Rental property maintenance checklist part two, security, pest control and exteriors, is the second in a three-part series provided by Landlord Gurus.
Keeping your rental property in top condition ultimately saves on maintenance costs, and helps attract and retain good tenants. This article is the second in our three-part series on routine maintenance, which focuses primarily on security, pest control, and exterior issues.
Here are some of the ways you can improve the safety of your renters as well as your rental property.
- Doors – Ensure all doors close securely, and have functional locking hardware such as deadbolts. We do not recommend hollow-core exterior doors, and suggest making sure long screws secure the deadbolt plate on the door frame.
- Re-keying – Change keying at every turnover to protect your renters and avoid the possible liability that could arise if a previous tenant re-enters a unit. We use keypad entry deadbolts almost exclusively at this point, as they can be re-programmed easily.
- Windows – Ensure all windows latch securely. Use adjustable stops or wood dowels to limit how far sliding windows and patio doors can open in case they’re left unlocked.
- Lights, alarms, and cameras – Consider using cameras, lights, and alarms to increase the security of your property.
It’s best to hire a professional for pest control. However, if you decide to handle everything on your own, we recommend the following measures:
- Remove entry points – Cover or seal openings with materials that can’t be chewed. You can stuff a wire screen into smaller openings and fill the space with building spray foam.
- Exterior bait – Place poison outside the building in child and animal-safe containers. You may use bait boxes for rodents or bait traps (such as gel products) for ants and insects.
- Interior bait – For ants and insects there are solutions such as traps and sprays that are applied along baseboards. However, we don’t recommend this for rodents as you can end up with stinky dead critters in your building.
- Bed bugs and fleas –Very high temperatures can kill pests and there are specialized heaters that can be used to treat belongings, furniture, and even rooms. Often, however, we have found that hiring a professional is necessary. Tidbit: dogs are often used to locate bed bugs!
Here are some leak prevention and routine rental maintenance checklist measures to keep up the exterior of your rental buildings:
- Roof –Keep an eye on moss growth, loose flashing, and broken shingles. Hire a professional to deal with roof maintenance, as they can spot separating seams and other signs of wear or failure.
- Gutters – Clean gutters and downspouts every fall to avoid backups that can cause flooding.
- Chimney – Monitor the condition of any chimney to avoid leaking. For old masonry chimneys, replace mortar before bricks come loose and fall.
- Window and door sealant –Inspect caulking joints yearly and renew those that are cracked or separated from the surfaces they’re sealing.
- Paint – Replace paint before it starts bubbling and flaking, as this will keep exterior surfaces from degrading in the weather.
We hope this checklist will help you create an effective rental maintenance plan. Check out our third part upcoming next month to learn about how to tackle electrical, fire safety, & HVAC-related issues.
About the author:
Eli Secor started LandlordGurus.com with long-time friend and fellow landlord Chris Lee. After many a discussion about how to manage various tricky rental property issues, they decided to share their experiences and expertise with other independent landlords. Along the way they are finding new answers and new tools, which they also share.