Apartment Turnover and Other Maintenance

Apartment TurnMy final apartment turnover for March is complete.  I am all set until the end of April now.  I had the new tenant sign a lease and pay the rent for the remaining March rent, and all of April, on 3/24.  I prorated the rent for March, and she also paid all of April.

These tenants have a solid credit score, and solid income, so they should be a great tenants.  It is only one person for now, and another that moves in in August.  Both have been screened and accepted.

That is the way to do it, declare and screen everyone who will be moving into the apartment right up front.  No one wants to be told their significant other can’t move in a month down the road.

I gave the tenant the option of only paying the week of March, and paying April rent when it would be due a week later.  She decided it was better to just pay for the next five weeks and be done with it.  I like that approach too.  Always prorate the first month, if necessary, and have the rent due on the first of the month thereafter.  If you have multiple units, it will be impossible to remember when rent is due otherwise.  If you have a weak tenant, get the most rent upfront.

Repaired Items

DSC03402The items I had to repair after the previous tenant were minimal.  I replaced the kitchen floor.  I used a new product, Allure, somewhat as a test from Home Depot.  It is a tile looking vinyl laminate.  It went on real easy, and is free floating.  The edges between the tile pieces stick together.  Each piece is 12” x 36”, so it goes on pretty quickly.  For ~160 square feet of flooring, plus some material for waste, it was about $400 for the floor.

Dishwasher Preventative Maintenance

I had to pull the dishwasher (and stove) out to put tile underneath it.  This step is not mandatory, but it makes it easier to lay the tile.  And, if I ever have to put the dishwasher out, the dishwasher legs do not catch on the laminate edge.

When I pulled the dishwasher out, I knocked the flexible water supply line lose, and it started to drip.  This was a good thing, as any water line that loose needs to be tightened.  The dishwasher was electrically hardwired; this makes for a slightly more difficult un-install and re-install.

To make this chore a bit easier and the next install faster, I took the electrical wire and added a plugin box to it.  I fastened the box to the wall behind the dishwasher, and added an electrical cord to the dishwasher.  It is now a plug in connection.  It will make any replacement of the next dishwasher faster and easier.

The water supply line to the dishwasher was not only loose, it was installed backwards.  It is a ‘Flood safe” dishwasher water supply line, and they need to be installed so that the water flows in a certain direction.  Easy fix with the dishwasher removed.

When I disconnected the supply line from the stop valve, I noticed that the shutoff was dripping.  It was a soldered on ball valve, but it did not shut off all the way.  Perhaps when it was soldered in originally (maybe by me…), it was done incorrectly or too hot.  Either way, I needed to replace it.

Dishwasher hookupThe dishwasher and kitchen hot water were on the same shutoff, which had two water outlets.  I could not leave the dishwasher unattached without shutting off the water to the faucet.  When I un-soldered the bad valve, I put in a ‘T’, so I could have two shutoffs, one for the kitchen faucet and one for the dishwasher.  This will be a life saver if I ever need to replace a dishwasher and cannot get a new one in place the same day.  A leaking dishwasher could not be shut off without affecting the kitchen sink if there was only one shutoff.

I installed two compression style ball valves to take care of this.  A compression valve can be replaced easily, and the pipes can be ‘wet’.  A solder option requires a dry pipe.  Next time, it will be easier to remedy a bad valve.  Since I already had the shutoff valves, and electrical pigtail, the cost for these fixes was minimal.  The part would have been around $20 if I had to purchase them.

Always think about your next property turn.  You may have less time to get in a tenant, and need to be able to turn an apartment quickly to maximize profits.

Since I had one vacant unit on this duplex, and the city required an inspection this year, I scheduled an inspection for the unit.  The cost of the inspection was $150.  I only had to inconvenience and coordinate with one tenant.

I cleaned off the refrigerator coils and did some touch up paint.

Since I did not know how well the previous tenant would clean the place, I also enlisted the help of some cleaners before I started to be there when I started the apartment turnover.  It cost $100, and was a waste of money as the tenants did a pretty good job anyway.  It was a bit of insurance, so not totally a waste.

Kitchen Trap re-Do

The kitchen trap and drain lines were not as I wanted them to be.  The original design had a center drain trap.  I changed it to a side drain, which moved the trap out from the center of the sink.  That should be less bumping of the trap and less leaks.

The dishwasher drain hookup was also directly above the sink trap,  installed vertically, forcing the trap lower.  Since the wall drain pipe was a higher, it forced another elbow connection pipe.  Water would sit in the trap at a higher level than I wanted.  by moving the dishwasher drain hookup to the horizontal part of the drain line, it elevates the trap a bit.  That means less water standing in the pipes and less joints.  Therefore, less potential for issues.

Problem Tenant False Alarm

My other tenant that brought in her boyfriend delivered the application to me.  As it turns out, he is a solid person with a great credit score.  He had some DWI issues from years in the past, and has a steady blue-collar job, at the same employer, for the past ~9 years.  I do not think I will have any trouble with him, and actually thing the existing tenant situation will be stronger with him.  There is more income, he has a solid credit score, and I was able to get more rent.

In this case, since it was an addition to an existing lease, I was also able to raise the rent by $50.

You need to be careful of tenants that change jobs often, especially if they are also changing careers.

Fascia Repair

LiftI had a piece of fascia come off one of my 4-plexes.  It was swinging in the wind for a while after it came loose.  Since it is ~32’ off the ground, it becomes a bit of a challenge (for me) to replace it.  I have a ladder I could have used, but I elected to rent a 37’ lift for the job.




No matter how safe you are in that platform, it is still a bit unnerving with the wind and swaying of the machine.  It only took less than about an hour to do, not including the pick-up and drop off of the machine.  The cost was $138 to rent the lift, and ~$20 for the new fascia pieces.


 Emergency Refrigerator

I had a tenant notify me that their refrigerator was not working properly.  I went over and cleaned the coils.  It did not fix the situation, so I immediately called Lowe’s for a replacement.  They had a ‘slightly used’ one.  The cost, including delivery and haul away, $591.94.

I never had to go in the store, nor did I have to do anything but coordinate the delivery.  I could have done this anywhere in the world, including on any beach in Florida.

It was more than I wanted to spend, but the immediate delivery was important.  The tenant were impressed and happy.

How was your past couple of weeks?  Do you do any preventative maintenance on your own home or rentals?  




6 Replies to “Apartment Turnover and Other Maintenance”

  1. The new floor looks great! I haven’t tried the Allure products from Home Depot yet but them seem to get good reviews form folks over at BP. Hope it serves you well.

    Impressive work getting all emergencies squared away so promptly. It does make a difference and think will be a huge factor in getting a tenant to decide to stay long term.

    1. Thank you Jay!

      The Allure floor seemed to be a good product and an easy install. Time will tell. The new tenant wants to buy a home in the future, so I hope that I can sell one to them at some point soon. If I can squeeze out 3-4 sales a year, plus some other side work gigs, that should be enough to retire on. The rents and investments will be extra!

  2. Nice work doing all of the work to set yourself up for easier maintenance in the future!
    That’s great that you’ve got two new tenants who seem solid, and a more solid situation with another tenant. How do you word your leases, so that you are able to increase the rent based on the number of people?

    1. Thank you for the comment!

      The tenants I have are real good. I was a bit concerned I had made a mistake, but it all seems great now.

      I did not word my lease any different, but adding a new adult occupant is a change of lease terms. With the terms changed to add a new occupant, I can also change my terms.

      If they did not agree to the rent increase, I would not have agreed to the new tenant.

  3. I’m curious… why did you not get a used refrigerator instead of brand new? I almost never get any new appliances for tenants, and it’s worked good for me so far. That Allure floor looks great and the price is sweet. It’ll give me more options to think about when I renovate my four-plex in 2017.

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