“An ounce of prevention is worth more than a pound of cure.” It is a saying passed down through several generations, but the meaning has special relevance for property managers.
Stopping a problem from happening is easier than fixing up the mess it creates.
For property managers, this means staying up to date on every maintenance task. The team at Utopia, a property management firm with 30 locations, shared this useful reference to keep up with maintenance on a useful timeline.
When daylight savings time is about to end or begin, local television meteorologists remind us to fall back or spring forward one hour. They also remind us to check the batteries that power our smoke and carbon monoxide detectors. Although this is a yearly checklist, put a fresh set of batteries in both warning systems every six months.
It is a small price to pay for saving lives.
Every late autumn, public nuisances such as squirrels and raccoons start looking for a place to ride out winter. Attics, basement, and garages are popular cold-weather destinations for rodents.
First, check on the hot spots for rodent migration and then take steps to discourage entrance into your home. Simply placing a cinder block in an opening near the roofline is a good start for getting rid of rodents.
Saving money on costly energy bills should be one of your business priorities when you manage a rental property. Changing air filters and removing dust and debris from coils go a long way towards improving the efficiency of your HVAC system. For air filters, consider making the changes at least yearly, but preferably every six months.
Before you ring in the new year with a toast, spend a day examining the condition of every appliance on the rental property. Clean the hoses that move air from the dryer and washing machine, as well as inspect the coils for every refrigerator operating in every unit.
Most tenants either do not know when an appliance needs maintenance or they simply do not care. The annual examination can let you know if you need to replace any of the appliances.
When is the best time to inspect the roof? For property managers living in cold weather climates, check the condition of the roof after the snow melts. If you run property in a warmer climate, make sure to conduct your inspection before spring storms hit. Checks the condition of fasteners, as well as damage done to any shingles over the course of the past 12 months.
Another roof-related maintenance task involves cleaning the gutters after the leaves on your property have fallen. Ice jams not only damage roof materials; they also can clog up the gutter, which eventually leads to moisture leakage inside one or more units.
Just a small crack in a window can become the “Welcome” mat for water. Ensure every window on your rental property is in good condition. Window cracks also increase energy bills by letting in cold air in winter and hot air during summer.
You should also analyze the condition of the caulk and weather stripping that produces a tight seal around every window. Condensation on double glass windows can mean one or more weather strips have deteriorated.
A healthy lawn can prevent the foundation of a building and the pipes that run beneath the ground from degrading. You should trim bushes and shrubs to discourage rodents from making them a temporary home before they make a run for it inside of a unit or building.
Creating a healthy lawn is also a good idea for improving the curb appeal of your rental property. If first impressions matter, then the first impression most of your prospective tenants get comes from looking over the front lawn. Clear the property of any fallen tree limbs, as well as debris that has blown in from the street.
Water stains can be a sign that an exterior wall has diminished in quality. This is especially true beneath eaves and near gutter spouts. Water damage to exterior walls can be difficult to notice at first glance, which means you have to get your hands dirty to determine the condition of every exterior wall. You should also check the condition of the foundation at the same time you complete maintenance tasks for the exterior walls.
The benefits of committing to regular maintenance of your rental property are endless. Planning ahead to routinely maintaining and improving the property will pay off in the long run as you are less likely to pay more to solve problems in the future.
Neglect of a property will often negatively affect your renters’ experiences, and can ultimately require much more attention and care when the time does come to sell, lease, or occupy. This will also show your tenants that you are an effective, proactive landlord or property manager, which is especially valuable as many of your competitors may fail to live up to their responsibilities.