A rental property, be it a stand-alone home or an apartment complex, represents a significant investment on the part of its ownership, and such an investment should always be handled with an eye for protecting it from harm or depreciation in value. Adopting an effective vetting process for potential tenants is one way to do that, but the other is to adopt a regular schedule of maintenance to ensure your property remains in good condition and to avoid potential costly repairs in the future.
One way a landlord or property owner can accumulate costly issues with their rental property is if they simply wait around for something to go wrong – hopefully for a number of years – and only then worry about repairs. But in the rental market, it pays to be proactive and not simply reactive, and to that end establishing a regular schedule of maintenance is paramount in order to avoid large costs and inconvenience. As a property owner, you should create a list of maintenance tasks and a budget that you can afford in order to carry out those tasks.
One aspect of maintaining rental units is that you should always check on them with some regularity such as the determination of any water leaks or damage, which if allowed to continue unchecked can lead to huge damages – including mold, which is considered a health danger – one which can be very costly to repair. The best time to do so is after a rainfall or during a period where previously-fallen snow is beginning to melt; check walls, ceilings, and roofs for any conspicuous issues, as well as water heaters and pipes.
You should also regularly check and test any carbon monoxide and smoke detectors in the dwellings you rent to make sure that they are in proper working order; not only do they safeguard the lives of your tenants, but if they are not in working order you could be opening yourself up to being sued and/or fined.
If you are renting a house, cleaning the gutters on an annual basis will ensure they remain clog-free and functional, in addition to going a long way towards avoiding issues that can cause leaks. Also, checking and replacing filters in air systems can help keep bills low and avoid problems down the road. Annually, it’s also a good idea to flush any water heaters in order to avoid the buildup of any sediment at its bottom; this will enable the heater to function to the best of its ability and allow it to last longer.
As a clogged sink can cause a multitude of issues of left to get worse over time, annual sink cleanings are also an effective manner of preventative maintenance. A simple mixture of baking soda, vinegar and hot water can assist in dispelling any worries about buildups in your sink that can cause problems later down the line.
Of course, maintenance can only be effective if you have the budget and means to carry it out; to that end, establishing a set amount of monies that go towards keeping your properties in order while not eating away into your profits can go a long way. It is recommended to calculate the average cost of maintenance for your properties, one-by-one, and incorporate that cost into your annual budget.
Also, bear in mind that your tenants also have responsibilities when it comes to the upkeep of the property they are renting as well, including an obligation to keep it clean and devoid of damage of their own doing. If there is an issue, they should be obligated to report it to management for repairs in a timely manner or run the risk of incurring the cost of repairs themselves.
With some simple planning and preventative work, maintenance of your rental properties can go from being a chore to a sound protection of your investment.