Keeping your rental property well-maintained has numerous benefits. Among other things, you’ll be able to preserve your home’s value and minimize tenant turnover.
Maintaining a rental property, however, can be anything but easy. More so if you are managing multiple rental properties or you lack the time. As a result, minute issues can morph into serious and potentially costly problems.
When maintenance issues get serious, you may have more to worry about than just taking care of the problem. In Missouri, it may be within the rights of a tenant to withhold rent for conditions that impact their safety and/or health.
In today’s article, you’ll learn about some of the best things that can ensure you stay on top of your property’s maintenance!
1. Change Your HVAC System’s Filters Regularly
Dirty filters in your HVAC system will contaminate the air duct. When the air ducts are contaminated, a professional assessment may be necessary. Obviously, this is an expense that you may avoid by regularly having your filters changed.
Preferably, you may want to change the filters at least twice annually, especially if there are pets in the rental unit . Clean water filters are efficient and will keep your tenant’s utility costs down and potentially lower your tenant turnover rates.
2. Flush the Water Heater
If you’re like most homeowners, you may not realize that maintaining your water heater is key to keeping it running reliably.
You see, over time, sediment will build up in the unit from the municipal water supply system. When the build-up reaches a certain level, the efficiency of the water heater will go down. There is also the risk of the drain valve getting clogged up.
Now, replacing a water heater isn’t cheap. The costs can be as much as $3000, so you’ll want to avoid risking serious problems.
Flushing out a water heater isn’t a process that requires specialized skills. You may be able to do it yourself, so long as you follow the procedures in the manual.
3. Clean the Gutters
Gutters often go unnoticed by most homeowners. After all, they’re located out of sight. That being said, regular maintenance of gutters is a fundamental aspect of keeping your rental home performing at its best.
Failure to maintain your gutters will make leaves and other debris clog it up. Clogged gutters will then allow water to sit stagnant against your home, leading to roof rot. When your roof rots, a myriad of problems can ensue.
The worst thing about wood rot isn’t just being unsightly, it’s what it can do to your home’s structural stability. It can leave your home vulnerable to the elements.
Thankfully, gutter maintenance is one of the easiest tasks you can do on your rental property. It’s simple, and you can do it within 30 minutes. All you need to get started is a ladder, a bucket, and something to scoop the debris.
4. Exterminate the Home from Pests on a Regular Basis
Preventing the problem from occurring in the first place is key. Even where there are no telltale signs, this is an exercise you may want to do regularly . This is especially true if your rental investment is an apartment.
Naturally, critters are always on the move. So, if you fail to fix the issue in one unit, you may find yourself having to exterminate the entire building.
But who exactly bears the responsibility for pest control in a rental unit? Broadly speaking, that responsibility lies with the landlord. That’s because pest control usually falls under general property maintenance.
Your tenant only becomes liable for pest control if their negligent or careless actions lead to the infestation. For example, if they are leaving food out, regularly failing to take the garbage out, or leaving the windows open.
The best way to protect yourself from potential pest problems and any ensuing liabilities is by having a clause on the lease. This will ensure that both parties understand their obligations when it comes to pest control and extermination.
5. Replace Damaged Caulk or Grout
Caulk acts as both a glue and sealant. It’s a thick, flexible, and adhesive material. Caulk has many uses in the bathroom, such as around faucets and sinks and where tiles meet the ceiling.
Over a period of time, however, caulk will crack. When this happens, the showerheads and bathtub faucets will have a leakage of water. As a result, this can cause damage under the bathroom or below the walls.
Besides water leakage , the following are other telltale signs that you need to re-caulk your bathroom:
- Peeling or missing caulk
- Dried out or cracked caulk
- Caulk is older than five years
- Mold or mildew beneath the surface of the caulk
6. Respond to Maintenance Issues Quickly
A quick way to lose a good tenant is by failing to respond to your tenants’ maintenance issues quickly. Your tenants have a right to live in a safe, healthy, and structurally sound property that meets the basic local habitability codes.
Regardless of the priority level, make sure that your tenant knows, at the very least, that you have noted their request. This can go a long way in solidifying your relationship with them, keeping them happy and content. You don't want to lose good tenants and restart the advertizing, showing , and leasing process.
Ideally, you should be able to respond to urgent issues within 24 hours, and non-urgent ones within a couple of days.
Although many states have laws requiring landlords to serve their tenants with proper notice, Missouri doesn’t have such a law. Still, most landlords do give their tenants a notice of at least 24 hours prior to entering their premises.
7. Hire an Experienced Property Management Company
Are you just starting out and don’t have the experience of managing a rental property? If so, hiring an expert can be one of the best decisions you’ll ever make.
A good property management company like Real Property Group will help oversee all aspects of your property, from leasing to collecting rent and everything in between.
Maintaining your rental property is key to running a profitable rental property. You’ll have an easier time attracting and retaining tenants, while also preserving the value of your investment in the long run.
If you are overwhelmed by the responsibilities that come with being a landlord, contact Real Property Group today! We’d be pleased to speak to you about our reputable services.