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Maintenance Issues for DC Area Rentals

January 14, 2021

One of the top issues with being a landlord is maintenance. DC housing codes can be strict, and tenants can call on housing inspectors to investigate potential violations.

Some tenants use housing codes to their advantage. Others have legitimate issues that they feel threaten their welfare and their families. No matter the reason, as a landlord, you are responsible for resolving these issues, unless the damage was caused by a tenant or a tenant’s guest.

What are the top maintenance problems, and how should you handle them? Read on to learn more.

Not Quite an Open and Shut Case
If you’re renting historic properties in the city, old houses have a unique set of problems. One of the most common is old wooden doors and windows that are hard to open and shut. Humidity is the major contributing factor to this problem.

Since you can’t control the weather, you can keep moisture from absorbing into doors by painting the top and bottom.

While this may seem a minor issue, it is a DC housing code violation. Jammed entryways and exits can cause problems if someone needs to flee a fire or other emergency.

Check Your Chimney
Fireplaces are common in DC area homes. Even though many people don’t choose to use them, they still pose a problem if the water heater is vented into a chimney. This is common in homes built in the 60s or earlier. These hazards can cause gases like carbon monoxide to enter the home.

Busted Bricks
Broken brickwork outside the home creates an entry point for water. Water causes more damage than anything, including crumbling foundations, mold, and rot. Caulk is only a temporary fix. Be sure when repairing brickwork that you use the appropriate type of mortar. Historic homes with older bricks actually require a different mortar than newer brickwork.

Water, Water Everywhere
We mentioned before that water is the most damaging to a home. From burst pipes to basement floods to leaky roofs, water damage can destroy a roof, foundation, or walls. It causes mold to eat away the wood framing under the walls and make a home completely uninhabitable.

With the large amounts of snow over the past 20 years, it’s common for water to accumulate around the foundation and leak into the basement. This water can cause flooding and eventually ruin a foundation.

When you discover water damage, act fast. The longer you wait, the worse the problem will be.

As a landlord, it’s your responsibility to handle maintenance issues. You can’t rely on your tenants to be aware of problems; you must be proactive. The health of your property depends on it.

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