Successful landlords know the importance of maintenance. Well-maintained rental properties keep tenants happy and are more cost-effective to use. Having a solid maintenance strategy tends to reduce the need for expensive repairs. You will also notice that devices last longer.
However, as any experienced landlord or rental property owner knows, dealing with property maintenance is challenging. If you manage a lot of rental units, it can be difficult to keep up with maintenance. You have to deal with calamities as well as planning non-urgent repair requests. And of course you need an excellent maintenance strategy for preventive work.
But there is another challenge when it comes to having a maintenance strategy: contractors. Since you typically hire professionals to maintain your rental properties, you need people you can trust and who are available.
Fortunately, there are plenty of ways landlords can develop solid strategies to maintain rental properties, and technology can revolutionize maintenance request processing.
Being a landlord can be fun – if you do it right
No matter how good you are at finding good leases, you can lose everything if you don’t manage your properties properly. Being a landlord doesn’t have to mean midnight calls, expensive evictions, or daily frustrations with ungrateful tenants.
Why landlords should have a maintenance strategy
Maintenance may sound like something you can postpone. When profit margins are tight, you may think it’s expensive to spend money on routine maintenance. There’s the adage, “If it ain’t broke, don’t fix it.”
But taking that approach can put you on an endless treadmill of repairing broken appliances. Worse, you could end up with expensive repairs if something big breaks.
For example, it is recommended that HVAC filters be replaced or cleaned every 90 days. Let’s say you decide to save some money and time and replace the filter every year. What happens is that dirt, dust and grime build up inside the device. Now the unit has to work harder to heat or cool the apartment. This results in a higher energy bill and a greater chance of the unit breaking down. So you end up with expensive bills and repairs, all of which are avoidable.
A better saying for successful landlords should be, “an ounce of prevention is worth a pound of cure.”
How to develop a maintenance strategy?
Let’s take a closer look at how to develop a maintenance strategy to keep your rental properties in good condition.
1. Determine who performs maintenance tasks
First determine who will do the maintenance of your property. If you’re a starting landlord with some DIY skills and one or two rental units, you can do some odd jobs yourself and save some money. However, it is usually best to get professionals. They can save you time, be available 24/7 and deliver quality work.
It’s worth taking the time to build a reliable network of trusted maintenance contractors.
2. Schedule regular maintenance inspections
Maintaining rental properties should be about preventive maintenance, not about ongoing repairs. Normally, at the end of a lease, you should thoroughly inspect the rental unit. You can also arrange a maintenance inspection when a tenant extends the lease. You can include in the tenancy agreement that home inspections will take place during the lease renewal.
Regular home inspections help you fix minor problems before they become bigger.
3. Keep track of devices
Property maintenance should also include maintenance of appliances, HVAC units, water heaters and elevators. To keep track of maintenance tasks, you need a list of systems that require regular maintenance. Then draw up a maintenance schedule. For example, does the unit require monthly or annual maintenance? Is it seasonal equipment that needs maintenance in the fall and then in the spring?
Scheduling maintenance extends the life of your assets and minimizes expensive repairs.
4. Communicate with tenants
Communication is an essential part of real estate maintenance. It is essential to tell renters to contact you with maintenance requests. You should also help them realize their role in the maintenance of the rental unit. Do they also know important information, such as where the tap is? That could be vital information to prevent a flood.
One of the best ways to streamline maintenance is to use a property management app. With an app, a tenant can request repairs and send images of the problem. You can also inform the tenant about the time frame and when the contractor will visit.
In addition, a rental app is ideal for tracking repairs. For example, if faucets often leak, it might be better to invest money in better quality plumbing. Landlord software solutions also allow you to contact your contractors and track expenses.
Remember, the law requires you to provide tenants with adequate notice before entering the property unless it is an emergency.
5. Respond quickly to all maintenance requests!
Always respond quickly to repair requests, regardless of the problem. Even if the task isn’t urgent, tenants appreciate responsive landlords. It is best to acknowledge the request, assess the situation and then arrange repairs.
Of course, problems like flooding, a smell of gas, no hot water or electrical problems are emergencies. In addition, problems such as mold or broken appliances are urgent requests. You need to fix these issues quickly.
Other requests such as broken windows, a running toilet, squeaky door or cracked tiles are not so urgent. However, tenants will still expect to be resolved within a reasonable time.
More about the maintenance of rental properties from Pyjama People
How technology is streamlining real estate maintenance
Technology is one of the best ways to plan maintenance. A mobile property management app is an excellent communication tool for landlords and tenants. All tenants have to do is notify you of the request through the app. No more e-mails go to the spam folder or lost papers.
Many online apps also allow landlords to maintain a database of contractors. This means you can then assign repairs to the professionals, make payments, and keep tenants informed.
Since you keep everything digitally, it is easier to keep track of expenses. You can also gain insight into when it becomes more economical to replace a system rather than repair it.
Maintenance strategies and technology solutions
Running a successful rental business requires multitasking. You must collect rent, fill vacancies, arrange viewings and properly maintain rental units. Anything to make your job easier will save you time and money.
Using a trusted property management app is one way to simplify the landlord’s day-to-day task. Online rental collection means no more waiting for checks to arrive and then driving to the bank. You can also process rental applications, screen tenants, take deposits, and accept maintenance requests.
Keeping up with property maintenance is one of the most important ways to keep tenants happy and build a great reputation as a great landlord.