Keep It Clean

How many times have you come face to face with the adage 'I didn't know that I didn't know until I knew'? With some frequency we hear a tenant say, 'Oh, I didn't know that'. Sometimes that is merely an attempt to plead ignorance rather than to admit negligence. Yet, many times folks just don't know what other folks take for granted. We don't know what we don't know until we know it.

When it comes to keeping our homes clean and well-maintained a landlord or property manager can't assume that tenants know what is necessary. For example, just because the rental agreement may plainly state that the HVAC filter must be changed every month doesn't mean that the tenant knows where to find it or how to properly change it. Many won't ask and won't do anything about it, not because they want to intentionally destroy the HVAC system, but because they don't know why it is important - so they postpone doing anything about it.

We recommend not only showing, but demonstrating to each new tenant what their responsibilities are for keeping the property well maintained. Additionally, a quarterly newsletter that offers reminders and tips for upkeep can save a lot of money and time. Let your tenants know that if they have any cleaning or maintenance questions that they should not hesitate to contact you.

Here are some common helpful tips for tenants:

  • HVAC filter - change monthly. Write on the filter the date it was changed. Make sure the directional arrow points inward.
  • Garbage Disposal - run cold water before, during, and after use. Things NOT to run through the disposal? LIST
  • Bathroom Exhaust Fan - run fan for at least 15 minutes after each shower to avoid mold build up
  • Microwave Filters - each month remove and wash the grease filter. Replace the 'over-the-range' microwave carbon filter every 6 months if you regularly use the microwave.
  • Floor Cleaning - check with landlord/Property Manager regarding appropriate cleaning supplies for your floors. The wrong cleaner can damage wood floors, tile, and/or carpets.
  • Dryer - Each dryer has a filter than must be cleaned out after every use. Also, periodically clean the dryer exit vent outside the house.
  • Washing Machines - different washers use different kinds of laundry detergent. Be sure to follow directions for the washer installed in your house. Or ask the landlord. Don't overload washer.
  • Lights - each lighting fixture comes with a label for maximum wattage. If you place a light bulb with higher wattage than recommended excess heat will build up melting the fixture and increasing the risk of fire.
  • Hanging pictures - use the appropriate hardware for the size and weight of the picture you are hanging.
  • Gas Fireplaces - the fake logs need to be in a particular arrangement for proper use. If unsure, check the directions or call the landlord.
  • Painting - if your landlord allows you to repaint, look for a low VOX paint.
  • Granite Counters - use appropriate cleaners. Not lemon juice or vinegar based cleaners. Granite countertops are not cutting boards.
  • Grills - don't use grills on a balcony, under the overhang,  or within ten feet of the house.
  • Toilets - don't use chlorine-based cleaning tablets in the tank because they destroy the rubber components.
  • Water Heater - check periodically to make sure water is not accumulating in the pan, which is a sign that something is wrong.

These are just a few of the items to be aware of - if you are not already. Now you know.