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Rental Property Emergency Funds: Should You Have One?

  • January 12, 2023
  • James Beeson
  • Category: Property Management

As a landlord, owning rental properties can be a great source of income and long-term wealth. However, it has its fair share of responsibilities and potential financial risks. One such risk is the possibility of unexpected expenses, such as repairs or emergency maintenance.

Having rental property emergency funds can provide peace of mind and ensure that you’re prepared for any unexpected costs that may come your way.

But is having a rental property emergency fund necessary?

This article will explore the importance of having an emergency fund for your rental properties and how you can create and maintain one.

Whether you’re a seasoned landlord or just starting in the rental property game, this guide will help you understand the benefits of having a safety net and how to ensure an emergency fund is at your disposal when there’s a need.

What is an Emergency Fund?

A savings account is set aside expressly to provide a financial buffer for unexpected expenses or emergencies. Its purpose is to provide a source of funds that can cover expenses without resorting to loans or credit cards, thus reducing financial stress and preventing individuals from falling into debt during job loss, medical emergencies, or natural disasters.

For maximum accessibility and convenience, an emergency fund should be kept in a savings account or short-term certificate of deposit (CD) and separate from other savings goals. The amount of money that should be saved in an emergency fund will vary depending on an individual’s financial situation. Still, most experts recommend having enough savings to cover 3-6 months of living expenses. It ensures you have enough money to cover basic needs such as rent or mortgage payments, food, and transportation in the event of a loss of income.

It’s crucial to note that an emergency fund should only be used for true emergencies and not for non-essential expenses such as vacations or new cars. To prevent the temptation to use the funds for non-emergency expenses, it is best to keep the money in a separate account that is not easily accessible.

Starting small is an intelligent approach. You could begin with a comfortable monthly contribution, whether $50 or $100, and gradually increase it over time. This way, budgeting for an emergency fund becomes a habit and part of your regular savings routine. Additionally, regularly reviewing and assessing the emergency fund is essential. As time goes on and circumstances change, the amount of savings needed may also change. For instance, if you have dependents, you may need more savings than if you are single.

How Much Emergency Fund is Enough for You?

An emergency fund can provide a financial cushion to help you navigate through tough times and avoid going into debt. But how much should you save in an emergency fund?

How to Determine Your Emergency Fund Needs?

  • Factor in any additional expenses that may arise in an emergency, such as medical bills or car repairs.
  • Consider your current level of debt. If you have high levels of credit card debt or student loans, you should save more in your emergency fund to help pay that off in an emergency.
  • Think about your income and job security. You can save less in your emergency fund if you have a stable job and steady income. But if you work in a volatile industry or have a job with a high risk of layoffs, it may be wise to save more.

How Much Should You Save?

A commonly recommended amount is to have 3-6 months of living expenses saved in your emergency fund. It might seem a lot, but it will give you the security of knowing that you have a significant amount of money set aside to cover unexpected expenses.

But if you are starting from zero, keep going. The important thing is to start somewhere. Even if you can only save a small amount each month, that’s better than nothing. Once you have a small emergency fund, you can work towards building it up over time.

How to Build an Emergency Fund?

It is essential to have an emergency fund to avoid going into debt when an emergency strikes. Here are some tips to help you build your emergency fund.

Set a Goal

  • Determine how much you need to save. Experts recommend having three to six months of living expenses saved in your emergency fund.
  • Break down your goal into smaller, manageable chunks. For example, if your goal is to save $12,000 in a year, set a goal to save $1,000 monthly.

Create a Budget

  • Track your expenses to determine where you can cut back.
  • Identify areas where you can redirect the money to your emergency fund, such as cutting back on dining out or subscription services.
  • Use budgeting apps or tools to make it easier to manage your budget.

Save Automatically

  • Set up automatic transfers from your checking account to your emergency fund on the day you get paid.
  • Automating your savings will make it easier to reach your goal without forgetting to transfer money manually.

Earn Extra Income

  • Look for ways to earn extra money, such as picking up a side hustle or selling items you no longer need.
  • Direct this additional income to your emergency fund.

Building an emergency fund may seem daunting, but it is essential for financial stability. By setting a goal, creating a budget, saving automatically, and earning extra income, you can reach your goal in no time. Take your time with an emergency strike; start building your emergency fund today.

Why Must Property Owners Have Emergency Funds?

As a property owner, you know that unexpected expenses can pop up anytime. Unexpected repairs can be costly and stressful, from a leaky roof to a broken furnace. That’s why it’s essential to have an emergency fund in place to help cover these unexpected costs.

Why You Need an Emergency Fund?

  • Unexpected Repairs: As a property owner, you are responsible for the maintenance and repairs of your property. A leaky roof or broken furnace can be costly, and you may need an emergency fund.
  • Vacancies: If your rental property is vacant for an extended period, it can be challenging to cover the mortgage and other expenses. An emergency fund can help cover these costs until you find a new tenant.
  • Natural Disasters: Floods, hurricanes, and other natural disasters can cause severe damage to your property. An emergency fund can help cover the costs of repairs and rebuilding.
  • Economic Downturns: A recession or economic downturn can affect the housing market, and finding tenants or selling your property may be challenging. An emergency fund can help cover expenses while you wait for the market to recover.

Where to Keep Your Rental Property Emergency Funds Security?

An emergency fund is crucial for handling unexpected expenses, such as a job loss or a medical emergency. But where you keep your emergency fund can be just as important as having one in the first place.

Here are some options for keeping your emergency fund safe and easily accessible:

1.    High-yield Savings Account

Many banks and online banks offer high-yield savings accounts that provide a higher interest rate than a traditional savings account. The FDIC insures deposits at FDIC-insured banks, which means that your money is protected by up to $250,000 per depositor. Money in these accounts is typically easily accessible through ATMs or online banking.

2.    CDs (Certificates of deposit)

CDs are time deposits that typically offer higher interest rates than savings or money market accounts, but you will be required to leave your money in the account for a set period (such as six months or a year). CDs can be a good option for an emergency fund if you have a longer time horizon, but they may not be as easily accessible in the short term as the above options.

3.    Consider Keeping Cash at Home

Keeping cash in a safe or safe deposit box can be a good option for an emergency fund because it is easily accessible and can be used in a power outage or other emergencies that may prevent you from accessing your funds through electronic means. However, remember that cash kept at home is not FDIC-insured and may be at risk of theft.


Having a rental property emergency fund is crucial for landlords. These funds can help cover unexpected expenses, such as repairs and vacancies, that can cause financial strain.

It is essential to set aside a portion of rental income each month to build up an emergency fund and ensure that the funds are accessible and readily available when needed.

While it may be tempting to use rental income for other expenses, such as paying off debt or investing, having a rental property emergency fund is a responsible and essential aspect of being a landlord.

By taking the time to establish and maintain an emergency fund, landlords can ensure that they are prepared for any situation that may arise and that their rental properties continue to generate income and provide a stable source of income.