Preventive maintenance for any property, residential or commercial, is the number-one way to protect your investment. Regular preventive maintenance keeps your property in tip-top shape, wards off unnecessary repairs and alerts you to possible future repairs before they become a crisis.
Many preventive maintenance tasks are small and inexpensive. Some require the services of licensed contractors. But all pay long-term dividends that are well worth the time and cost.
It’s always smart to check the little things first. Something so simple as installing doorstops can help prevent unnecessary dents and holes. Making sure filters are clean—and requiring tenants to change them regularly—prevents dirty walls and ceilings as well as provides healthy air.
Other easy things to cross of the preventive maintenance list include: checking all locks and deadbolts, inspecting door and window seals, checking bathroom tiles and grout, cleaning range hoods and exhaust fans, and of course making sure smoke and carbon monoxide detectors are in good working order. A smart owner will also wrap or strap the water heater for added safety and energy efficiency.
Then there are all the quarterly and annual checks and tune-ups that every property needs. Annual HVAC inspections, chimney cleaning, pest control or equipment tune-ups are all at the top of the list.
Exterior checks include inspecting the roof and replacing any loose or missing roofing materials, checking and cleaning gutters and downspouts , inspecting chimneys and rafters, and checking for any needed upkeep for windows, siding, stonework, awnings and fencing.
On the inside, check for loose, worn or damaged flooring, loose carpeting, peeling paint, scuffed walls, and any signs of water damage.
Licensed plumbers and electrical contractors should always be called for any electrical or plumbing problems that are found.
Who’s Responsible for What?
Some of the most basic maintenance tasks fall in the category of routine cleaning and inspection, which of course is a tenant’s responsibility. Cleaning floors, countertops and bathrooms regularly not only makes for a healthier and neater living space, it also helps prevent mold, mildew and water damage and reveals minor dents and scratches before they become a problem.
Landlords should also ask tenants to check periodically for early signs of damage or any items needing repair. Typically this includes checking for cracks in windows or tears in screens, making sure outdoor lights are in good working order, checking for signs of water damage on walls or ceilings, inspecting outdoor porches, patios, decks or balcony areas for rot or other damage, and periodically testing smoke alarms and replacing batteries.
Make sure to specify in the lease agreement who is responsible for what. For example, if carbon monoxide detectors are required for your property, include a carbon monoxide addendum stating that working detectors have been installed and specifying which party is responsible for testing and maintenance.
The property owner, of course, carries the biggest burden. And that’s where a property management firm is worth its weight in gold.
Making It Easy
The best way to stay on top on preventive maintenance is let your property manager handle it. A property management firm will take care of all routine maintenance and repairs, and preventive maintenance
A smart property owner will check off the whole preventive maintenance checklist with one easy task: Turn it over to the property manager.
If you are managing your own rental property, consider turning it over to the pros. DMG provides complete property management services for commercial and residential properties, large and small. If you’re interested in learning how experienced property management can save you time and money and help protect the value of your investment, reach out to learn more.
Do you have topics you’d like us to address in these resources for property owners? Let us know, and we’ll try to include it in an upcoming post.
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