Home Warranties & Rental Properties

Home warranties can be a useful tool for homeowners to protect against unexpected repair costs for their primary residence. However, they may not be as beneficial for rental properties as it may seem – knowing what your service charge fee is can help manage maintenance expenses, but there are other points to consider:

  1. Limits on coverage: Home warranties typically have specific coverage limitations and exclusions, which may not be suitable for rental properties. For example, many home warranties do not cover appliances or systems that are used for commercial purposes – some warranty companies may consider a rental property as a commercial purpose so read the fine print.
  2. Substandard service: While not always the case, warranty companies generally are paying a lower-than-typical service call fee to the provider. Therefore, only providers that are not filling their calendars with customers that are paying typical fees are the ones signing on to the program. In addition, they are providing the quickest and cheapest “fix” to the immediate problem and not necessarily a larger issue, resulting in multiple service calls and their related fees and tenant dissatisfaction.
  3. Service delays: Warranty companies provide a limited number of providers… this can result in service delays during peak times leading to tenant dissatisfaction. In addition, many warranty companies save costs by requiring the service providers to use their centralized parts distribution center… so a repair that could possibly be done in a single day by a provider using a local parts house, may take a week or more to ship the part from their centralized distribution center – and in some cases, their distribution center may have the part on back order while it is locally available. These delays can result in needing to give the tenant a concession for the delayed repair and in some cases, you may be running afoul of state regulations requiring essential service repairs to be addressed within a specific timeframe.
  4. Administrative oversight: Using a warranty company can mean extra time for the management company… the time to call the warranty company to submit a claim, to call and follow up regarding the assigned vendor, paying the service call fee up front… all of these things are extra administrative effort and outside the management company’s typical procedure for handling maintenance issues and therefore, many management companies will charge an extra administrative fee for handling warranty claims.
  5. Communication: Many warranty companies will always revert to calling the owner and holder of the warranty. While this seems logical to them, it can create massive delays when they should be calling either the property manager or the tenant themselves to schedule repairs or give updates. The service providers are generally not required to give regular updates on the status of the repairs/parts/expected completion which could result in the need for additional calls to the warranty company.
  6. Overall tenant satisfaction: the number one reason that tenants do not renew their lease is dissatisfaction with how maintenance issues are handled. Most homes, regardless of their age, will have some sort of maintenance calls… and while an annoyance, it is not the number of maintenance calls but the ease and efficiency with which they are handled. Using a warranty company can put unnecessary delays and added layers of complication that take away the ease and efficiency for tenants to a point that they do not wish to renew and continue the hassle.

While the idea of the home warranty for rental property may seem like a no-brainer and easy way to manage maintenance expenses, the unknown expenses, delayed larger repairs and turnover costs may far out-weigh the benefit.

Lead based paint and the EPA

Lead-based paint has long been recognized as a serious health hazard, particularly for children and pregnant women. To mitigate the risks associated with lead exposure, the Environmental Protection Agency (EPA) has established strict regulations and oversight measures for landlords, property managers, and contractors involved in leasing, property maintenance and renovation.

EPA Oversight and Regulations: The EPA enforces regulations aimed at preventing lead exposure in residential properties built before 1978, when lead-based paint was commonly used. These regulations, known as the Lead-Based Paint Renovation, Repair, and Painting (RRP) Rule, require individuals and companies performing renovation, repair, and painting projects that disturb lead-based paint to be certified by the EPA and follow specific work practices to minimize lead hazards. The EPA now requires all property management companies managing properties built prior to 1978 to be certified as well.

Fines for Non-Compliance: Non-compliance with EPA regulations regarding lead-based paint can result in significant fines and penalties. Violations may include failure to provide required disclosures to tenants or buyers, performing prohibited renovation work without proper certification, or failing to follow lead-safe work practices during renovations. Fines for violations can range from hundreds to thousands of dollars per day, depending on the severity and duration of the violation.

Disclosure and Brochure Requirements: Landlords and property managers are required by law to provide tenants and potential buyers with specific information about lead-based paint hazards in residential properties. This includes providing a Lead-Based Paint Disclosure form, which informs tenants or buyers about the presence of lead-based paint in the property and any known hazards. Additionally, landlords must provide tenants and buyers with an EPA-approved informational pamphlet, “Protect Your Family from Lead in Your Home,” outlining the risks of lead exposure and steps to take to protect against it.

Certified Remediation Professionals: When dealing with lead-based paint hazards, it’s essential to hire contractors who are certified by the EPA to perform lead-safe work practices. Certified renovators and remediation professionals have undergone specialized training and follow strict protocols to minimize lead exposure during renovation, repair, or painting projects. Hiring certified professionals helps ensure compliance with EPA regulations and protects against potential health risks for occupants and workers.

Requirements for Property Management Companies: Recognizing the importance of lead-based paint safety in rental properties, the EPA has imposed requirements on property management companies as well. Property management companies are now required to have at least one certified renovator on staff to oversee renovation projects and ensure compliance with lead-safe work practices. This requirement underscores the responsibility of property management companies to prioritize the safety and well-being of tenants and occupants in properties under their management.

Compliance with EPA regulations regarding lead-based paint is essential for landlords, property managers, and contractors involved in property maintenance and renovation. Failure to comply with these regulations can result in significant fines and penalties, as well as potential health risks for occupants. By understanding and adhering to EPA requirements, including providing disclosures and hiring certified remediation professionals, property owners and managers can protect their investments and ensure the safety of tenants and occupants in older residential properties.

Ensuring Livable Spaces: The Vital Role of Habitability Standards in Property Management

In the realm of property management, ensuring habitability standards are maintained is a vital role of the property manager. Companies like TeamWork Property Management understand the profound importance of these standards, not just as legal obligations but as an ethical responsibility toward tenants’ well-being.

Why do Habitability Standards Matter?

At the heart of habitability standards lies the commitment to providing safe, comfortable, and healthy living environments for tenants. These standards encompass a spectrum of requirements—from structural integrity to essential services—that collectively safeguard the welfare of those residing within the properties managed by such companies.

TeamWork Property Management’s Commitment

For companies like TeamWork Property Management, adherence to habitability standards isn’t merely a checkbox exercise—it’s ingrained in their ethos. They recognize that meeting these standards isn’t just about compliance; it’s a reflection of their dedication to tenant satisfaction and well-being.

Lead-Based Paint: A Pervasive Concern

One poignant example highlighting the necessity of habitability standards involves the presence of lead-based paint. Properties constructed before 1978 may contain lead-based paint, which poses severe health risks, especially to children. Property management companies must comply with regulations such as the Lead-Based Paint Poisoning Prevention Act to ensure the proper handling and disclosure of lead-based paint hazards. This includes disclosure of the possibility of the presence of lead-based paint as well as following specific renovation protocols.

Legal Compliance and Beyond

Property management companies like TeamWork understand that failure to uphold these standards can lead to legal repercussions. However, their commitment goes beyond legalities; it’s about fostering a culture of care and responsibility.

Tenant Welfare as Top Priority

By prioritizing habitability standards, TeamWork Property Management ensures that tenants enjoy a space where their health and safety are not compromised. A habitable property not only satisfies legal requirements but also nurtures tenant satisfaction and fosters lasting tenant-landlord relationships that are ultimately valuable to the owner.

Habitability standards aren’t just a regulatory burden for property management companies and owner—they are the bedrock of tenant well-being. TeamWork Property Management exemplifies the dedication required to meet and exceed these standards, ensuring that their managed properties offer more than just a roof over one’s head—they offer a secure and comfortable place to call home.

Love is in the Air… for Termites

May is termite swarming season in Charleston, but not all swarming termites are damaging property. Although each swarm can have different characteristics that are all influenced by rain, temperature and sunset, there are a few things to look out for and be aware of – Vic Hainline with Truly Nolen Pest Control outlines what tenants, property owners and property managers should be on the lookout for…

Love is in the Air… for Termites

Charleston in springtime is an amazing place. The flowers are in bloom, temperatures are perfect for the beach, everyone is out enjoying the weather and unfortunately termites begin their annual swarm. There are eight different species of Termite that call the Lowcountry home and two of them are a serious risk for homeowners.

The Eastern Subterranean and Formosan Subterranean Termites live throughout the entire area and are definitely not something for a “do-it-yourselfer” to try and manage. It is essential to find a pest professional that has experience with these difficult pests. Prevention is the key with ongoing inspection and treatment to help keep costly repairs from occurring in the first place.

Signs that renters might see: Termite swarmers, piles of shed wings, changes to trim and boards, pinholes in drywall and mud-like shelter tubes. If you see any of these, please contact your property manager immediately for an inspection.

Termite control is essentially a partnership between the homeowner and pest management professional. The company treats and inspects on a regular basis and the homeowner can assist by eliminating water issues, wood-to-ground contact and notifying their Termite control provider of any changes to construction in or around the home.