New Landlord Of A Multi-Unit Building? 2 Decisions To Consider

Posted on: 29 July 2016


If you recently acquired an empty multi-unit apartment building and you've never been a landlord before, you may want to consider hiring a property management service like Taylor Realty. This type of service is experienced in finding suitable tenants for apartment buildings, getting the property ready for occupancy, and managing the property maintenance and repairs. What's left for you to deal with? You'll need to make some important decisions. Here are a few.

Will the apartment building be smoke-free?

In most areas, landlords are permitted to designate their apartment buildings as smoke-free. Cigarette smoke can discolor walls and get trapped in the building's air and ventilation system, which can add to the costs of maintaining the building.

More importantly, the Centers for Disease Control conducted a study which showed that 36.8% of people living in rental housing show signs of exposure to secondhand cigarette smoke. Also, according to the American Lung Association, 41,000 deaths every year are caused by secondhand smoke.

Due to the implications of cigarettes and secondhand smoke, it makes sense to ban cigarette smoking inside the building. If you do, it's a good idea to build a smoking shelter outside, which is similar in construction to a bus stop and will give your tenants a designated smoking area. If you choose to allow cigarette smoking inside the building, considering upgrading the ventilation system in the building and/or designating different floors or separate areas as smoking and non-smoking.

Will the tenants have any responsibility for repair costs? 

Some people rent instead of buying a house because they don't want to be responsible for paying for repairs if something breaks. However, one thing that some people may not realize is that being a tenant does not necessarily get someone off of the hook of having to pay for repairs if they do something that causes the need for repairs beyond normal wear-and-tear.

For example, if a tenant continuously pours grease down the drain, he or she can be held responsible to pay for the plumbing repairs that will eventually be needed to remove the grease from the pipes. However, this needs to be detailed in the lease agreement. But in order for you to prove that this tenant caused the problem, you would need to be able to show a receipt, such as from your property management service, that proves the drains were cleaned before the tenant started living in the building,