If you have not been in the landlording business long you will soon enough understand how the bathroom is potentially the most expensive room in the house. From minor repairs to dripping faucets to a major dry-rot rehab the bathroom can drain your bank account. However, a little prevention can go a long way towards keeping the expenses low. When doing your regular inspections make sure you are looking at the following items:
  • Look under the sink/s. I find leaks regularly that the tenants did not know about. Feel the pipes with your dry hand and look around the plethora of stuff we all keep under there. Also, look for rust stains and water marks on the drain pipes.
  • Look around the toilet and look for both condensation (condensation can produce a lot of water in the winter) and leaks. Again, look at the supply line coming out of the wall or floor. Next, look at the flooring around the toilet and step hard around it. Feel for soft spots in the floor and look for discoloration of the vinyl. If the toilet is caulked make sure that there is at least one gap in the caulking (usually in the back) where water can escape if the wax ring leaks.
  • Look at the caulking between the tub and flooring and the molding next adjacent to the tub. The easiest and most cost effective repair is just keeping this joint caulked. (Use only 100% silicone caulk) A lot of water can run on the wrong side of the curtain, and in some cases the tenants seem to be confused on which side of the tub the curtain should hang. 🙂
  • Look at the faucets and tub/shower valves. Look for rust or water stains around the handles and dripping faucets.
  • Inspect the tub/shower surround. If it is tile check the grout. Is is flaking out of the joint then water is getting behind the tile or the backing has been compromised. This could mean your tile is over drywall and if that is the case start saving your money to replace the tub surround. If you have a fiberglass or cultured marble surround you only need to check the caulking seems and the base for cracks.
  • Check the exhaust fan. We see mold in the bathrooms when either the fan is not functioning or the tenant does not leave it on long enough to remove the humidity from showering. Consider adding a timer as it can take longer than an hour for a fan to completely exhaust the bathroom.
  • Last, look at the condition of the paint, fixtures, flooring, counter tops and mirror. It may be time to upgrade or just upkeep.
This whole process should only take about ten minutes. Regular inspections and prevention is really cheap and will save you thousands. Dry-rot and water damage is very insidious and can go along slowly destroying your property for months and years. Let your tenants know you want to be informed about the smallest problems.
Without spending to much time in the bathroom, next month we are going to go over a few tips and tricks to make you bathroom rehab last longer. Stay tuned!