Do you have a solid property maintenance strategy? In the world of property management it’s an absolute must have. If you’re not properly maintaining your properties you will have major issues on your hands that will undoubtedly lead to loss of revenue.
Whether you’re developing your property maintenance strategy from the ground up, or revamping an existing one, these nine tips will help ensure that you won’t be caught unawares.
1. Outline Responsibilities in the Lease Agreement
A good tenant relationship starts with a comprehensive lease agreement. If both sides understand their responsibilities there will be no surprises and less cause for disagreements. The lease needs to clearly outline where the tenant’s responsibility ends and the landlord’s begins.
Regular wear and tear is to be expected but tenants have an obligation to take care with the property they lease and it’s contents. That being said, things will wear out and that becomes the responsibility of the landlord. When problems do arise, action needs to be taken in a timely manner so that tenants aren’t caused undue hardship.
2. Conduct Regular Inspections
The units you manage should be inspected on a regular basis. Set up a schedule to perform inspections on all of your properties at regular intervals as part of your property maintenance strategy. Record the general condition of the premises and make note of items that need repairing or replacing.
Inspections are an important part of your preventative property maintenance strategy. While surveying the property change air filters, test smoke detectors, and inspect fire extinguishers. Check to see if any systems are due for maintenance and schedule someone to come out if needed.
Don’t just look for things that are already broken. Be proactive and see what may become a problem in the near future. Consider repairing or replacing items to prevent bigger issues before they happen.
3. Keep Comprehensive Files
Having good records of inspections, maintenance documents, and receipts will allow you to see the big picture on your properties. Analyze your data regularly looking for potential pitfalls and gaps in maintenance schedules. Ensure that noted items were followed up on and resolved.
Going over your records on a regular basis will allow you to develop a predictive maintenance strategy. Understanding the history on a property will help you see patterns and establish when maintenance will be needed. Being ahead of the curve on property maintenance can save a lot of trouble in the future and translate into substantial cost savings.
Managing multiple properties can generate a substantial amount of paperwork. Consider converting your files into a digital format for easier storage and access. The right software can keep you organized with all the right information in the right place.
4. Think Beyond the Box
When we think about a property maintenance strategy we often think in terms of what’s inside the unit but external maintenance is just as important. Timely repairs to roofs, gutters, and windows can prevent damage to the internal structures. Ignoring the outside can translate to big and expensive problems down the road.
External repairs aren’t limited to the building either. Maintenance of the grounds and amenities is important too. Sidewalks and walkways that are not properly looked after can become dangerous. Lawns, trees, and plants need care too. If your property has a swimming pool or hot tub, that will need to be maintained as well.
5. Seasonal Maintenance Strategy
As the seasons change the needs of your property do too and your property maintenance strategy needs to adjust accordingly. Some items on your to do list will need to be done at specific times of the year. Deploy seasonal maintenance strategies with the changing weather.
Trim trees and prune bushes in the spring and fall. Don’t forget lawn and irrigation system maintenance during these times as well. Snow removal might be a factor to consider if your property is located in a colder climate.
6. Keep Lines of Communications Wide Open
Your tenants are often in the best position to identify issues. Keeping lines of communication open can work to your advantage and be a critical component of your property maintenance strategy. Make yourself approachable and available whenever they want to discuss issues with the property.
It’s a good idea to make it easy and convenient for tenants to log maintenance tickets and it’s important to respond to them appropriately and in a timely manner. Good software can make it simple to keep track of tenant communications. Tools such as tenant portals can streamline, automate, and simplify the process for everyone.
7. Develop a Good Team
It’s impossible to do it all. Even if time allowed for it, taking on certain jobs yourself isn’t a good idea. Maintenance on your property is best left to the professionals. Develop a good team of experts with the right tools, knowledge, and skills to address all your property maintenance needs.
You will need reliable plumbing and electrical experts that you can count on. Professionals that can maintain and repair appliances are important too. Carpentry, landscaping, pest control, and HVAC are some other services you may need.
The list of professional services you may require is quite extensive. Your property maintenance strategy should include a list of trusted experts that you can rely on. You may also keep a few general contractors and handymen on your list to help with all the bits in between.
8. Keep An Emergency Fund
Many emergencies can be avoided by being proactive about your property maintenance but sometimes unforeseeable circumstances can cause something you weren’t prepared for to happen. That’s when your reactive maintenance strategy should kick in. In times of emergency a quick and appropriate response can make all the difference.
Your budget needs a reactive maintenance strategy too. Every month you should be setting aside some funds to deal with emergencies. That way when something unforeseen happens, you won’t have to defer money from another part of the business.
9. End of Lease Maintenance
When a tenant moves out there are certain things you need to do in order to prepare the unit for new tenants. A thorough cleaning and disinfecting is a must and the unit will need a fresh coat of paint too. Go over your property with a critical eye and you’ll have the place ready for showing in no time.
This is the best time to do a thorough inspection on the property and conduct any of the bigger repairs and alterations that a unit may need. It’s an ideal opportunity to replace carpets, appliances, and fixtures as well as update the units.
Developing a solid property maintenance strategy is a necessary component for your business. Putting off issues and counting on tenants to bring problems to your attention will only cause emergencies and cost you money in the end. Stay on top of maintenance for better business outcomes and happy tenants.