Can I Handle Rental Property Maintenance Myself as a Property Owner?

Osprey Property Management   |   date August 2023

Published October 2022. Updated August 24, 2023. 

It's one of the most common questions when new property owners face a maintenance issue in their rental property. Can I handle the maintenance myself as a property owner? 

The answer is, well, it depends. 

While it can seem like a real money saver, you may risk damaging your property, upsetting your residents, or even breaking the law if you don't know what you're doing. Plus, it might be even more expensive in the long run. 

Unless you're a professional tradesperson or taking care of a minor fix, you're likely better off in the hands of the professionalsAfter all, maintaining a rental property doesn't mean you do it all yourself. 

In our experience as longtime property managers in the Virginia Beach area, we've seen plenty of landlord maintenance attempts go wrong, leading to costly issues. So, today, we'll look at some critical points to help you determine whether a maintenance issue is an easy fix, some of the problems associated with trying to do it yourself, and how a professional property manager can help take charge of any issues that arise. 

A Checklist to Know If You Can (or Should) Do It Yourself

While taking care of a maintenance issue yourself may be tempting, it's best to step back and take an objective view of the situation before starting a repair that doesn't go as planned. The questions below can help you decide whether handling rental property maintenance on your own would be the right call for your situation. 

The first and most crucial step is to consider whether you are competent and capable of making repairs—i.e., asking the question, "Am I handy?" If the answer is "yes," you can consider the following points to help determine whether it may be something you could take care of. 

  • Have I fixed something like this before? 

  • Is it a maintenance emergency

  • Is it a simple repair, such as changing a lock or unclogging a toilet?

  • Will I be invasive or disrupt my residents for longer than is necessary? 

  • Will it be time-intensive?

  • Are there building regulations involved in the outcome?

  • Do I have the required permits and licensing?

  • Is there a tax implication involved (i.e., is it a repair vs. an improvement)?

Taking on repairs that require permits or are outside your capabilities can lead to costly problems (and injuries). Think carefully through this list of questions before tackling a repair that probably should be handled by a professional.

Why Should I Call a Professional? 

Property owners must follow the adage, "It's better to be safe than sorry." Regarding rental property maintenance services for your investments, it may be better to call a professional in most cases. 

Doing this ensures that the work will be completed to the highest standard. Additionally, most of your residents would prefer a professional to handle maintenance issues. Not to mention, it can be off-putting for tenants when the property owner is the person handling repairs in the residence.

Technician repairing refrigerator indoors, rental property maintenance services concept.

Some of the other underlying reasons to call a professional or skilled tradesperson to do the job include: 

  • Attempting to handle repairs yourself can be a dangerous and expensive exercise. 

  • Repairing or attempting to repair something without the right insights can cause the problem to come back worse than before and compound costs. 

  • Mistakes such as making multiple trips to the hardware store can frustrate tenants who want a quick solution. 

  • Professionals are insured (or should be).

  • A maintenance professional can check for any additional issues you may have missed. 

  • A handyman will have the right tools and know the suitable materials to get the job done right. 

When in doubt (or even if you're not), our property managers recommend leaving property repairs to professionals. Delivering professional maintenance services is one of the best ways to maintain property value and keep tenants happy!

What If I have a Property Manager? 

If you have a property manager, then good news! A quality property manager such as a Virginia Beach property management company can take care of all maintenance issues, big and small! 

If you have a property manager:

  • Let them handle all routine maintenance and repairs, as they will have trusted (and experienced) contractors on their books.

  • If you enter the property to handle repairs, residents will identify you as the owner and could start coming directly to you for all issues (which can be easily managed by your property managers) 

  • Because of this, it's best to let property managers handle tenant relationships, including scheduling and maintaining a rental property.

  • They will be able to prioritize and attend to issues on a 24/7 system, minimizing any resident complaints or health issues.

In most cases, letting a property manager handle maintenance issues saves money, reduces scheduling issues and costs, and keeps your tenants happy. Satisfied renters are more likely to renew their leases to continue delivering consistent rental property income!

We've seen it happen before: a property owner's best tenants are more likely to leave if maintenance isn't handled promptly and effectively or is a dodgy job! So, protect your investments and income while improving tenant satisfaction by choosing professional property managers for your property maintenance services. 

Happy couple relaxes on a cozy sofa at home as happy tenants from excellent rental property maintenance services.

Rental Property Maintenance Is Best Left To Professionals 

Maintenance issues are not only a drain on your residents but can also present health issues and ongoing rental property maintenance costs that could otherwise be avoided. Unless you're a professional tradesperson or highly experienced in the field, you're better off hiring the services of a well-connected and trusted property management group. 

With a quality property manager, real estate investors can feel safe in their investment, knowing that any maintenance issues, big or small, will be swiftly taken care of. If you'd like to learn how Osprey Property Management can help savvy investors maintain their property to the highest standard, reach out today!

Learn more about how to find a property management company. Download our free "Guide to Finding the Best Property Manager in Hampton Roads!"


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