The best-case scenario as a landlord is to systematically work through every property at least once a year and go through a checklist to make sure everything has been looked into.
The following list outlines major items to work through and check off so you can ensure your property is in good shape, or to fix so you can address problems before they start to deteriorate.
Make sure there are no pest issues that are building up and threatening to grow. Living with pests is uncomfortable for any tenant, so you’ll want to ensure this step is completed on an annual basis.
As you do a walk-through of the entire property, remember that the goal is to find any small issue that could become a big one. Water is probably the most common problem that can start very small and end up doing a ton of damage.
During your walk-through, start by looking at all water sources and make sure there are no leaks or places where water is not contained. Your faucets and toilets should be working properly with no water drips or leaks, and ceilings and walls should be clear of any signs of water damage — rainwater can find its way in and create a lot of headaches.
On a similar note, when you are in the bathroom, take a look at the caulk and grout. Are they showing signs of wear and age?
If so, it’s a pretty simple touch up to add caulk and make sure everything looks great and fresh. This can be a nice cosmetic touch, but also keeps water contained and helps make sure a leak or drip isn’t going to become a big issue.
Clogged drains can also become a larger issue. A simple fix is be to add hair catchers to showers and baths to prevent clogging.
Make sure the shingles are in order and there is no serious damage. A damaged roof is a common source of a leak that ends up leading to major repairs.
Keeping gutters clean helps the water flow away from the property so everything is dry and in good shape, and can also help decrease possible fire hazards.
These small touch-ups will make the property look great and keep any cracks or damage under control before they expand.
As big expenses go, your HVAC system can provide some of the bigger expenses for maintenance. One very simple and regular practice is to change the air filters in your air conditioner and furnace at least twice a year, but preferably every three months.
When filters are clogged and dirty, your systems have to work harder and are at risk for failure or major damage. Keeping fresh filters provides a nice break for the units and is a simple update.
Your water heater is another big, expensive piece that is used every day. Water heaters tend to collect sediment and the water can get dirty over time.
A good practice is to flush the water heater twice a year to keep the water clean and everything running smoothly.
This is a best practice to remember any time you are in a property. Do a quick check and make sure they are working properly for your (and your tenant’s) peace of mind.
Unfortunately, sometimes tenants do things they shouldn’t in your property. Your maintenance walk–through is also an opportunity to make sure nothing is happening that violates your lease agreement or could cause damage to the property.
Examples could be additional people living at the property, having a pet that wasn’t allowed on the lease, or anything that indicates smoking inside the property.
It’s advised to schedule preventative property maintenance before, during, and after a tenant lived in the property. This helps you get valuable feedback from the tenant about the property, such as odd sounds or cracks they’ve noticed. You also get a chance to observe how they are using the property in case of any issues.
Just make sure that you schedule all maintenance visits well in advance and set proper expectations so there are no surprises for the tenant. Also communicate every repair you’ve made to the tenant so they’re aware of what’s happening. The easiest way to manage all maintenance requests and communication is through an online maintenance tracking tool that you and your tenants can access and update.