Rental Property Maintenance: 5 Things You Should be Doing
Do you own a home? If so, you’re already well aware of all the things you have to do to keep it in good shape. From cleaning out gutters to changing the furnace filter, there are lots of little tasks to keep you busy and keep your home and all its features functioning properly.
If you own a rental home, the same applies. In fact, I would argue that you have to be even more vigilant with a rental property. Because it’s not your primary residence, you may not notice right away when things need to be fixed or maintained. Instead, you have to rely on your tenants to let you know when things are out of sorts, and depending on your tenants, that can be a risky move.
And that’s where regular maintenance comes into play. Performing regular maintenance tasks is one of the best ways to prevent damage to your home and keep things running smoothly, and it’s a good reason for you to get into the property and have a look at things on the regular.
So what exactly should you be doing? Lots of things, actually, but in the interest of time, I’ve narrowed it down to just 5 that I feel are super important.
- Pay attention to those smoke/carbon monoxide detector batteries. These detectors aren’t just a property issue – they can mean life or death for your tenants. The recommendation from fire departments and other officials is to replace the batteries every spring and fall when Daylight Savings Time comes around. This is a simple way to remember to swap the batteries, but unfortunately, people forget all too often. Dont’ be one of those people.
- Flush the hot water heater. Here’s a little tip that some plumbers may not want you to know – clean out your hot water heater. Over time, hot water heaters collect sediment, which builds up at the bottom of the tank, reducing efficiency and ultimately shortening the lifespan of the appliance. Each year, you should flush it out. All you need is a hose and a few tools and parts, and your hot water heater will be as good as new.
- Check over the roof. Guess what part of the house most people don’t often get a good look at? You got it – the roof. Every year at least, you should haul out a ladder and climb up there and take a look. Inspect for loose shingles or other damaged areas, and replace as necessary. Making these minor repairs can save you from having to make a major repair later on.
- Make sure your sump pump is working properly. Your sump pump may be the only thing saving you from a flooded basement, so if it’s not operational, you’re going to be in trouble the next time a major storm rolls through. Outside, take a look at the drain and make sure it’s not blocked or damaged in any way. Inside, inspect the pump itself to be sure it’s working properly. If it’s not, it’s worth it to spend a couple hundred bucks to replace it.
- Look over the foundation. Two of the most dreaded words in any homeowner’s vocabulary are “foundation problems.” Why? Because they’re freaking expensive to repair. While you may not be able to 100% avoid all issues, as houses settle and cracks form over time, you can prevent minor issues from turning into major ones by performing a simple inspection each year. Go around the foundation looking for cracks, holes, or other spots where water and bugs could be getting in. If you catch them early, the fix is much easier (and less expensive) than what you’ll have to deal with if the problem festers. While you’re at it, go over the basement or crawl space and look for the same issues there. Again, make any repairs necessary to save yourself time and money in the long run.
There are a lot of perks to owning a rental property – hello, cashflow – but it also comes with responsibility. One of the most important ones is to maintain the property and keep it in good shape, both for your tenants’ sake and your own financial stability. Remember, a home in good condition is a home that’s worth more, so don’t neglect the maintenance of it!