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What Every Landlord Needs To Know About Maintenance

top view of the roof under construction with roofers and maintenance repairing it

As a landlord trying to get your rental property to a place where it is profitable month after month, one of your biggest challenges will be maintenance. Keeping the physical structures and systems of your building in good shape will easily be the thing that costs you the most time and money.

Yet at the same time, maintenance probably offers you your most significant chance to save money on your rental’s operations. Lior Abramovich of Backed Homes advises that maintaining your property can be a huge factor in the type of renters you attract. Quality of maintenance will also have an impact on how long tenants remain in your property.

Every landlord has their preferred method for maintaining their rental property. What determines the failure or effectiveness of their approach is whether they view maintenance as a burden and, therefore, something to be avoided or they see maintenance as a tool for preserving the value of their property.

Sadly, most landlords view rental property maintenance as a problem and do everything to avoid or delay it. Such landlords pay more for maintenance because they give up a chance to find problems early and solve them before they escalate into significant damage with huge costs.

There are only two strategies landlords can adopt to maintain the physical features of their rental. One strategy initially saves money but eventually spends more than it saved. The other spends money at the beginning to keep more than it spent. What are these two property maintenance strategies?

  • Corrective maintenance
  • Preventive maintenance

maintenance staff paying attention to man holding clipboard

Corrective maintenance is how most landlords maintain their rental property. This kind of maintenance does not follow a routine; problems are dealt with as they appear. Maintenance is usually done after a failure or breakdown has occurred. Corrective maintenance is reactive, and it can be very costly.

Preventive maintenance is a proactive method based on the understanding that natural wear and tear will happen to the materials and contents of a building. As a result, it goes out of its way to discover depreciation and deal with it before it causes failure or breakdown. It is proactive and cost-effective.

This post explains how you can use a preventive maintenance program to keep the physical features of your rental in top condition while saving money in the long run. By using the methods explained below, you will not only attract higher-quality tenants, but you will also improve the market value of your property.

The most effective way to maintain a rental property

1. Create a comprehensive maintenance checklist

Only a tiny portion of the maintenance issues in a rental come from unpredictable events; most problems are caused by overdue maintenance. But landlords often have so much demand on their time they don’t have the energy to think of maintenance issues. The key to solving this problem is to create a checklist of all the potential maintenance issues in the rental. Your maintenance checklist is the foundation of your preventive maintenance program. The level of detail in the checklist determines the thoroughness with which your property will be inspected.

An electrician is replacing a wall switch. A DIY project concept. High voltage danger. The professional wearing shockproof gloves is tightening wire nuts

2. Routine inspection and regular maintenance

Every landlord inspects their rental property once in a while. But those inspections often must be done more systematically or according to a standard. Standardized inspection procedures provide step-by-step processes for checking items. They ensure that all essential details are noticed. In addition to being standardized, inspections should be done on a routine (maybe, at the start of each season) and based on a checklist. These inspections can be done by the landlord or a professional (professional examinations should be done at least once a year). All issues flagged during the inspection need to be followed up on immediately.

3. Procedures and protocols for reporting and for handling emergencies

Regardless of how detailed your maintenance checklist is and how thorough inspections are, problems that require urgent attention will still happen. When they do, the systems you have set up to let tenants report issues and the speed of your response are the two things that will make the difference. Do you have clear guidelines/systems for tenants requesting repairs or reporting emergencies? Are those systems easy for tenants to use? How quickly do you respond to tenants’ requests? Do you have a service agreement with a handyman to ensure they respond to your calls immediately?

4. Involve and educate your tenants

plumber showing the tenant the issue under the sink

Tenants are often the most significant factor in maintaining a rental. The tenants live in the home and are always in direct contact with its features. Tenants must not only be able to report maintenance problems promptly and correctly, but they should also participate in maintenance. Your tenancy agreement should include clauses specifying tenants’ responsibility for maintenance. As tenants move into your rental property, educate them on the maintenance tasks they must perform weekly, monthly, or quarterly. Make sure they know the consequences of not meeting those responsibilities.

Finally, if you have questions or need help setting up a preventive maintenance program for your rental, as described above, we will be most happy to help.

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