Here are 5 rental maintenance tasks for you rental properties that can save you money and prevent long-term problems and more costly repairs.
By Holly Welles
As a landlord or property manager, you already have a lot on your plate. Dealing with tenants’ issues when they arise takes up a lot of time. The thought of adding more to your to-do list could certainly be daunting.
However, you should consider making rental maintenance a priority if you want to relieve yourself of some of your unpredictable house-related duties, as well as the financial strain that such incidences can cause. Here are 5 rental maintenance tasks to steer your property clear of long-term issues that will waste your time and money.
No. 1 – Rental Maintenance Task: Pest control
No tenant wants to live in a home that has become infested by cockroaches, ants, rodents or any other pest. It may sound overzealous, but you should have an exterminator come to your rental property monthly or quarterly to keep such intruders at bay. This rule applies regardless of whether there’s already a pest problem. Preventive maintenance is likely to prevent an infestation in the future.
To that end, you should make sure your pest-control plan is thorough enough to cover all the properties in your portfolio. For instance, if you own more than one unit, then you should have every property inspected and treated on a regular basis. All the effort to do this will be worth it, too — monthly maintenance checks will be less expensive than having your apartment sit empty because no one wants to live in a pest-infested space.
No. 2 – Clean the gutters
Another must-do rental maintenance task for property owners has to do with the building’s exterior. Over time, leaves and other debris can pile up in the rain gutters. These build-ups and blockages can cause rainwater to overflow and leak into the home through the roof.
Your property-maintenance checklist needs to include gutter cleanings. In most cases this is a once-a-year job, but houses that sit beneath trees with lots of debris might need more frequent emptying. To that end, you can easily get rid of gutter clutter yourself. Don a pair of gloves and manually remove any debris that’s clogging the drain. Once you’re finished, flush the gutters to make sure they’re in working order.
Of course, you don’t have to do this job yourself if you don’t have the time or energy. Plenty of companies offer this service at an affordable price. Whichever option you choose, though, make sure the gutters are cleaned at a regular clip.
No. 3 – Service the air-conditioner
On a scorching hot day, there’s nothing better than cranking up the air-conditioning. However, if something goes wrong, this important appliance could stop working. Replacing it will cost a pretty penny, too.
That’s why air-conditioning maintenance should be on your list of rental property must-dos. A regular tune-up will uncover any condensation, which can potentially cause the unit to flood and risk filling your property with water.
Dirt and debris can weaken the system and its output, and without regular cleanings and checks, an air-conditioning unit might lose some of its energy efficiency. This might cause you to spend more on utilities for your rental. Make sure you hire someone to come out for a checkup each year just before it’s time to turn the A/C on.
No. 4 Check the plumbing
Your rental property’s plumbing may not have visible problems, but clogging and leaking can have long-term, expensive consequences. A simple dripping faucet can rack up your bills over time. Meanwhile, a serious pipe blockage may require a larger-scale repair job than you’d like.
Between tenants, a thorough plumbing check and cleaning will do wonders for longevity. But many plumbing issues pop up and worsen while a unit is occupied. Keep an open line of communication with your tenant and let them know that you’re happy to fix any minor plumbing problems they come across. Otherwise, tenants may decide not to bother you with leaks or drips they perceive as hiccups.
You can also consider adding specific lease clauses to address simple maintenance tasks your tenants should carry out. For example, request that tenants flush the kitchen drain with hot water and detergent each month and clean hair from the shower drain. Putting these tasks in writing helps you and your tenant maintain a livable space.
No. 5 – Monitor the furnace
Heating is crucial, especially for properties in cool climates. The last thing you want to deal with in the winter is a sudden, expensive breakdown. Not only will your tenants be miserable, but you’ll have to manage the costs and scheduling for an emergency repair.
While it’s pricier than ignoring the problem, getting your furnace serviced or your oil tank lines cleaned each year can prevent such emergencies from taking place. Plus, these checkups will extend the life of your furnace by years, letting you put off a costly replacement for much longer.
5 rental maintenance tasks for long-term success
Landlords and property managers have lots to do already, but routine maintenance should go on the list, too. These five tasks will keep your place in great shape for longer.
In turn, this will save you money and time, since you won’t have to worry about repairs and replacements as often — and you can thank regular maintenance for that.