To be a successful landlord, you must take diligent care of your rental properties. If you don’t, you’re more likely to end up with costly repairs, angry tenants, and lower profits.
But keeping your rental properties in top shape is easier said than done. You may not know what maintenance tasks you are responsible for or which to prioritize. In that case, this checklist of essential chores every landlord should stay on top of is for you:
1. Take pest control seriously
Pests like insects and rodents pose a serious safety and health risk to your tenants. Consequently, you should invest in pest control.
Green Residential, a Houston property management company, takes pest control very seriously because Texas is one of the top states for termites, and the company knows that not keeping pests under control would be a major turnoff for tenants.
If a tenant notifies you of a pest problem, investigate immediately and hire a professional exterminator if needed. This will help put a stop to the pest and prevent it from spreading to other units and causing more damage.
2. Check for water damage and leaks
Water can create major problems for your property if it reaches the wrong places. To ensure there aren’t any leaks, regularly inspect all water sources: faucets, toilets, showers, boilers, and other areas that contain water.
It’s also a good idea to check for water damage after heavy rain or snow storms. These can expose areas where water may be leaking into the house.
Add caulk to seal any cracks. You can also unclog drains with a hair catcher or a liquid like Drano. More serious water problems should be left to a professional contractor.
3. Clean gutters and inspect the roof
Keeping your gutters clean helps water flow away from your property and prevents possible fire hazards. When neglected, gutters tend to collect debris, which can clog and trap water and lead to more serious issues down the road. So try to clean your property’s gutters at least twice a year, once in late spring and again in early fall.
Similarly, you should regularly inspect your property’s roof for damage. Any damaged shingles could lead to worse insulation and costly water leaks.
4. Maintain HVAC systems
Your property’s heating, ventilation, and air conditioning (HVAC) systems require regular maintenance to run properly.
For example, when your AC and furnace filters get dirty, it takes more energy to manage the property’s temperature, leading to higher utility costs. Plus, dirty filters put your HVAC system at higher risk of damage. So replace your AC and furnace filters at least twice per year, but ideally every three months.
Similarly, you should flush the property’s water heater twice a year. Otherwise, it will collect sediment, which could dirty the water and lead to unexpected damage.
Ultimately, regular HVAC maintenance can help prevent you from getting emergency calls from unhappy tenants in the dead of winter or the heat of summer.
5. Regularly check smoke and carbon monoxide detectors
Rental properties are required by law to have smoke and carbon monoxide detectors in properties to protect tenants in emergencies.
But it’s the landlord’s responsibility to provide these detectors and make sure they are running properly. To do this, change out the batteries twice a year. Pro tip: Do it when the time changes to or from daylight savings. This can serve as a good reminder.
In addition, check smoke and carbon monoxide detectors every time you are in a rental property. A faulty detector could lead to major legal issues in the event of an accident. So it’s best to be thorough.
6. Take care of the landscaping
Finally, it’s often your duty as a landlord to take care of the property’s landscaping. This could mean mowing the lawn, raking leaves, and clearing other debris. But it could also involve more difficult tasks like trimming trees and removing stumps. Do what you can handle and outsource the rest to a professional contractor.
Also, try to complete landscaping tasks before winter when overgrown vegetation might freeze and create a safety hazard.
Adding it all up
At the end of the day, preventative maintenance can save you a lot in costly repairs in the long run. So work your way through this list at least once per year and address anything that needs fixing. Your rental business will benefit tremendously.