Utilities & Appliances
APPLIANCES - Probably the best course of action if you have older appliances is to get a Home Warranty Protection plan that covers them. Otherwise, be prepared to fix them when they breakdown.
We had a tenant once that was retired, single, and on the senior pro golf tour. Being on tour, he rarely stayed in the three bedroom condo he rented from us. He always paid his rent early, and never missed a beat during the previous 3 years. One weekend he was home and was doing his laundry when the dryer froze up. We sent out a technician who found 5 socks in the motor mechanism. The tenant determined that one of those socks was his but the others were from previous residents. The bill came to $70.00. The owner refused to pay it, stating that the tenant caused the repair. The tenant paid for the repair and immediately gave his notice. He moved and it took us 90 days to get the unit re-rented. The unit was renting for $850.00 a month. That $70.00 repair, that the owner refused to pay, cost him an excellent tenant and over $2,500.00 in lost rent.
When you have a good tenant, they rarely ask for much, and they take care of the place. Good business sometimes means that as an owner you pay for the repairs no matter who or what caused them.
UTILITIES - Several of the utilities like trash collection and public sewers attach themselves to the property, not the person who orders the service. What does that mean to you. That means that even if the trash bill is in the tenants name, if they do not pay for it, it attaches to the property and becomes your responsibility.... be prepared.
Also, you need to keep enough money in your account, especially when your property is vacant, to cover the necessary utility bills like water and power. If not, we will have to turn them off, and then you'll be upset when you didn't have to be.