If you’re just getting into real estate investment then one thing that you still have to get used to is natural wear and tear. Unfortunately, property investments are depreciating to an extent in that you have to constantly maintain and repair them in order to keep them in good condition. Regular wear and tear caused by normal use is also your responsibility, even if the tenant caused it.

Giving Out Contact Information

Every tenant should have a copy of your phone number for non-emergency repairs. This is important, and required by the law. It should also be different from your emergency phone number so that you can easily differentiate between which repairs you have to respond to immediately, and which you can leave until you find the appropriate repairman.

What Isn’t Normal Wear and Tear?

While you are required by Washington law (RCW Title 59) to manage normal wear and tear in order to keep the unit in conditions fit for human habitation, you are not responsible for damage caused deliberately, or through neglect, by the tenant. For example, damage such as a roach infestation caused by not cleaning or picking up waste, a door or other item that has been deliberately broken, or graffiti are all examples of damage other than wear and tear. If the damage is not wear and tear related then it is your responsibility to discuss the tenant paying for the repairs.


If the damage is normal wear and tear, then it is your responsibility to have it fixed. Depending on how much time you have, how many units you have, and whether or not you’ve hired a Bellevue property management company, the process is quite different. If you are very handy then you might be able to handle the repairs yourself to save money. If not, then you can call a repair company and ask them to come in and do the work with you. Usually you should contract a single company to go on call for you if you have more than one unit so that you can simply call them whenever you have an issue. This is the best way to go if you have multiple units, because large contracting companies usually have several employees, so they can send someone out to fix the issue as quickly as possible. Finally, if you have a Bellevue property management company, they will handle everything for you.

There are several contractors in the Bellevue area capable of taking on contracts for regular maintenance and repair, but you might have to hire more than one, especially if you’re renting out pre-furnished apartments. For example, you will need different maintenance contractors for servicing a washer and dryer, vs the windows and doors.

If handling repairs, setting up phone numbers for tenants to call, or inspecting damage to make sure that it’s ‘normal wear and tear’ sounds like it’s too much work, or too time consuming, then you may want to consider hiring a property management company to handle the details.