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"Rental Property Maintenance Overview & Checklist"


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It'll behoove you to keep up with your multi-family rental property maintenance activities because:

  • Keeping well-maintained units aids in the amount of rent you can charge, thus optimizing your income from property.
  • Keeping well-maintained units aids in tenant retention, thus minimizing your long-term vacancy rate.
  • Keeping a well-maintained property will serve to maximize your sell price.


WHAT RENTAL PROPERTY MAINTENANCE ENTAILS


Of course, the minimum expectation when owning rental properties is to provide safe and habitable housing for your tenants, following all the applicable codes & requirements. Most landlords do only this minimum.

But, you are different. You realize that a good maintenance plan puts more money in your pocket over the long term investment horizon of your strategy. By focusing on property maintenance, you will have a distinct advantage over the vast majority of your competitors, making it easier for you to rent out your units as well as sell when you're ready to do so.

In general, a good rental property maintenance philosophy entails:

  • A checklist of regular tasks similar to that which is below
  • Random, periodic drive-bys & perimeter inspections
  • Quick response to all tenant maintenance or repair requests
  • An avoidance of shoddy workmanship or band-aid approaches
  • A good communication policy with tenants that encourages them to look out for your property and immediately let you know about any problems


CHECKLIST


I find it helpful to group rental property maintenance tasks into seasonal to-dos. For the most part, the seasonal tasks below are interchangeable, so please go with whatever schedule serves you best. Expect to spend about 1 day a month to execute your maintenance plan.


Spring:

  • Clean gutters
  • Check / replace furnace filters
  • Metal roof silver coat (if applicable)
  • Maintain grounds (mow, pull weeds, trim bushes, etc.)
  • Trim trees as needed
  • Check common area lighting and replace bulbs as necessary
  • Inspect all common-use items (backyard lights, coin operated washer & dryer, etc.)
  • Conduct monthly drive-by and/or perimeter inspection


Summer:

  • Maintain grounds (mow, pull weeds, trim bushes, etc.)
  • Monitor for insect or rodent problems
  • Check / replace batteries in smoke detectors and CO2 detectors
  • Clean dryer vent
  • Check common area lighting and replace bulbs as necessary
  • Inspect all common-use items (backyard lights, coin operated washer & dryer, etc.)
  • Conduct monthly drive-by and/or perimeter inspection

Fall:

  • Rake leaves
  • Clean grounds to prepare for winter
  • Service HVAC units
  • Check common area lighting and replace bulbs as necessary
  • Inspect all common-use items (backyard lights, coin operated washer & dryer, etc.)
  • Conduct monthly drive-by and/or perimeter inspection

Winter:

  • Remove snow & ice on driveways and walkways as needed
  • Clean basement
  • Check common area lighting and replace bulbs as necessary
  • Inspect all common-use items (backyard lights, coin operated washer & dryer, etc.)
  • Conduct monthly drive-by and/or perimeter inspection


FINAL THOUGHTS


Owning rental properties is not "point and click" investing, and requires that you expend some effort to protect your assets. Whether you use my checklist or not, once you have finalized your rental property maintenance plan, stick with it. You may not need to accomplish every task every time, but as long as you do some things on a regular basis, your properties will always be better maintained than most.




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3 Responses to Rental Property Maintenance Overview & Checklist

  1. David M says:

    This is fantastic! I’ve been looking for something akin to a “rental property maintenance” plan and this is it! Thank you so much!

  2. yessir says:

    Anyone have an idea the degree to which some of these tasks can / should be farmed out to the tenant? I’m all for doing property maintenance, but my problem is finding the time to get it done. Thanks.

  3. joseph johansson says:

    To address “yessir’s” question (great pen name BTW!), I think if you can put the tasks into a regular schedule – like the 1st Monday of each month for example – you’ll find the property maintenance tasks very doable and you won’t get overwhelmed with a huge list of stuff.

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