Maintaining your rental property can be expensive and time-consuming but failing to maintain it is even worse. If you don’t take proper care of your building, small problems can become big ones. As a result, you could be facing pricey repairs. You might even lose out of rental income or be hit with lawsuits alleging negligence. This maintenance checklist for landlords can help you keep up with important maintenance issues so you can avoid bigger problems.
Maintaining your rental property year-round
Good maintenance is a year-round endeavor. Regardless of the season, you should keep an eye out for issues and take care of any problems as soon as possible. However, certain problems tend to be more common during certain times of the year.
Spring: As the weather warms up, you need to check for damage caused by winter weather, especially if you live in an area that gets a lot of snow. Check your roof and gutters for signs of damage, and look for cracks in your walls, foundation and sidewalks. If you have a wet spring, you’ll need to be extra alert for leaks and mold. It’s also important to stay on top of pest control and landscaping.
Summer: Extreme heat can be hard on your building and your tenants. In some states, such as Nevada, landlords are required to provide functioning air conditioning. Make sure your HVAC systems are in good shape. If you live in an area with wildfire or hurricane risks, take steps to protect your property and prepare for an emergency.
Fall: During fall, plant debris can clog gutters and lead to roof damage. Keep your gutters clear. Also watch out for slippery leaves on walkways and other potential hazards that could lead to injuries and lawsuits.
Winter: Good insulation can protect your property and lower your costs. Check your insulation and make repairs as needed. If you live in a region with snow, watch your roof for signs of damaging ice dams. Keep your gutters clear to allow melting snow to drain properly. Watch for icy sidewalks and wet interior areas, which could become slip-and-fall hazards.
Items that need to be replaced or inspected
Some items that are essential to health and safety need to be inspected or replaced regularly. These include the following:
- Air Filters: Dirty filters can damage the HVAC system over time. To avoid more costly issues later, follow the manufacturer's instructions on how often to replace filters. You’ll probably need to replace these filters at least once every three months.
- Smoke and Carbon Monoxide Detectors: Conduct regular tests to make sure detectors are working. Batteries should be changed every six months.
- Fire Extinguishers: When’s the last time you replaced your fire extinguishers? They have a limited lifespan. See the NFPA’s guide on fire extinguisher testing, maintenance and inspection.
- Fire Sprinklers: You’ll need to have your fire sprinklers inspected and tested regularly.
- In-Unit Devices: Don’t forget about in-unit filters, smoke detectors, carbon monoxide detectors, fire extinguishers and fire sprinklers.
A damaged roof can lead to leaks and may even be at risk of collapsing. Inspect your roof for damage and fix any issues before they have time to result in more serious problems.
- Replace missing or broken shingles.
- Check for leaks in the building.
- Look for damage to roof flashing and make repairs as needed.
- Check HVAC units, solar panels, satellites and any other rooftop equipment. Look for damage to equipment and make sure equipment is still fastened securely.
Vents and Gutters
To ensure proper drainage and keep your roof healthy, it’s important to keep your gutters working properly.
- Remove debris from the gutters.
- Clear debris from vents.
- Check the fasteners and make sure the gutters aren’t pulling away from the roof.
Parking Lot and Sidewalks
Over time, weather conditions may result in cracks. A poorly maintained parking lot can damage your tenants’ cars, and cracks in the parking lot or sidewalk can become tripping hazards and liability exposures.
- Fix potholes that have formed.
- Seal cracks that have formed.
- Repair or replace broken wheel stops.
- Repaint the parking lot and parking spaces as needed.
Leaks and Mold
If leaks are fixed quickly, they can lead to water damage and mold. Poor insulation and excessive moisture can also contribute to mold. Because mold can cause property damage and serious health issues, this is something that needs to be addressed. Nip these issues in the bud to prevent additional property damage and health issues.
- Check attics and any other out-of-sight areas for mold.
- Pay attention to any musky scents, which could mean you have mold.
- Remind tenants to check for mold in their units. Under state law, you may be required to include a mold addendum with the lease.
Termites, wasps, raccoons, mice, squirrels and other pests can cause property damage and create unsanitary conditions for tenants.
- Check the property for evidence of pests.
- Repair holes that animals may be using to access the building.
- Employ pest control measures as needed.
Inspect Your HVAC System
Under state law, you may be required to provide heating and/or air conditioning. Make sure your HVAC systems are working, especially as the seasons change and usage increases.
- Have your HVAC system inspected and cleaned.
- Replace the filters according to the manufacturer’s recommendations.
Check Interior Walkways
Slip and fall accidents are a major liability risk. Help prevent falls by keeping walkways safe.
- Repair torn carpets and broken steps or tiles that could create tripping hazards.
- If surfaces are slippery or slick, install anti-slip flooring.
- Make sure walkways have adequate lighting and replace bulbs as needed.
Good landscaping can make your property look nice. It can also help prevent hazards.
- Prune trees and shrubs.
- Watch for trees and limbs that could be a hazard in high winds.
- Remove overgrowth that could become a fire hazard.