If you’re a landlord who wants to run a tight ship, you need certain supplies on hand to deal with common situations.
These supplies include tools and maintenance items, paperwork to make your life easier, spare keys, and a way to remove unauthorized padlocks and chains.
Tools and supplies for basic maintenance
Your toolbox should include the basics:
- Tape measure
- Power drill
For small electrical repairs:
- Wire splicing tool
- Utility knife
For plumbing repairs:
- Two pairs of locking pliers (One pair is for holding the pipe while you tighten a leaking fitting with the other.)
Besides tools, you’ll need a few supplies to complete repairs. If you keep an inventory of a few basics, you can complete simple repairs efficiently without repeated trips to the hardware store. The list isn’t long. It includes:
- An assortment of screws and other fasteners
- Wall anchors
- Electrical tape, duct tape, and plumbing tape
- Carpenter’s glue and 2-part epoxy
Supplies for painting and cosmetic maintenance
When a tenant moves out, you almost always have to do some painting to make the rental ready for a new tenant. Keep the following in your paint closet:
- Touch-up paint
The painting job inevitably involves a certain amount of wall repair. So it’s a good idea to also keep the following supplies in your paint closet so you can make these repairs quickly and minimize downtime for the rental:
- Drywall joint compound
- Drywall tape
- Spackling compound
- Patching compound
- A four-inch putty knife and a 6- and 10-inch drywall knife
- A paint scraper
Cleaning tools and supplies
Cleaning is an important part of the turnaround process, so your supply closet should include the following:
- Assortment of rags and sponges
- Vacuum cleaner
- Spray bottle that you can fill with vinegar (comes in handy for cleaning hard water streaks from the bathroom walls and shower door)
In addition, it’s a great idea to keep the following supplies in the cleaning closet:
- Bleach-based cleanser
- Dish soap for delicate cleaning jobs
- Enzyme-based drain cleaner for slow drains
- Scouring powder
- Vinegar and/or hydrogen peroxide for disinfecting
- Window cleaning fluid
Paperwork to keep in your file cabinet
Your file cabinet should include the instruction manual for each of your appliances, as well as a copy of the warranty (if it’s still in effect). Besides these, it’s a good idea to keep the following paperwork:
- Copies of lead paint and other disclosure forms that you are required to supply to new tenants
- Fact sheets about the rental that include safety information and important phone numbers that you can supply to tenants
- Ready-to-fill-out leases and/or rental agreements.
Prepare for lockouts
It’s good practice to limit the number of keys you give out, and it’s an even better practice to have at least one spare set for each rental. Keep the keys in a place you can access quickly, and a late night emergency call from a tenant who has misplaced keys will be less of a bother.
Tenants who lose keys sometimes use their own locks to keep doors and other parts of a rental unit secure. It isn’t unheard of for these unauthorized locks to remain when the tenants vacate the premises. Keep a pair of bolt cutters in your toolbox, and you can remove them.
Consolidate all your supplies in one place
Not all landlords do all their own maintenance and repairs, but if you do, consider investing in an inexpensive used vehicle in which to keep supplies (except paperwork). This is a great idea if you have multiple units. You’ll always have the things you need right at hand, and you won’t have the hassle of organizing materials each time a job arises. You’ll save time and money, and every little bit helps to keep your rental operation in the black.