The Complete Guide to Home Warranties for Rental Properties
As a landlord, one of the most enduring stresses you’ll face is a system or appliance breaking down at one of your properties. The cost of repair or replacement, and the hassle of finding someone professional to go round and conduct the work while your tenants are pestering you to sort it out can be a real headache.
The easiest way to reduce this stress and save money is by taking out a home warranty. For a few hundred dollars a year, you can be safe in the knowledge that, should anything go wrong, you’ll have access to trusted service professionals at an affordable cost.
But is it just the same as taking out a home warranty for an owner-occupied property? Can your tenants take out a home warranty? And is it tax deductible? Read on to find out.
Are you a landlord in need of a comprehensive home warranty for one or multiple properties? We can help you find your perfect solution. Just take our quick quiz in association with GoWizard and they’ll match you to the right provider for your needs.
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Can you buy a home warranty for a rental property?
If you’re the landlord of a rental property, you can and should buy a home warranty for that property.
As the landlord, you are solely responsible for maintaining and servicing the rental property’s systems and appliances. If you want to maintain good relationships with your tenants, you need to be able to sort any issue out as soon as possible.
With a home warranty, not only do you get repair and replacement of any key system or appliance for between $75 and $125 (unless the repair cost exceeds the coverage limit), but you also get access to vetted contractors through your home warranty company. This means any issue at your rental property can be dealt with quickly, professionally, and affordably.
This is especially true if you own multiple rental properties. Paying for and dealing with multiple issues at a number of properties could very quickly become a big drain on your time and resources. If you have a home warranty for each property, whenever a tenant tells you about an issue, you can quickly put in a claim and have a trusted contractor sent round to check it out, whether you’re local to the property or not.
Additionally, if you rent out a unit that’s in the same place as your primary residence, as long as it’s less than 750 square feet, you can add it onto the home warranty for your primary residence as a guest unit, which is significantly cheaper than taking out a separate policy.
Is it worth getting a home warranty if you’re just renting?
If you’re a renter, you can’t buy a home warranty – only the owner can. Both a renter and a landlord can take out home insurance, but only the property owner is able to take out a home warranty.
Average cost of a home warranty for a rental property
The average cost of a home warranty for a rental property is exactly the same as the average cost of a home warranty for any other property. You should expect to pay around $25 to $80 a month or between $300 and $1,000 a year, with a service fee of between $75 and $125 for each and every claim. Optional cover for things like septic tanks, pools, spas and roofs usually costs between $2 and $35 a month.
Find out more: How much does a home warranty cost?
Are home warranties the same for landlords and owner-occupied properties?
Yes, in terms of coverage and function, there’s actually no difference between a home warranty for a landlord and an owner-occupied property.
Both can be used to cover repair and replacement of critical systems and appliances, both enable you to access vetted contractors to conduct repairs and replacements, and both usually last a year.
Is a home warranty for a rental property tax deductible?
If you’re a landlord, it’s possible to claim the premium and service fees you pay for a home warranty on a rental property as operating expenses. You can then deduct these expenses from your total income on your tax return, reducing your tax burden.
Tax rules can vary depending on which state you’re registered as a landlord in, so we’d advise speaking to a tax professional about the tax deductible elements of your home warranty.
What to consider when getting a home warranty for a rental property
As you would when taking out a home warranty for an owner-occupied property, you should take into account the age of the property and its systems and appliances. If your property is relatively new, or you’ve recently replaced any of the appliances, these may still be under the manufacturer's warranty, so you can choose not to include them in your home warranty.
As there can be multiple unrelated tenants in a rental, the systems and appliances can see heavier and more frequent use, and as they’re only temporary residents, not all tenants are as careful, respectful, or interested in the lifespan of those systems and appliances.
That in mind, when reviewing the contract, check the coverage limits for each item as well as the expectations for proper maintenance. You need to know how much extra you might need to budget for any excess costs beyond those limits, and you need to make sure everything is maintained well enough so that you won’t fall foul of the improper maintenance clause.
For example, the coverage limit for repairing the electricity in a property might be $3,000, but it turns out the repair is going to cost $5,000. That extra $2,000 might sting, but at least you’ll be prepared for it.
Whether you own one property or multiple properties, a home warranty can give you peace of mind, save you money, and help to maintain a good relationship with your tenants.
If any issue occurs, either you or your tenant can call up your home warranty company and a vetted service professional will be sent round to investigate for a small fee.
What’s more, you may be able to deduct your home warranty premium and service fee from your tax return as operating costs, making it super affordable to manage and maintain your properties.
Want to cover your rental properties with a home warranty but don’t know where to start? We can help. We’ve created a quiz in association with GoWizard that can match you to the best home warranty for you and your property. Just answer a few quick questions to get started.