When you have balconies on your multi-family apartment units, keeping them in tip-top shape is a priority. Because they need to be maintained and cared for to look their best and stay safe for your tenants to use. Also, balconies can be an added point of value when you’re renting out your apartment, and keeping them well cared for then is to your best interest.
Now if the balconies you have are metal and concrete; or made from wood, there are some signs to look for to keep needed maintenance and repairs from getting out of hand. So below are some things to look for in this:
- On the balcony itself, look for any rust stains, cracks, discolorations on the floor or the roof; or salt stains. This means the metal that is used to support the balcony could be rusting, or water could be finding a way in and deteriorating the slabs.
- If there is a small crack in the cement in a balcony floor, measure it and record it so that you can at the next inspection see if the crack has gotten larger or if there are any changes in it. By watching it for about six months, and if there aren’t any changes, there may not be a need to worry.
- Railings on any balcony can also be a problem if they are loose. And if they’re metal, you need to regularly check for rust or to see if screws need to be tightened. Also checked for signs of any other deterioration. As an example, an embedded railing may be collecting moisture causing either corrosion if it’s metal; or if the railings are wood, the railing could be rotting and need to be replaced.
As far as other maintenance:
- If a wood balcony has been sealed to prevent moisture from seeping into the wood, you will need to power wash it once a year and check to see if sealant will need to be applied again.
- By using rust inhibitors on the metal balconies and protective coatings on the wooden balconies, you can extend the life of your balconies.
The balconies on your multi-family apartment units can last for a long time if properly taken care of.
If the sidewalks in front or around your multi-family apartment building aren’t in good repair, it could be a liability suit just waiting to happen for a landlord. Because cracks and uneven pavement can trip even a watchful tenant. Plus, even if the tenant isn’t watching to see where feet are landing, you as the landlord still could be held to be at fault.
However; if the sidewalk is cracked and you aren’t aware of the damage, you may not be liable if a tenant or visitor trips and falls. Say that just after a winter storm the snow melts and then freezes again making cracks in your sidewalk, but no one has informed you of the damage the snow and ice has done. If the damage isn’t reported to you, you may not be held liable for anyone falling down and getting hurt. Also, if in the rental agreement the tenant is supposed to shovel the walk and fails to do so; and someone falls due to this, then you aren’t liable. However; if you are to shovel the sidewalk and you fail to do so, the you could be held responsible if someone falls.
So what should you do to protect yourself as a landlord from lawsuits dealing with your sidewalks? Well, you should make an inspection regularly of the outside of your multi-family building to make sure everything is as it should be. If for some reason the sidewalk is in disrepair, then hiring a professional contractor to fix it may be the best thing to do. A professional contractor knows how to fix cracks, broken sidewalks and other states of disrepair so the costs are worth it if you don’t have the right skills for the job. Also the job will be done correctly and in the long run it will save you money by not having lawsuits filed because people fall and get hurt.
So leaving a sidewalk cracked and damaged is dangerous to your tenants and their guests. It also can be a bank account hit in the worst way. So it’s better to invest a little money now and have the job done right then to wait and be sued.
Keeping your tenants safe is a number one priority as a landlord. It also helps to keep your apartment complexes filled up, and you will also have a better quality of tenants. So below are some ideas for security in your apartment complex:
- Lighting: Lighting is probably the most important security feature for your building. Criminals don’t like to be seen, and outdoor lighting is the bane of their existence. Outdoor lighting; however, can make your tenants feel very secure and safe. And if you’re tenants don’t feel safe when walking around your property, then you will most probably lose those tenants.
- Fences: Fences are used to discourage unwanted people on your property. Here an open-type fence will provide visibility of who’s coming and going too, and you can then keep access points to a minimum. If your property faces a dark alley or another business though, then it’s better to have a fence that’s closed to restrict undue access.
- Maintenance: By maintaining your property, it gives it a well-cared for look, and you will attract a better type of tenant. If your property is maintained, it can stop vandalism or more serious crime also. Break one window, get ten broken windows. If the property is let go and becomes an eyesore too, then undesirable elements will move in because they think no one cares or is watching. By keeping everything neat, in order and tidy though; you can actually decrease crime.
- Security cameras: By limiting your traffic flow to just certain areas, security cameras can then be efficient and do their job. By installing one or two cameras, you can see who comes and goes on and about your property in case there would be a problem also. In addition to this, another area for cameras would be common rooms such as laundry rooms, parking lots and office spaces. So just seriously ask yourself, if you were a criminal, where would you target? That is where you need to place your cameras.
Security is mostly common sense and thinking on how a criminal would think and then deterring them. And by improving the security around your building, you are doing your tenants and yourself a favor.
A multi-family residence requires a great deal of maintenance. There are constant issues that need to be addressed such as roofs, siding, sidewalk repair and unit upgrades. Plumbing and HVAC issues are part of life in a multi-family residence. You’ll also have to deal with problems like hail, heavy storms and wind damage. Who do you turn to when you need help with these problems?
It’s critical that you hire a properly licenses and insured contractor for your multi-family renovation. You may receive solicitations from a variety of contractors who will offer discounted services. You may have friends or family members who offer to help with your issues. These offers are tempting, but they are risky. What if someone falls and is injured? Accidents happen all the time on jobs like replacing roofing, construction and painting. You could be liable for these accidents if your contractor isn’t properly licensed and insured. You will have to deal with all the responsibility if an accident happens and end up in a lawsuit situation.
A licensed contractor has proven competent and is approved to do business in a city or state. Your contractor should be licensed to perform certain tasks. If you are thinking of hiring a licensed contractor, you’ll be able to check the company’s license with your local Better Business Bureau to see if the company has been the subject of complaints. A clean record with the Better Business Bureau doesn’t ensure that the company is competent, but it will give you some information.
What does it mean if a multi-family construction company is insured? This is probably one of the most critical concerns when it comes to hiring a contractor for your multi-family property. If an accident happens, the insurance coverage comes into play. For example, if a roofer falls and is injured, who will pay? If the company is properly insured, their insurance will cover the medical costs involved. However, if the contractor is not insured, you will be in a difficult situation. A claim will be filed against your business’ insurance. You’ll be liable for the deductible and any costs the insurance doesn’t cover. That’s why it’s so important to hire a licensed and bonded contractor. This will protect you significantly.