Landlord Advice: 6 Ways to Prepare Your Garage Door & Garage Door Opener for a New Tenant
If you have a rental property that includes a garage door there are several things you might consider anytime a tenant moves out, or, more appropriately, before a new tenant moves in. There are a number of items that can be easily addressed that will likely help ensure tenant safety as well as reduce possible tenant complaints. Let’s review some of the more common service items.
Visual inspection: The door should be inspected thoroughly. This includes a visual check of all hardware, cables, springs, tracking, sections, weather seal, etc. Any loose items should be tightened and any worn or broken items should be replaced. If the door has extension (stretch out) type springs it is important to verify safety/retaining cables are present. These cables are separate from the lift cables and help prevent damage or injury in the event of spring breakage. This inspection also should include the framing around the door, particularly the area where the tracking is mounted.
Operation: A manual door should be easily lifted, should not ‘fly’ off the floor or into the header and should park or nearly park at roughly one half open. If the garage door does not park or nearly park at the half open position (it tends to rapidly fall or rise) the springs may be incorrectly adjusted or they may not be the correct springs for the door weight. The door should move freely without catching, binding or making excessive noise. Some items that might cause trouble that appeared to be in good condition during the visual inspection might include pulley bearings or rollers. These parts might look fine but can cause difficult operation and excessive noise if the bearings are in need of lubrication or are worn.
Electric operation: If the door is electrically operated it is important to check the safety features included with that system. These features may vary with the age of the opener system but all features included with the unit should be in working order. Each of the features should be tested – this includes the contacting safety reverse – where the door contacts an obstruction and reverses – as well as the non-invasive photocell safety reverse where a beam of light is projected across the bottom of the door opening – when something breaks the beam of light the door reverses to full open without touching the obstruction. The alignment of the photocells should be verified during the test, if the alignment is marginal the door may reverse even though there is no obstruction. We also suggest cleaning the lens of the photocells with a soft cloth to verify there is no dust or cobweb covering the lens. This can also cause a false reverse condition. As with the garage door the garage door opener system should be visually inspected. During this inspection we check for loose wires, frayed cable, worn chain or belt, secure ceiling hang brackets, secure attachment at the door header, etc. While we are talking about the electric opener system it is worth mentioning the power failure disconnect should be checked for proper operation. This device allows the door to be lifted manually in the event of a power outage or equipment failure. Your tenant should be shown how to use this device so they can remove their vehicle if there is a power failure or if there is an equipment failure.
Security concerns: If the door is manually operated and has a keyed lock device the lock should be checked for smooth, easy operation. If you are not sure all keys have been collected from past tenants this is a good time to replace the lock cylinder to ensure the new tenant’s privacy and security. If the door is electrically operated this is a good time to clear all codes from the radio control receiver and reprogram any transmitters and if present, the keyless entry pad. This also ensures tenant privacy and security.
Batteries: Prior to delivering the property to a new tenant it is worthwhile to replace the batteries in all remote control transmitters and if present, the keyless entry pad. Be sure the battery terminals are clean and free of corrosion. Also be sure the contacts hold the battery securely. And don't forget to inspect the built-in back-up batteries you may have in your existing operator/opener that is mounted to your wall or ceiling.
Landlord convenience: Consider recording the code for the keyless entry pad and/or adding a remote control transmitter to keep. This will allow you to continue to enter the garage if a transmitter gets lost, broken or stolen.
Following these suggestions will help to reduce liability and breakdowns. Many of these tasks can be performed by the property owner, such as a visual inspection, cleaning photocells and changing batteries. If any parts look loose, worn or broken we suggest you have service performed by a professional garage door service company such as Overhead Door Co. of Central Jersey.