There are many benefits to keeping your rental property well maintained. It not only preserves a home’s value but also makes it more attractive and helps keep tenant turnover rates low.
Rental property maintenance can, however, become tricky. It can be especially if you lack sufficient time or own multiple rental units. In such cases, little problems can go unnoticed until they become costly and serious.
When such issues impact the rental’s habitability standards, you may have more to worry about than simply fixing the issue. Depending on the state you’re in, the tenant may have a right to:
- Move out without further obligations under the lease agreement
- Make the repairs themselves and then deduct the costs from the rent
- Report you to local authorities
Of course, none of these options are ideal!
With that in mind, the following are 8 maintenance tips for your rental property:
Tip #1: Carry out regular exterminations
As a landlord, it’s imperative to carry out regular exterminations. Ideally, you want to do these monthly or every other month. Even without any telltale signs of current rodent infestation or insect infestation, you’ll want to prevent such issues from happening in the first place.
Naturally, critters will travel from one place to another. As such, if you’re managing an apartment, then you’ll want to exterminate the whole property.
However, should you do it yourself or hire a professional? Well, while it’s possible to do it yourself, it’d usually be best if left to an expert. A professional will have the experience, skills, and resources to ensure the work is done well.
Sure, regular extermination will cost you money. However, it should turn out to be much cheaper than losing out a good tenant. Suppose you charge $1000 in rent, and monthly extermination costs $25 per unit. Now, which one would be better – spending $25 in monthly extermination or losing out $1000 in rent?
Just make sure to hire the right person for the job by carrying out an interview.
Tip #2: Clean the gutters
Out of sight out of mind, right? It’s easy to forget about maintaining your gutters due to their location.
Now, regular gutter maintenance is key. You see, leaves and debris easily clog up gutters. When this happens, this can lead to leaks at your property. Also, the water that is trapped can find its way through the property via the roof.
Luckily, gutter maintenance is as easy as a walk in the park. With an hour or so to spare, it’s a simple DIY task that anyone can do. The only things you’ll need are a bucket, ladder, and gutter scoop.
Tip #3: Flush your water heater
Another maintenance tip for your rental properties is regularly draining your water heaters. That’s because, over time, sediment builds up in the unit from the municipal water supply.
When there is too much sediment build-up, your water heater’s efficiency can reduce. It can also clog up the drain valve.
Moreover, replacing a water heater is costly. According to HomeAdvisor.com, a tankless one can cost you anywhere between $1000 and $3000.
If you’re comfortable flushing the water heater yourself, then make sure to follow the specific procedures. However, if you aren’t, then consider hiring someone else to do it for you.
Tip #4: Change the water filters in your HVAC system
Preferably, you should do this at least twice every year. Dirty filters can drive up utility costs, cause the system to work extra hard, or malfunction.
To determine the optimum efficiency, consult your HVAC manufacturer.
Regularly changing the filter will prevent contamination of the air duct. When that happens, you will usually need an assessment from a professional. Of course, this is an expense that you’ll want to avoid.
Regardless of who foots the utility bill, paying proper attention to your HVAC system is key. Among other things, it’ll help keep utility bills reasonable, and lower your tenant turnover.
Tip #5: Test the smoke and carbon detectors regularly
You’ll also want to check your smoke and carbon detectors regularly to ensure they are working perfectly. You should test both hard-wired and battery-operated devices. You can schedule the testing when it’s most convenient for you. For example, when collecting rent or when performing a random inspection.
Tip #6: Replace the caulking or grout to prevent potential water damage
Over time, the caulk surrounding the tub can crack and weaken. Once this happens, water can leak through and damage the floor below or surrounding walls.
So, if you notice any holes or cracks, replace the grout or caulk immediately. Caulk and grout between tiles act as a waterproof seal and prevents water from seeping through the tiles.
Tip #7: Respond to tenant maintenance requests promptly
Responding to tenant maintenance requests promptly is also another way of ensuring your property is well taken care of. Evaluate the urgency, and give the tenant an estimated time for the scheduled repair.
Even if their request isn’t a high priority, then, at the very least, make sure the tenant knows that their request has been noted. This will go a long way in keeping the tenant happy. And as you probably know, a happy tenant means a happy you!
You’ll also want to notify the tenant well in advance before accessing their unit for repair. In most states, including California, landlords are required to provide a notice of at least 24 hours.
Tip #8: Hire a qualified property management company
Property maintenance requires experience, time, and resources. Do you have all of these? If not, hiring an experienced property management company may be in your best interest.
Besides property maintenance, a good property management company can also help you in all other aspects of property management. From finding tenants to collecting rent to financial reporting, you can achieve peace of mind.