Window Shades In Rental Units

Though there is no legal requirement in Colorado that landlords provide window shades, all of my clients have agreed to provide window coverings or curtain rods. Most provide simple slatted blinds, however some of the houses I manage have higher-end window treatments. Also, a few units I manage have a combination of blinds and curtain rods where the tenant is expected to provide the drapes.

Curtain Rods

There are a lot of cheapo curtain rods available, so when I have a need to get curtain rods for a window in a rental I aim to get the non-retractable, solid kind, such as a 1″ diameter wood rod.

Types of Window Shades

In regard to blinds, typically I order metal slatted blinds of a thicker gauge than the basic gauge, though sometimes I have maintenance guys buy plastic blinds off the hardware store shelf and cut them to fit.

A few times I’ve installed cellular shades in rental windows. They are nicer looking and they help with heat retention in the winter and cool retention in the summer. But depending on how rough your tenants are when they open and close the blinds, they are a bit more delicate than the slatted blinds.

Sliding Glass Door Shades

For sliding doors, I am moving away from the vertical blinds. They are easy to break, especially if a person tries to slide the whole bank of slats over before turning open the blinds. For a sliding door I supply either a good curtain rod or I get two horizontal blinds, one to cover each panel of the sliding door, mounted on one head rail.

Cleaning Window Shades

Window blinds can be time-consuming to clean. After years of experimenting with different solutions, my current modus operandi is that dirty blinds are one of the few things that I am okay turning over to a new tenant with the caveat that they can turn them back dirty, within reason, at the end of their lease.

Mold Hysteria!

There is a lot of hysteria about mold and I believe most of it is unfounded. Mold that causes reactions in some people does indeed exist. However most mold is totally harmless and is no danger. Sure it’s a bit gross, but gross and dangerous are two different things.

Basement bathrooms are a great environment for mold. The key is to A) take short showers as a general rule when you can B) always open the door wide and air out the bathroom for a full half hour or longer after bathing C) clean the walls and ceiling above the tub frequently and regularly—three or four times a month—with a biocide like Lysol or diluted bleach.

I take seriously any report or concern about mold. That said, despite the approximately 20 or so times since I’ve been doing this work when tenants have brought up a concern about mold, every single time except once there was no problem, rather the issue and solution was simply a need to step up houskeeping and cleaning practices. The time it wasn’t a housekeeping issue was when a hose spigot line burst in a wall. The tenant didn’t notice the dampness for a while because furniture blocked it. We put in a deeper shut off for the hose spigot to avoid future flooding and we remediated the drywall and etc. properly.

Here’s an excerpt from an email I sent to a tenant recently who had a concern about mold. I will follow up with her as needed after I get more info from her.

“It’s good to be concerned for your health. So let’s investigate together so we can know 100% whether it’s ordinary, common, safe mold.

“Please tell me what you’ve done so far, and how frequently you’ve done it, to address the mold. Also please describe what happened if/when anyone had a reaction to the mold and how you know it was the mold versus some other influence.

“Please “reply to all” so all roommates are in the loop. I will come in person to see it if needed after I hear the answers to the query in the paragraph above. I ask that AT LEAST two of the roommates on the lease be in attendance. I can be very flexible on when, so you tell me when is good for you and most likely I can make it happen.”

Tree Maintenance at Rental Properties

There are certain things that seem to fall through the cracks in regard to preventive maintenance at rental properties. Things like inspecting roofs, exterior siding and maintaining trees are things that can be accidentally neglected over time.

Ideally the property owner will have these appurtenances in mind and will request that the manager address them periodically.

I advise clients that though I can tell when many things need to be serviced or inspected, I am not tree expert. I make it their responsibility to let me know when they want a professional arborist to look at their trees and make sure they are healthy and there are no issues that might be averted with early detection.

That said when I inspect the properties I manage I do look for any obvious tree, roof and siding issues and I let my clients know. In the event that there is an obvious issue with a tree, like a partially broken branch that could fall in high wind or a branch that is touching the building I do expect my clients to agree to address these issues.