Keeping your rental properties is tip-top shape is the key to running a successful and profitable property management business. Not only does ongoing maintenance keep your tenants happy, but it can also help to prevent costly repair bills. As the old adage goes, “an ounce of prevention is worth a pound of cure.” In terms of rental property management, a few dollars in preventative maintenance can save you hundreds or even thousands down the road. It’ll also help you maintain a stellar reputation.
To follow are five fundamental maintenance tasks that no property manager can afford to neglect.
Assess the property for leaks and water damage.
In terms of water damage, most people automatically think about flooding or other major events. In reality, even small issues can lead to much bigger and exponentially more expensive problems if not properly addressed in a timely manner. As part of your routine maintenance activities, you should regularly inspect the water sources in your properties for any signs of leaks. This includes sinks, bathtubs and water heaters. Externally, it involves keeping gutters clean and ensuring watertight downpipes.
Service heating and cooling systems.
Investing in preventative maintenance can help keep your furnace, water heater and air conditioning systems in good working order. Some of the most expensive repair work involves HVAC systems, so preventing issues before they occur is a wise financial decision. Develop a relationship with a trusted HVAC professional and plumber, and schedule them to come in and inspect your systems, change filters and perform other recommended preventative tasks on a regular basis. It’ll keep your properties comfortable and save you a bundle in the long run.
Test smoke and carbon monoxide detectors.
One of the primary goals of property maintenance is to ensure that your tenants enjoy a safe living environment. As such, it’s imperative that you routinely check the smoke detectors and carbon monoxide detectors installed throughout your properties to verify that they are in good working order. For battery-operated units, it is strongly recommended that you change the batteries every 6 months. If you don’t maintain these devices and something happens, you could be held liable.
Inspect grout and calking in bathrooms.
Old caulking and grout are more than just an eyesore for your tenants. If not properly addressed, they can lead to costly water damage. During annual inspections of your properties, be sure to check around sinks and bathtubs. If you notice any loose tiles or broken seals, you should make it a priority to repair and/or replace them immediately.
Ensure the security of all windows and doors.
Again, providing your residents with a safe living environment is an important part of property management. In fact, in many states and municipalities, it is part of an implied warranty of habitability. That means if it can be proven that negligence on your part led to theft or other criminal activity, you could be held accountable. As you inspect your properties, carefully inspect all doors and windows, making sure they seal and lock properly.
Optimizing Property Maintenance
Maintenance of rental properties can be categorized one of two ways: emergency and non-emergency. An example of a maintenance emergency may be a burst pipe or non-working furnace. For these situations, it’s imperative that you act immediately to mitigate damages. Non-emergency situations apply to smaller repairs or preventative maintenance activities, such as a running toilet or A/C inspection. These can be scheduled in advance, but should also be treated with prompt attention.
The most effective way to manage property maintenance tasks – both routine and emergency – is to leverage property management software. Look for a robust tool that offers the ability to track and prioritize requests and schedule contractors/vendors. This will ensure that all requests and scheduled tasks are handled in a timely manner and nothing slips through the cracks.
Keeping your rental properties well-maintained is a cornerstone of success in our industry. Regular maintenance improve tenant retention and minimizes repair costs, enabling you to maximize revenue. To see a live demo of how property maintenance software can make this entire process a breeze, click here.