Yearly Maintenance Checklist for Rental Property Managers
For rental owners and property managers, it is important to perform regular property maintenance and upkeep all the time. However, once a year you should also conduct a more in-depth inspection to ensure no damage or issues have gone unnoticed. You can hire a professional to conduct the inspection, which is highly recommended if you have multiple properties. Of course, if you have a property management company, they will take care of all maintenance and inspections. However, you can also opt to do the inspection yourself. The essential things to check include:
- Carbon Monoxide and Smoke Detectors
Functional smoke alarms are almost always mandated by law for rental properties, and in many states, carbon monoxide detectors are required as well. Many tenants may not keep up with these systems or may remove them completely if they are bothered by the beeping. It’s extremely important to check these sensors annually, if not more often, and make sure they are functioning properly. This keeps your tenants and property safe and avoids unnecessary fines or repercussions in the event of a surprise inspection.
- Air filters
Air conditioning filters are another essential system to check annually, if not biannually. For window units, brush off the coils and clean the filter. Not only does this regular maintenance prevent damage and long-term wear, but keeping your air conditioning units functioning at full capacity can save you or your tenants money by reducing energy bills.
Checking appliances should always be done before the new year. Check and clean the hoses on the washing machine and dishwasher, as well as the fridge coils, etc. This is also an opportunity to assess if any appliances could just be replaced outright. Not only does this minimize maintenance issues in the future, but it also may allow you to raise monthly rent if you renew some appliances and amenities.
- Exterior Walls
Inspect all of the exterior walls for water stains or other problem spots, especially around the gutter spouts and under eaves. Water leaks can cause substantial long-term damage so it’s important to catch them early. Additionally, external wall damage is typically not something that tenants will notice or inform you of.
Make sure all of the windows on the property are intact and there is no leakage. Window leaks will boost the energy bill by breaking insulation. So, check the weather stripping and caulking thoroughly. If you encounter condensation on double glass windows in the winter, this is a sign that the weather seal has been compromised. You should also check the window screens, as this type of damage is not often reported by tenants.
A good time to inspect the foundation is while you’re checking exterior walls. Foundation needs more than routine caulking – this is a common misconception. If you see issues with the foundation, contact a professional.
Now you don’t necessarily need to climb on the roof every year, but grab some binoculars and look for any spots on the roof that may need some TLC. Is there any shingle-shift, or fasteners that need to be replaced? Also check for missing or damaged shingles, as well as nail-pops, and address those concerns right away.
If the property has a chimney, give it an inspection, especially those made of bricks or stones. Check for any plant growth or for any bricks that have fallen out. These are common signs of water infiltration. Additionally, check for white calcium deposits, as this can indicate that the masonry needs to be resealed. Brush on a clear sealant and let it absorb for about 15 minutes.
Lawn care and regular landscaping can prevent long term damage to underground pipes and house foundation, so be sure the lawns are well cared for. If there are any large trees on the property, be sure they are in good health and properly trimmed. This is also a good opportunity to invest in updating the curb appeal of the property.
Additional Annual Tasks
In addition to these maintenance inspections, there are other important tasks you should do each year, such as:
- Replace locks and keys
- Update tenant contact information
- Renew rental license
- Evaluate insurance rates
- Reassess the local rental market
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