Are You a Landlord? 8 Common Repairs & How to Fix them
If you’re renting out your property, not all of your tenants will be nice.
In this blog post, I will share 8 common rental property problems, how to repair (most of) them using an app called Kaodim, and how to justify claiming the cost from your tenant’s deposit.
The points made in this article are based on my reasoning and logic. Each scenario is unique and will require a different assessment.
Security Deposit – Claimability Table
But at the same time, you want to be fair to the tenant and not overcharge them for repairs. Unfortunately for most, the difference between the two is often very blurry.
On the opposite side of the spectrum, some owners are too nice & undercharging the repair cost from the tenant.
Since no one ever talks about this, I made this nifty table to help summarize rental property repairs. Feel free to bookmark this for your reference:
|Damage Upon Move Out||Deduct from Security Deposit?|
|Unreasonably dirty place||✅|
|Soiled fabrics & mattresses||✅|
|Wall paint damages||✅|
|Kitchen cabinet damages||✅|
|Water pipe leaks||❌|
If you have other suggestions, feel free to email me, and I’ll add them to the table
Sweet, now let’s take a look at real-life examples for each one:
If a tenant complains about burnt-out lightbulbs during their tenancy, I’d tell them to replace them at their expense.
However, if there are busted lightbulbs after the tenant moved out, I’d replace them at my expense & won’t deduct their security deposit.
Burned out lightbulbs
With this logic, you might think that the tenant will purposely not want to replace the lightbulb throughout their tenancy because they know you’ll replace them after they leave anyway.
But how I’d think of it, if they are so stingy to replace a lightbulb on their own & can live in a dark home for that long, I’m OK to replace the lightbulbs for them.
WHO REPLACES BROKEN LIGHT BULBS: The tenant pays during their tenancy. If there are still broken lightbulbs after the tenant moves out, I'll cover the replacement
Get cheap LED lightbulbs online:
Unreasonably Messy & Dirty Condition
Before the tenant moves out, they have to clean up & restore the place to as close of condition to when they first moved in.
I think it is reasonable & fair to claim a professional cleaning service from the tenant’s deposit if they left your property in a dirty condition that requires you more than 1 hour to clean.
Take a look at the state of my bedroom floor, which would require several rounds of vacuuming & mopping:
Unreasonably messy bedroom after the tenant moves out
WHO CLEANS UP?: It's supposed to be the tenant. Cleaning all this up will require a lot of time, so I will charge for a professional cleaning service on Kaodim & claim that back from the tenant's deposit.
Get Your Property Cleaned with Kaodim
I paid around RM200+ to get my 700sqft house cleaned using Kaodim.
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My dark-colored wooden stairs also looked very dirty & possibly scratched:
Dirty, possibly scratched wooden stairs
RESURFACING MY WOODEN STAIRS: I will wait until I get the place cleaned & mopped. Only then will I reassess the situation to see if I need to get some guy in to apply a fresh coat of shellac or wood stain.
Get Contractors with Kaodim
You can find general contractors also on Kaodim to fix almost anything inside your home.
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Damaged furniture is one of the most common things you have to deal with as a property investor.
Here’s a pic of one of my dining chairs that was broken & need to be replaced:
Broken dining chair
HOW TO CHARGE FOR A REPLACEMENT CHAIR: I will claim a new chair based on a similar product that I can find at IKEA or Lazada.
Here’s a pic of my dislodged wardrobe sliding door:
Dislodged closet door
At first, the dislodged closet door looked pretty bad. But it turns out that the roller popped out from the tracks, and the tenant probably didn’t know how to put it back in.
CLOSET REPAIR: No damage, so I DIY popped the sliding door back on the tracks. Cost: FREE. If the condition was worse & I had to pay someone to fix it, I will deduct that cost to the tenant's deposit.
Pet Damages (From Cats)
PRO-TIP: If your tenant has pets, be prepared to face the following problems. Even if the tenant claims that their cats are ‘well-behaved’ & are ‘declawed’:
Cat damaged bed frame
I can get a similar quality bed frame on Shopee for around RM500. But I have to dispose of the old bed frame, which would cost me more money + all the hassle of logistics.
Then with some help from Google, I discovered the word ‘reupholstery services‘ and found a shop near my rental property that can pick up, restore the bedframe & deliver it back. Super nice service.
DAMAGED BEDFRAME: I'll deduct the total cost to reupholster the bedframe + delivery from the tenant's deposit.
My curtains were also damaged from cat scratches & fur:
DAMAGED CURTAINS: I snipped the frays off the back of the curtains and made it look a lot better, so I think a total replacement was not justifiable. I did, however, claim the cleaning costs for these curtains from the tenant's deposit.
Soiled Fabric & Mattress
Occasionally, you’d get some nasty stains on your mattress, pillows, and mattress protector, as you see here:
Stained mattress & covers
In my case, a good wash with bleach would do the trick, either at the laundry shop or the coin-operated laundry bar.
As for the stained mattress, sofa & carpet, I hired a cleaning professional from Kaodim to come over & clean them properly with a carpet cleaning machine.
PAY FOR CLEANING: I claimed back the laundry + the Kaodim professional mattress & carpet cleaning cost back from the tenant's deposit.
Get Carpet Cleaning Services on Kaodim
Queen mattress cleaning cost me RM130, and the carpet another RM130
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Damages to Wall Paint
Scratch marks on the walls are pretty common. In my case, I placed the dining table & chairs too close to the wall.
As a result, the back of the dining chair left a mark on the wall:
Here’s on the other side:
It’s nothing serious, and a little paint touch-up would do the trick. But it’s still annoying to have to deal with this.
Upstairs, I have small scratches on my blue-colored feature wall from the ironing board leaning against the wall:
Chipping of the paint on my feature wall
Here’s a closer look:
Close up of the wall scratches
PRO-TIP: Don’t put any furniture too close to the wall or else, you’ll get these kind of marks on your walls.
REPAIR PAINT: These paint damages are caused by the tenant, which could be prevented if the tenant were to took care of the place. I will get the paint touched up and claimed from the deposit, but I will only claim for the damaged spots. Be fair and don't charge for the whole wall.
Get Painting Services on Kaodim
You can find painting services on Kaodim for a reasonable price.
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Hairline Cracks on the Wall
Hairline cracks are very common and is a result from the property structure not 100% settled in (it moves a bit over time):
Wall hairline cracks
FIXING HAIRLINE CRACKS: These are due to the property movement, not the tenant's fault. The landlord will have to pay to get it retouched.
There seems to be water damage on my kitchen cabinet:
Water damaged kitchen cabinets
But upon closer inspection, the very top shelf with no dishware had the same water damage, and the pattern seemed fairly uniform.
So I ruled out wet dishware as a cause. Quiet frankly, it seemed that the tenant ever hardly used the kitchen at all.
The actual cause is still unknown till today.
KITCHEN CABINET WATER DAMAGE: This is a tough one. Because I can't prove that the damage is from wet dishwares, I can't claim the damages back to the tenant. I will probably have to replace 1 modular unit of the affected kitchen cabinet in the future at my expense.
Get Cabinet Refurbishing Services on Kaodim
You can find a quote for the cabinet refurbishing on Kaodim + new user discount code.
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AC Leakages & Not Cold
Every 6 months, the tenant has to hire someone to service all the AC units (chemical clean). Check your tenancy agreement. If it’s not in, consider inserting a clause stating that they need to pay for it.
A leaking AC is a dead giveaway that the tenant does not service the AC on time.
This one time, my tenant complained that the AC was leaking, and I told her that’s because you haven’t serviced it as you should every 6 months.
She claimed to hire someone and this was the result of their ‘professional workmanship’:
Damaged drywall due to AC prolonged leak
For whatever reason, the contractor moved my AC unit up, did a bad job at covering the old holes and the AC kept on leaking which caused the water damage you see on the hard wood panel you see in the picture.
The AC was also not blowing cold air. More evidence that they weren’t serviced on time, if at all within the last 2 years of their tenancy. Plus, she had no proof of receipt that she did hire a pro to do it as she claimed.
SERVICING THE AC: I hired some pros from Kaodim to really service my AC properly and charged the
Get AC Services on Kaodim
You can find AC services on Kaodim for a really cheap price + first-time promo code:
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Water Pipe Leaks
You’d be surprised at how common water pipe leakages are.
Here’s a leak that my tenant did not notify me and I only discovered about it after she moved out:
Wet walls due to a pipe leak
The management office told me that the problem is from a leaking shared pipe within that pillar.
Because it was a rainwater pipe shared by everyone in the building, they had to get their plumber in to rectify the issue at the building management’s expense.
They hacked a hole in my column and had to wait for heavy rain to figure out the exact location of the leak:
Hacked the wall to see the cause of the leak
The whole process wasted 3 weeks off my rental schedule. Imagine that, I can’t get the place cleaned until I get this water leak repaired because the hacking will the place dusty again.
PRO-TIP: Before the tenant moves in, remind them to alert you if they see any signs of leakage. No matter how small it is.
Even if the tenant sees something wrong, some might not care at all and let a small leak manifest into a bigger problem, which you’ll only discover once they move out, which is why I’d highly recommend:
PRO-TIP 2: Insert a clause in your tenancy agreement that you have the right to come in (with 48-hour notice) and inspect the property.
FIXING PIPE LEAKS: Pipe leaks are usually never the tenant's fault. Always contact your building management first before you start repairing any leaks, because if it's a common structure, the building has to pay for it.
There you go, that’s my property rental experience for my Cyberjaya apartment. The tenancy stayed for 2 years.
The damages might seem bad and require a lot of time and energy to restore, but my tenant always paid her rent on time every month.
I would rather deal with this tenant as compared to someone who I have to consistently chase rent every month. That would be more mentally draining in my opinion.
Pick your poison.
As for the contractors, most can be found on Kaodim which in my experience, has always been transparent & relatively cheap. Check them out as they have new user discount codes: