to the experts at the hardware store, and learn what you need to know. After all, handling your property’s maintenance and repairs is a great way to cut down on your overhead costs, respond to your tenant’s needs quickly, and take your property’s projects into your own (capable) hands.
However, not all rental repairs are the same. Repainting walls, fixing the fence, or trimming down trees is easy enough, with the right know-how and tools. Improving a significant roofing issue is a whole other ballgame. In this article, we’ll outline some of the property repairs that are just too risky to take on yourself—and when you need to bring in a professional.
Know your limits
Even the handiest of landlords have to know their stopping point. After all, you can maintain a property for years and never encounter an incredibly difficult, complicated, or dangerous issue. When you do, you should channel your can-do attitude into quickly queueing up a licensed and certified professional.
Consider HVAC repair. When your rental property’s air conditioner or furnace stops working, your first thought might be to go “pop it open” and take a closer look at it. This could be the wrong move: a manufacturer’s warranty may cover your HVAC system that you’ll void the second you open the system yourself. Once you’re in there, do you know how to diagnose the problem, let alone repair it properly? An AC unit can stop running for any number of reasons: a power failure, a faulty compressor, or an issue with the blower. You’re asking a lot of yourself to try to guess what the problem might be.
The better solution is to bring in a professional who knows exactly what to look for, what to do, and what to say to your tenant about how soon the cooling will be back on.
Protect your property
Attempting to make some repairs could be risky for the rental property itself. In the United States, there is nearly $1.5 billion in property damage caused annually by electrical failures. Faulty wiring or electrical installation is a significant cause of home and property fires. Even if you think you know what you’re doing, is handling your property’s rewiring worth the risk? Do you want to be responsible for the safety of your tenant if you make a mistake? Hiring a licensed electrician is a much better way to go.
This isn’t just limited to electricity. Improperly completed plumbing repairs could also set your rental up for future disaster. Too many property owners have accidentally made a leak worse or weakened the surrounding plumbing by trying to fix it themselves. The result can be hidden leaks, water damage to your walls and floors, and mold and mildew growth. Serious plumbing issues could lead to your renter moving out, losing you your rental income at the same time you’re trying to get a handle on large-scale repairs.
Avoid unnecessary risks
Your health and safety are well worth the cost of hiring a roofer for your rental property. Avoid projects that could be risky to yourself or others. This includes the aforementioned electrical work, but also roofing, structural repairs, or mold remediation. If you don’t have the right tools and training to do the job, it’s best left to someone who does.
Eventually, you’ll find there’s a healthy balance of rental property projects you can complete yourself and those that need to be left to an expert. By drawing boundaries and knowing your limits, you’ll keep your investment in much better shape and avoid unnecessary risks to yourself or your renter.
For a full review of the most dangerous DIY projects out there, be sure to check out this infographic.
We are pledged to the letter and spirit of U.S. policy for the achievement of equal housing opportunity throughout the Nation. See Equal Housing Opportunity Statement for more information.