The decision to add special amenities to a rental property may seem a great idea. You think it’s a way to attract a more discerning tenant, one who may be so very happy to have those little extras, like a garbage disposal, icemaker, speaker and alarm systems. Happy tenant pays more rent, owner gets happy too, right?
Ah, be mindful, though, that one day those special devices will break and need servicing. Somebody has to pay for it, especially when the item is question is a little exotic, and if you’re a landlord, you realize that not only did it cost more than normal to purchase it, well now it costs a little more than normal to fix it.
In fairness, the tenant signed-on with the expectation that everything would be in working order at all times, so if that doorbell works but the little light in the button went out, as a landlord, you’re expected to fix it. That intercom system you installed? Now it has a scratchy sound when you listen to the audio, so open your wallet, my friend, you now need a special technician to come take care of it.
To think about, here are some examples of “upgraded amenities” compared to a simpler counterpart:
• Dishwasher vs no dishwasher. They take a long time to run and baked on food still needs extra hand-scrubbing. Then they break….OY!
• Lighted doorbell vs un-lighted doorbell. The difference in price is about a dollar or two, but a repair to the light could cost a ton more.
• Icemaker in Refrigerator vs filling those ice trays. How necessary?.
• Garbage disposal vs trash/composting. Bad for pipes, creates sludge. Disposals are prone to abuse, and jamming. If you have a garden, better compost!
• Shower wand vs showerhead. Wands work great but hoses fail. A showerhead is almost forever.
• Automatic Landscape sprinklers vs manual watering. Great if absolutely necessary, but don’t expect a tenant to understand these.
• Kitchen sink faucet with built-in sprayer/hose vs one-spout regular faucet. Hoses often fail, and need replacement by a plumber.
• Owner-paid internet vs tenant pay. Better tenant takes control here.
• Owner provided washer/dryer vs bring-your-own. They will break at some point.
• Automatic garage opener vs manual. Special Tech required.
While many of these amenities are standard expectations, some you might want to avoid. Certain ones might actually be a disservice to the tenant and landlord both, as some gadgetry is just too much trouble. They may take time to learn, extra time to operate, and then when they break, there is an inconvenience.