Cost Dilemma: Do Property Managers Pay for Repairs in LA?

6 Jul, 10:47 am

As a property owner, it is crucial to understand the variety of responsibilities that come with managing a property, and among these responsibilities, repairs play a pivotal role.

Whether it’s fixing a leaky faucet or addressing major structural issues, the timely and efficient handling of repairs is essential for maintaining tenant satisfaction and the overall value of the property.

Having a property manager can help ease these complexities, shed light on the division of responsibilities, and understand the proper handling of repairs.

In this article, we look into the coverage of property management responsibilities and explore the relationship between property managers and repair costs.


Importance of repairs in property management


Property managers, who represent property owners, have legal obligations to maintain the habitability and quality of the rental property as stated in California law.

The warranty of habitability ensures that the rental property is in a livable condition, meeting basic health and safety standards. It means responsibility for addressing repairs that affect the habitability of the property, such as plumbing issues, electrical problems, or structural damage.

Meanwhile, the implied warranty of quiet enjoyment guarantees that tenants can enjoy their rented space without interference or disturbance. Repair issues that may disrupt a tenant’s peaceful enjoyment of the property, such as noise problems or security concerns, must be addressed.

A property management company plays a vital role in advising landlords on their repair responsibilities. They assist in documenting repair requests from tenants, ensuring that all necessary repairs are addressed promptly.

Most property management companies also coordinate with contractors and vendors to arrange repairs, obtain quotes, and oversee the repair process.


Responsibilities of a Property Manager on maintenance and repairs


Depending on the duties outlined in the property management agreement, a property management firm takes charge of making necessary repairs on behalf of the property owner

– Routine maintenance

The property manager is responsible for scheduling and overseeing regular maintenance tasks, such as landscaping, HVAC system inspections, and cleaning common areas. This proactive approach helps prevent larger issues from arising and ensures the overall well-being of the property.

– Tenant negligence

When repairs are necessary due to tenant negligence, such as damage caused by improper use or neglect, the property manager also takes appropriate action.

The property management team coordinates to address the repairs promptly and ensures that the costs incurred for such repairs are consequently billed to the tenant.

– Major repairs

A property manager also handles renovations that go beyond routine maintenance. This includes general projects such as changing floors, plumbing overhauls, or updating rooms. They get quotes, hire contractors, and supervise the entire process, ensuring that the repairs are completed effectively and within the agreed-upon budget.

– Documentation of costs

They are responsible for tracking repair expenses, including updating the rental lease agreement with any relevant changes and ensuring that the monthly rental income is correctly allocated.


property manager documenting cost of repairs with contractor in LA

Courtesy of Canva/Getty Images

How does a property management company take care of repair services in rental properties?


Plumbing and electrical issues are among the most common repairs handled by property managers. They coordinate with licensed professionals to address plumbing issues, clogged drains, electrical malfunctions, and other related problems.

They also handle appliance repairs, such as fixing malfunctioning refrigerators, washing machines, and dishwashers, depending on what is stated in the rental agreement.

In some cases where the property’s structure is compromised, most property managers take charge of arranging structural repairs, including addressing foundation issues, leaks, or damage caused by unforeseen circumstances.

Tenant responsibilities in case of repairs

Tenants also have certain responsibilities when it comes to repairs in rental properties. They are generally responsible for minor repairs resulting from normal wear and tear.

This includes fixing small issues like replacing light bulbs, unclogging drains, or repairing minor damage caused by everyday use. They then promptly report these repairs to the property manager to see if there is any further maintenance to be made.

Tenants should also communicate regarding emergency repairs due to immediate safety concerns. If there is a safety hazard or an urgent repair needed, tenants should notify the property manager immediately to ensure a swift resolution.

For non-essential repairs, tenants should still inform the property manager. It is essential to address these issues early on to prevent them from escalating into larger-scale problems that may require extensive renovations.


Handling rental property maintenance and repair expenses

Budget allocation of repair funds

A property management company typically set aside funds for repairs and maintenance through a reserve fund. This fund serves as a designated pool of money specifically allocated for future repair expenses.

It also allows the property manager to be proactive in making prompt repairs and ensures that there are sufficient funds available during unexpected situations to minimize any financial strain on the landlord or delays in resolving maintenance issues.

The property manager carefully assesses the property’s needs and the anticipated budget needed to determine the amount needed in the reserve fund. As an owner, you can put a limit to the amount allocated in the fund. This will help you monitor and control anything beyond the indicated costs.


repairs by the property manager in LA

Courtesy of Canva/Angelov

What happens when the property manager fails to address repairs?

When faced with repair issues that are the property manager’s job but remain unresolved after a period of time, tenants may have recourse to a few remedies.

  • Repair and deduct remedy

Tenants can arrange for the necessary repairs to be carried out by a professional. They then deduct the cost of the repairs from their rent payment. This remedy is typically applicable to non-urgent repairs that directly affect the habitability of the property.

  • Abandonment remedy

If the repair issue significantly impacts the tenant’s ability to live in the property, and the landlord fails to address it, the tenant may choose to abandon the property or require a hotel room for a period of time. In such cases, the tenant terminates the lease agreement and vacates the premises, without further rent obligations.

  • Rent withholding remedy

By California law, tenants are allowed to withhold rent until the repairs are completed. This remedy is for severe repair issues that substantially affect and violate the implied warranty of habitability.

It’s important to note that these remedies may have specific legal requirements and procedures that must be followed by tenants. It’s advisable for tenants to consult local tenant-landlord laws to understand their rights and responsibilities in these situations.


Make sure your property management company stays on top of repairs


In accordance with the rental agreement, property management companies pay for the repairs needed including regular inspections and preventative measures. They also take care of financial responsibilities like up-to-date rent collected to allocate in a repair reserve fund but also maintain records of repair costs. 

Timely and accurate maintenance and repair are crucial for maintaining transparency and managing the financial aspects of the property effectively.

By actively participating in reporting and addressing repairs, tenants can also contribute to the overall maintenance and well-being of the rental property.

Open communication with property managers helps ensure that repairs are addressed promptly and efficiently, creating a safe and comfortable living environment for all tenants.

Discover the expertise of Lotus West Properties, a prominent player in the property management industry across Mar Vista, Culver City, West Hollywood, and the Greater Los Angeles area. Learn how our dedicated property management team commits to addressing tenant repair requests and taking care of your investment property.