Every year there are new landlords, new tenants, and new lessons that need to be learned regarding the upkeep of rental property. If you’re a landlord… for the sake of safety these Tips, Precautions, and Guidelines, are worth sharing. Even if you’re not a rental property owner, many of these tips are worth taking to heart.
Nobody reads the Instructions. Okay…almost nobody. One of my ‘jobs for many years has been to train and educate Plumbers, Electricians and HVAC Techs, and I’ll often tell them…
“Let me give you one tip that will set you above and apart from 99.9% of all other Technicians in your field: Always Read the Instructions on anything and everything you are installing, repairing and/or working on… always! If you simply do that, it will set you apart from everyone else, because almost no one else does.”
I learned this very early in my life because I quit school at fifteen and went to work, and I always needed to hustle to learn and catch-up. And I found that if I just always read the instructions on whatever I was working with, it would prep and equip me with depth and details most of my peers didn’t have. I also found of course, that by doing that I’d automatically pick up great details, improve the quality of whatever I was doing, and prevent issues and problems that I’d otherwise have to learn through experience.
I mention all that, because in the recent past I promised to share a ‘Tips and Precautions’ card that I recommend to all landlords. Honestly, very few landlords I know follow my advice on this; “that’s what the lease if for”… they say. But those who do, say it seems to help with the most important issue there is with their tenants, Clear Communication.
Below are some things I’ve seen that will help tenants and should fit on a single-sided ‘brochure-size’ paper.
(or Precautions or Guidelines)
123456 – 3rd Street, Unit B
- Contact Information: Manager’s Name, phone#, email, and mailing address. Please remember to make sure you get a response on any text or email.
- Parking: …describe parking specifics/requirements incl. guest parking.
- Garbage Service: Describe specifics/details i.e. (Pick-up is weekly on Friday mornings; service will NOT accept things stacked-up next to cans/dumpsters)
- Safety Issues:
- Keep porch lights replaced.
- Keep all doors and windows locked day and night.
- Keep batteries changed every 6-months in Smoke Alarms and Carbon Monoxide Alarms. (Some states require landlords to do this…)
- Never bar-b-que indoors.
- Never use generators or non-vented heaters indoors.
- Never use anything containing lead or asbestos in your unit.
- Keep all poisons/chemicals/medications stored out of children’s reach.
- Always keep firearms and ammunition locked-up securely.
- Always report water-leaks promptly: Water that shows up anywhere that is unusual always needs repairs/attention; contact us right away please!
- Keep Drains Clear: Normally any and all foreign objects in any drain are not the owner’s responsibility…
- Always run plenty of water before, during, and for 1-minute after using Garbage Disposer.
- Never put leafy or stringy greens into the disposer like celery, corn husks, etc.
- Never put/pour grease down any drain.
- Always clean your Disposer Monthly, by dumping 2-trays of ice cubes through it as fast as it will take with cold water running. This will usually freeze, scour and dislodge slime and ‘left behind’ sludge.
- Never put anything down the toilet except human waste and toilet paper. No feminine products. No wipes or diapers… even if they claim to be ‘flushable’ products.
- Never use chemical drain-cleaners; they do more harm than good.
- You Break it – You Buy it: Damaged and/or abused things must be repaired or replaced by tenant; Owner handles normal ‘wear and tear’ and repairs and maintenance on fixtures and equipment.
- Mildew: Keep ventilation fans in kitchen and bathrooms ON during use, and 30-minutes beyond. Never let wet clothes or rags ‘pile-up’ for more than 24 hours.
- Purchase Renters Insurance: Renters insurance is strongly recommended, so tenant will be covered for many damages, thefts and lawsuits from your guests. Often $1.00 a day gets plenty of coverage.
- Due Dates/Deadlines: Rent is due ‘in hand’ on (describe when).
Again, the above list should be edited to your specific property. Keep it on one side of the paper and put it on the side of the fridge or tape it to the inside of a cabinet where it can be seen at a glance.
Bruce Davis, Sr.
Licensed Journeyman Plumber
Licensed Electrician, HVAC/R
Electrical Administrator, HVAC/R
Certified WA State C.E.U. Instructor
Bruce Sr is President of Day & Nite Plumbing & Heating, a 68-year old family owned and operated plumbing and heating
business in Lynnwood, Washington.
Bruce can be contacted at: Email: Bruce@dayandnite.net
Day & Nite Plumbing & Heating Inc. 16614 13th Ave. W. Lynnwood, WA 98037