Once you rent out a room on your property, your job doesn’t end there. In fact, a lot of the success of your rental business depends on the maintenance and upkeep of your property. After all, when potential tenants take a look at your property, it’s going to tell them everything they need to know about how well it’s looked after. Would you want to stay in a filthy and worn-out rental? We all know the answer to that! But many times, landlords tend to neglect their properties for years together, and when a situation arises, they lose it while struggling to deal with it! So, what should you do? Be preemptive so that you can foresee issues with the property and handle them before you advertise your rental online. Property maintenance and inspections help you do that. If you’re feeling lost, don’t worry, we have a list of 10 top tips that will ensure that your property’s as good as new all-year-round!
1. Know legal guidelines well
The maintenance and upkeep guidelines of a rental property differ from area to area. As a landlord, it’s essential for you to read up on the laws and regulations relating to your structure. You need to get a hold of a real estate lawyer if you don’t have much information or idea on the rules that impact your property.
2. Exterminate at regular intervals
Rental properties need to be exterminated monthly, regardless of whether they have an insect or rodent problem. After all, such issues can arise at any point, and if they’re not handled in time, you’ll have much higher maintenance costs to deal with later.
Ensure that the extermination isn’t restricted to one section of the property but across its entire length because pests don’t confine themselves to one place or corner. Although you may be able to do it yourself, professionally done services produce the best results.
You might have to spend a lot of money on the entire process, but it’ll be worth your while because a pest-free property will force your tenants to stay longer!
3. Conduct periodic inspections
The only way you’ll come to know about a critical issue on your property is by conducting periodic inspections, both external and internal.
Conduct seasonal or quarterly external and ground inspections to determine any serious problems that may have cropped up and need immediate attention. Likewise, conduct internal checks to examine the inside of your property maybe once or twice a year. It’s best to do it when a tenant moves in or moves out, not to mention while the tenant still lives on your property. Give them 24 hours and walk into the property to see if everything’s in place.
Remember that you can evade crucial maintenance and upkeep issues with regular inspections. Keep a competent handyman in your circle of acquaintances just in case you need their services on short notice.
4. Communicate with renters
Once your tenant moves in, stay in touch with them. You don’t have to be best buddies, but you can always call or occasionally text to ask them how they’re doing and whether the rental’s giving them any problems.
In fact, the more you reach out to them to show your care and concern, the more comfortable they’ll feel about sharing issues with you about the rental. Since you have a tenant screening process in place, why not have one for maintenance requests? The process could involve filling out a simple form or sending a templated email or even a text message that follows a format.
Today, there are tons of stuff you can find online, so look for tenant-management software solutions that contain landlord-tenant messaging systems as one of their key features.
5. Inspect leaks and water damage
Leaks and water damage are significant issues in the maintenance of a property.
The ideal time to look for leaks and water damage is right after a heavy rainfall because it causes ice and snow to melt. Look for them in summer too, because the heat and humidity cause the water pipes to leak. Look for soft spots on walls, ceilings, and roofs. Also, look for water droplets around windows and toilets. Finally, check for leaks and damage under sinks, water heaters, and boilers.
Unless leaks or damage is detected on time, the walls, ceilings, and the tenant’s personal items could be damaged beyond repair. It could also lead to mold formation, which might cost you a fortune to remove.
6. Inspect carbon dioxide and smoke detectors
Inspect and test these devices periodically because if they don’t work properly, they can cause fatalities. In case a fire breaks out or there’s a carbon monoxide leak, and one or both of these devices don’t perform at their optimum levels, you may be in trouble, legally.
Among the many things you do, you may forget to look into this potential problem. So, add a reminder to your calendar, monthly or as you see fit, for inspections.
Be sure to replace both these devices when they’ve outgrown their life span. A smoke detector has a longer life span of 10 years, while a carbon monoxide detector will last for about five years.
7. Remember to clean gutters
If you avoid inspecting the gutters and cleaning them, you’ll end up choking them because of all the leaves and the waste. The trapped water will start seeping into the property through the roof, the foundation, and even through the sides of the windows.
If you don’t wish to clean the gutters, you can buy gutter guards. They’re placed right above the gutter, and their small holes allow the water to flow through while ensuring that larger quantities of waste don’t clog the gutter.
8. Get your water heater flushed
Your water heater needs to be flushed at least once, if not twice a year so that it remains functional. Because of the municipal water supply that enters your property, residue will continue to deposit in your water heater. If it’s allowed to accumulate, the appliance may stop working altogether, and buying a new one might cost you an arm and a leg!
So, follow all the rules for flushing out the water heater and get professional help if you’re not interested in doing it yourself.
9. Remove and add filters in forced air systems
Take out the filters from your heating and air conditioning systems at least twice annually to ensure that they’re in perfect working condition. Replace them with a high-efficiency air filter that goes with your air system and seek your manufacturer’s help in finding you one. If the filters remain filthy, they’ll need to put in more effort to run properly, causing electric bills to shoot through the roof!
Also, if you replace the air filters from time to time, the air duct doesn’t get clogged. If it does, it needs to be cleaned, and you have to fork over a lot of money to pay for it.
While you may not be paying the utility bills, your tenants will soon find cheaper places to live in if they keep increasing due to faulty air systems.
10. Have a reserve fund
Having a property means problems crop up without notice. You know that it’s better to be safe than sorry, so let’s follow the same policy here!
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If you’re running low on cash, you may be forced to spend all of the monthly rental income, but that’s a great deal of money you could’ve saved for emergencies like these. So, rather than picnicking about where the money’s going to come from, open a reserve fund where you deposit money only for maintenance and upkeep work.
How do you decide how much money to put aside? Use the 1 percent rule i.e., calculate 1 percent of your property value and set it aside for repair work. The amount will also differ every year based on the changes in your property value.
Since each property is different, it’s likely the list of maintenance issues will vary. However, the points shared here comprise the most critical issues that plague every rental property. Therefore, be sure to carry out regular inspections and tackle the issues head-on before it’s too late. We wish you the best of luck!