As an experienced landlord, I know that preparation is essential. I do my very best to manage the maintenance requirements of my rental properties. However, there is no way to anticipate every issue that can go wrong. Every time I think I have the properties in good shape, a new problem arises. I am good about taking preventive measures and communicating with my tenants. Most of my renters have been with me for many years. We’ve built a good relationship where they can trust that I have their best interests at heart. One common crisis is failed water heaters. When the water heater quits, I hear about it immediately. No one wants to take a freezing cold shower. Replacing the water heater is a sizable investment. I always hope that the issue is a simple repair, such as relighting the pilot light or replacing a heating element. I have a professional plumber I call who is good about providing cost-effective recommendations. I have all of the water heaters serviced by the plumber every year. He drains the tank to eliminate sediment buildup, troubleshoots all components and keeps me informed if a water heater is nearing the end of its service life. The HVAC system is another complex piece of equipment that sees a great deal of wear and tear. I’ve enrolled in a maintenance plan to have the heating and cooling units inspected, cleaned and tuned once per year. Any worn or broken parts are replaced. Because of this, I can expect the systems to operate reliably and at peak efficiency throughout the year. Plus, this service fulfills the manufacturer’s warranty coverage. The majority of my tenants are conscientious about replacing filters in the heating and cooling units. But I’ve already paid an expensive repair bill only to learn that the filter was clogged.