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Tenant ‘Improvements’: When Residents Make Things Worse

The best residents for any rental home are those who care for the property as if it were their own. But sometimes, residents may feel the need to customize a rental home a bit too much. Residents may want to make improvements to the rental home by themselves, or try to make repairs themselves when things break or get damaged. Whether they are motivated by personal satisfaction, artistic aesthetics, or a fear of paying for repairs, residents who take improvements and repairs into their own hands are usually doing so without the proper knowledge of the repair scope or the permission or knowledge of their landlord.Woman trying to fix ceiling fan.

The problem with residents making improvements or repairs themselves is that there is no guarantee that your residents know what they are doing. If that is the case, and they have little or no experience with home remodeling and maintenance, any improvements they attempt to make could  make things worse. Certain permanent “improvements” go well beyond the ordinary. Particularly if things are broken or are damaged, residents may be tempted to try and cover it up by either “fixing” it themselves or outright hiding the problem.

While it’s true that ignoring or badly repairing small things may not matter too much, when it comes to the plumbing or electrical systems, windows, doors, or other structural features, neglecting to report damage or residents trying to patch things up themselves could lead to expensive repairs later on. For example, if a resident tries to replace a faucet or cracks an exposed pipe, a leak could start underneath, out of sight. Even a small leak may create the perfect environment for moisture to become trapped and for rot to develop in the walls or lower levels of the home. Over time, the flooring, walls, cabinets, and more could sustain serious water damage, leading to costly repairs.Man frustrated with fixing air conditioner.

Damaged exterior doors and windows also pose a serious risk to both residents and your property. If a window or door is broken or improperly installed, the security of the home is seriously compromised. The home’s interior is also left exposed to the elements, and may cause additional damage to interior walls, sills, and floors.

For this reason, it is important to encourage residents not to make improvements themselves and to report any damage as soon as it occurs. If they understand that any reported damage will be handled calmly and professionally, they will be more likely to report any additional incidents in the future. At Real Property Management, we excel at handling resident improvements and reports of damage in just this way. We manage resident expectations and take care of all necessary repairs in a timely fashion.

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Michael Stone serves as the Content Marketing Manager at the Real Property Management Franchise Support Center. He manages the Real Property Management corporate blog and social media channels, as well as assists franchisees with their own blogs, social media presence, and reputation management.

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