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The Ultimate Guide to Rental Property Maintenance

02 December 2019

One of the biggest boons of renting a property is that, for the most part, you won’t have to take care of it on a day-to-day basis.

Whether it’s vacuuming, dusting, airing the place, buying air moisturizers, or otherwise getting stocked on scented candles, you won’t have to worry about it one little bit.

… As long as your tenant isn’t installing a large 14th-century wooden stove complete with a chimney they intend to use in the living room because they're one of those folks who are into European medieval culture, for example.

Now, while it is up to your tenant to fashion their immediate living environment to their own will, it's you, the actual owner, who is required to take good care of all the major systems and appliances in the house.

A fridge has stopped functioning? - You have to fix it.

The ventilation system is clogged by a dead raven who got stuck in it somehow? - It is you now who has to extricate the unfortunate bird from the air vent to the best of your ability.

In this article, we’re going to talk about what steps you need to take to ensure that your rental property is properly maintained and looks spic ‘n’ span at all times.

1) Check on Carbon Monoxide and Smoke Detectors

Having a case where your tenant burned to a crisp or was otherwise horribly disfigured because a broken smoke detector didn't pick up a burning piece of the curtain (that was lit by a candle that fell on it, let’s say) would not be the best way to attract new tenants, now would it?

So, to make sure your tenant is safe against fire, make sure to check the carbon monoxide detectors, as well as any other form of smoke detection you have installed. Also, if you have an HVAC system in place, you need to check that as well, at least once a year.

2) Organize an Annual Pressure-Washing Session

This goes for owners of rental properties with backyards or front lawns. (Or both.)

The thing is, due to constant use (especially if your tenant has a car), the approach to the rental house will surely get quite dirty after a while.

Now, while the tenant is obligated to clean up a dirty driveway, for the time being, you can’t expect him or her to clean it thoroughly in the sense of renting a pressure washer and taking an entire day to thoroughly clean a large area in front of the property.

If you happen to be rebuilding your driveway and the front lawn at the moment, a great way to ensure the pressure washing will be effective (and that the front of the house will look attractive) would be to install a natural stone path amidst your lawn. Bonus points if you use thyme for the lawn instead of the grass. Looks grand and the maintenance is much easier.

3) Flush the Sediment Out of The Water Heater

One of the worst mistakes to make as a rental property owner when plumbing is in question would be to disregard the important task of extracting the accumulated sediment from the water heater.

You see, although water heaters are fairly good at withstanding copious amounts of sediment in them, they still need to be cleaned every once in a while, because otherwise – they may get clogged, their heaters can get damaged, and they may break down altogether at one point.

The tricky part is, of course, that this task is just complex enough so that you can’t expect your tenant to deal with it, so you have to roll up your sleeves at some point and do this. Surely beats buying a new water heater.

4) Set Up a Budget For Your Rental Property Maintenance

Last but not least, fixing up your rental property can cost an arm and a leg if you’re not careful.

The thing is, the more you work on it, the more you feel it needs to be worked on. Soon, you’re left with a bottomless pit of constant expenses that you can’t possibly keep up with.

So, to be frugal with your money and still get the maintenance part covered, set up a budget for this purpose at an annual level. More often than not, this amounts to about 1% of the value of the entire property. (Provided there weren’t any problems with it, to begin with.)  

Conclusion

All in all, taking good care of your rental property is not nuclear science. As long as you set up a special budget for this purpose, make a couple of visits to the place (other than collecting the rent), and are prepared to do some work yourself – you’ll have a neat rental arrangement that will attract and keep tenants hook, line, and sinker.

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