As a landlord, your properties are your biggest financial and personal investment.
You’ve devoted long hours to your properties, from undergoing the legal acquisition process to rehabbing and filling units. You should be highly motivated to keep them in good condition, for your tenants’ sake and your own.
This means performing regular preventative maintenance. While not the most exciting task, preventative maintenance is critical to the success of your rental business. It prevents accidents and identifies problems before they escalate.
The last thing you want is hundreds of dollars in damages due to a malfunction you could have prevented by regularly inspecting your rentals.
So, where do you start? Below are a few preventative maintenance tasks you should complete every season to keep your rentals safe and operable.
- Inspect for leaks, water damage, and mold growth. Summer is the best time to check for water damage following spring showers. An abundance of rain could overwhelm septic systems and lead to expensive repairs.
- Prune outdoor shrubbery. Care for the exterior of your rentals during the warmest season. Tend to shrubbery, flowers, and other plants to boost curb appeal.
- Mulch the flower beds. Mulched beds look more presentable to potential renters.
- Clean common areas (firepits, barbeque areas, playgrounds, etc.). If your tenants spent the winter inside, they’ll be itching to use community spaces by summer. Be sure they are clean and ready for them.
- Drain outdoor hoses and sprinklers. Water lingering in pipes could freeze and burst in cold climates during the winter.
- Clean gutters and remove leaves. Leaves and debris will clog your rentals’ gutters and prevent drainage.
- Seal or insulate doors and windows. Re-caulking and weather stripping reduce cold drafts and save your tenants on utility bills as the temperature drops.
- Inspect and clean appliances. Stoves, ovens, and other appliances get used more frequently during the holidays. Inspect for hazards to prevent malfunctions from ruining any holiday gatherings.
- Empty and clean swimming pools. If you have one, close and clean it appropriately.
- Inspect for pests. Animals look for warm shelters in the fall as the weather cools. Don’t let any uninvited guests move into your rentals.
- Test smoke and carbon monoxide alarms. These alarms save lives. Make sure they’re working to keep your tenants safe.
- Inspect for snow damage. Heavy snow can build up and strain roofs or other structures.
- Inspect and service water heaters. Regular inspections prevent pipe bursts and other plumbing problems during the colder months.
- Check for basement water damage. Basements are particularly prone to water damage due to unexpected thaws.
- Inspect and repair roofing. Whether you only replace a few shingles or opt for more extensive repairs, spring is the perfect time to tend to your rentals’ roofs.
- Inspect/run outdoor faucets and water sources. Check for pipe damage from below-freezing temperatures.
- Perform an HVAC inspection and replace the filters. Your tenants will need the AC shortly. Make sure the HVAC is serviced, and change the air filters at least every 90 days.
- Repair pavement cracks. Ice can deepen cracks and create tripping hazards.
- Power wash the exterior of your rentals. Wash away the slush and sleet from winter to prepare for the spring.
- Fertilize the lawn. As renters prepare to move in the nearing summer months, it’s the ideal time to spruce up your curb appeal. Fertilize the lawn if desired, or simply touch up and trim the natural plant diversity.
- Spring clean. Spring cleaning isn’t just for your primary residence. Vacant rentals could use a dust, polish, or shine to prepare for showings.
- Touch up paint and siding. Paint and siding tend to crack and chip away in harsh winter storms. Spring is your opportunity to make touch-ups.
Tools and Tips for Maintenance Management
If managing these tasks sounds overwhelming, you aren’t alone. Many landlords delegate preventative maintenance to trained contractors to ensure the jobs are done right. However, this doesn’t mean you can’t still track and monitor their progress.
With property management software, you can assign tasks to qualified professionals. Multi-user management features are offered on several platforms and allow you to delegate employees to specific tasks while monitoring their work and checking in with tenants.
Software is also helpful come tax season. Throughout the year, you’ll probably receive dozens of maintenance invoices. Property management software allows you to categorize these expenses according to their deduction category.
Lastly, preventative maintenance is fully tax deductible. Don’t lose any receipts! You’ll need them to determine how much you can deduct and save on taxes.
Preventative maintenance is one of the smartest ways to protect your investments and tenants. With the right tools and help, you can be prepared to tackle each season’s maintenance challenges.