Part of preserving value is focusing on maintenance. You visit the dentist periodically to have your teeth examined. You schedule a car tune up with a mechanic for a regular checkup. The same applies to your rental properties.
You want to perform preventive maintenance before experiencing any heavy property damages. Otherwise, breakdowns will ultimately lead to massive expenses.
The Need for Regular Maintenance
The more you conduct regular inspections, the more savings you gain. You catch problem areas quickly before it snowballs and create long-term damage. By paying attention to small things, a landlord sidesteps the negative consequences, such as a tenant filing a complaint.
State laws mandate landlords to provide a safe and habitable space for their tenants. If you fulfill this, tenants will also experience uninterrupted, quiet enjoyment. A landlord who consistently pleases tenants by providing thorough property maintenance stands a good chance of keeping them. When you retain your tenants for a long time, your returns are stable, and you also get to avoid vacancies.
Maintenance Tips to Employ in Your Rental Property
1. Scout for leaks and signs of water damage
Statistically, home insurance claims for water damage averaged around $10,000. That data alone will lead you to conclude how prevalent and expensive water-caused damages are in properties. How to counteract this? Be a proactive landlord.
Adopt one of the best property management practices. Constantly peek into the usual suspect areas. These are places where water tends to gather.
Be vigilant when checking walls, roofs, ceilings, toilets and showers. When doing this, you'll also be able to detect mold. That's hitting two birds with one stone.
2. Schedule regular extermination
Pest infestation can sometimes occur unseen. When a tenant reports bed bugs or termite problems, you'll know that the issue didn't materialize overnight. Contact an exterminator right away and arrange for monthly extermination sessions.
Some landlords can balk at the additional cost. However, set your vision long-term. If you lose a tenant now, it will mean a vacancy that leads to marketing and maintenance expenses. By spending to keep your rental unit pest-free, you're essentially ensuring that renters will be sticking around longer.
3. Keep your gutters debris-free
Clogged gutters are another common occurrence, especially when you have trees around your property. During autumn season, gutters can be piled with leaves, creating an obstruction. When water flow is blocked, it redirects itself towards another portion of the house and creates water damage.
Landlords can perform periodic inspections of their gutters. They can also install gutter guards. This limits trapped debris so water can flow smoothly. Another helpful tip is to add downspouts and regularly clean them, too.
4. Mind the filters in your air systems
Ideally, a landlord should change the filters every 6 months. By doing this, you're maximizing the efficiency of your heater and air conditioner. Since they're clean, they can function at their optimum level. You'll also avoid racking repair bills in the future since the machines are in top shape.
Another great by-product of this little maintenance habit is it keeps utility bills down. Lower utility costs means happy tenants. Additionally, as you may know, happy tenants tend to be long-term ones.
5. Observe your landscaping
Trees can become dangerous after a storm. Watch news reports after an inclement weather and you'll hear about the damages executed by trees. They can damage power lines, injure people and destroy roofs. With this information, you can become more vigilant with your own trees.
When the weather is nice, contact a landscaper to check for any weak spots in your trees. You can cut off dead branches and lessen the possibility of future damage. If a tree grows too high, you can also have it cut to a safer height. It's best to limit its length to avoid disturbing power lines.
6. Apply water sealants
A small but helpful tip to control your utility bills is to seal the doors and windows of your property. This practice reduces air from escaping, especially during winter when you need to trap the heat inside your home.
Small leaks can also be quickly resolved through the use of water sealants. Doors and windows are often exposed to outside elements. By applying waterproof sealants on them, you're safeguarding these gateways for water moisture.
7. Pay attention to HVAC
Big-ticket items such as heating, ventilation and air conditioning systems are essential to keep a rental property running. Knowing this, it's a great maintenance practice to inspect them annually or bi-annually.
Minor damages can be repaired right away. Worn out parts can be replaced. By being alert, you get to preserve your HVAC units. They can serve you for a long time, eliminating energy and financial waste.
8. Inspect shower caulking and grout
As part of your water damage prevention program, it's a good maintenance practice to check for loose caulk. Signs of wear and tear can appear when the grout becomes apparent. This is possible when your unit has been occupied for a good number of years.
When water leaks, it results in flooding, mold and soft spots. Avoid this scenario by replacing the caulk and grout right away. Any cracks must be repaired to prevent water leaks from graduating into a stressful situation.
9. Exercise precaution by testing smoke alarms
Sometimes, landlords overlook testing carbon monoxide detectors. They get so caught up with the most visible maintenance tasks. However, testing smoke alarms prioritizes safety and prevents fire damage. So, conduct monthly or quarterly tests to ensure your carbon monoxide detector is functioning at its best.
If you're one of those landlords focused on saving by not installing carbon monoxide detectors, consider investing in them. The payoffs are huge in terms of safety, not only for fire situations, but also against lawsuit action. Remember that landlords are responsible for fire safety in their properties.
Avoid the "if it isn't broken, don't fix it" mentality. By preparing ahead, you set yourself up to reap the benefits of a well-maintained rental property.