The Complete Rental Property Maintenance Checklist for 2021

Rental property maintenance checklist

It takes a lot of work to keep that asset profitable and up to scratch, but there are a few general maintenance tips that can help with the upkeep of your rental property in all situations. At Homevault, we ran over the years in pretty much all possible maintenance issues for rentals, so we overviewed the maintenance situations that appear in most rental properties and came up with a rental property maintenance checklist to guide you through 2021 and beyond. Before we dig into the subject, let’s review why you’d be much better off with a maintenance checklist at hand.

Why do you need a rental maintenance checklist?

Most homeowners have some type of home maintenance document especially if they live in zones in which the climate changes drastically throughout the year, but having clear guidelines, a plan of action, and documenting any maintenance work is particularly important for landlords. Why? Because it influences the profitability of your rental in three main ways: it reduces your overall expenses on repairs, it creates a safe environment for your tenant, and it shows your professionalism as a landlord. 

Let’s talk about expenses. As a rental investor, you are bringing someone else into possibly your most important financial asset, so you have to make sure that the asset will maintain its value and continue to produce a steady flow of income in the years to come, and that at the end of each tenancy, it will be returned to you in the best possible condition. If you do not pay attention to preventative maintenance, you will invest much more later on in major and, likely very, costly repairs. Let’s take the example of an HVAC system, which will cost you anywhere from $500 to $1000 to repair and some $6000+ to replace. You’ll save more money by diligently repairing the HVAC once in two years, and keep it for 10 years before replacement than replace it altogether once in 5 years!

Preventative maintenance will not only prolong the life of your property and of the appliances and reduce the overall cost of maintenance but it will also reassure your tenants that you are a dedicated landlord who goes the extra mile to create a safe and pleasant environment for them. Or if tenants are pleased, they tend to renew their lease. For you as a landlord, this means zero time and money lost on re-marketing the property, and waiting for a new tenant to move in.  

The easiest way to attend to preventative maintenance is to have a rental property maintenance spreadsheet or similar document at hand whenever you conduct periodical inspections on your rental. You’ll be able to remember everything that you need to inspect, take notes, and record any other information that you need in order to start the maintenance work. We’ll talk about how to conduct inspections in a different article, and we’ll focus here on the items that need to be listed on the checklist.

In-Depth Articles

  1. The 8-Step Guide on How to Manage Rental Property as A DIY Landlord
  2. How to Increase HVAC Life on Your Rental
  3. Home Maintenance Tips to Keep Your Rental Like-new

 

General Maintenance Advice

Some rental maintenance work will occur every season, but some are heavily season-dependent. For ease of use, we’ve split the rental maintenance checklist by season. Before we delve into that, here are a couple of items you must make sure you go through no matter the season:

  • You cannot and SHOULD NOT perform all maintenance work unless you’re licensed. Please note that each state has different regulations on which maintenance work needs to be performed by a licensed professional, so check with your local building authority to ensure you stay on the right side of their guidelines.
  • Perform the seasonal inspection right before the season starts, or, at the latest, at the very beginning of the respective season. You certainly don’t want to be delayed with your winter inspection and then perform maintenance in freezing temperatures!
  • Make sure you clearly set up an inspection appointment with your tenants, and you clearly communicate what maintenance work will be done, by whom, and when. 
HV Lead Magnet Maintenance Checklist 1 | HomeVault

Rental Maintenance Checklist Template

Rental maintenance can easily become a burden as a DIY landlord, but with a bit of structure and planning you’re setting yourself for success. HomeVault has prepared for you a set of maintenance templates to help you structure your inspections and maintenance work.

Download

 

Spring Rental Maintenance Checklist

Once the ground has thawed and the trees begin to bud, it’s time to prepare your rental for spring. On top of your regular spring cleaning, you’ll also want to consider these general upkeep tips. Use our spring home maintenance checklist to make sure everything in your home from the basement to the roof is in tip-top shape:

  • Inspect roofing for missing, loose, or damaged shingles and leaks.
  • Change the air-conditioner filter.
  • Clean window and door screens.
  • Polish wood furniture, and dust light fixtures.
  • Refinish the deck.
  • Power-wash windows and siding.
  • Remove leaves and debris from gutters and downspouts.
  • Replace the batteries in smoke and carbon monoxide detectors.
  • Have a professional inspect and pump the septic tank.
  • Inspect sink, shower, and bath caulking for deterioration.
  • Vacuum lint from the dryer vent.
  • Inspect chimney for damage.
  • Repair or replace caulking and weather stripping around windows, doors, and mechanicals.
  • Remove the insulation from outdoor faucets and check sprinkler heads.
  • Have your air-conditioning system serviced.
  • Drain or flush the water heater.
  • Make sure to fertilize your lawn.

Summer Rental Maintenance Checklist

When the sun is out and warm weather is finally here to stay, the last thing you should worry about is home maintenance. Use our quick summer home maintenance checklist to get the hard work out of the way at the beginning of the season. This will be the time to spruce up your rental property and perform a rental property maintenance checklist and inspection that had taken a back burner to harsh weather and urgent requests through the colder months. Don’t worry if the weather is already heating up; most of these tasks are indoors:

  • Oil garage-door opener and chain, garage door, and all door hinges.
  • Remove lint from inside and outside washer hoses and dryer vents.
  • Clean kitchen exhaust fan filter.
  • Clean refrigerator and freezer coils and empty and clean drip trays.
  • Check the dishwasher for leaks.
  • Check around kitchen and bathroom cabinets and around toilets for leaks.
  • Replace interior and exterior faucet and showerhead washers if needed.
  • Seal tile grout.
  • Prune trees and shrubs.

Fall Rental Maintenance Checklist 

You find that in most states, fall is the best season to take care of the general home maintenance projects because the weather is generally dry and temperatures are moderate. 

You need to examine both the interior and exterior of your property before you start your seasonal home maintenance.  You can definitely get these tasks done without the help of a professional, but it’s always better to be safe and call for assistance if a home improvement project is beyond your abilities. Here are a few items that you would monitor during the autumn inspection:

  • Check the fireplace for damage or hazards, and clean the fireplace flues.
  • A  professional will have to inspect your air heating system. Schedule an inspection in late summer or early fall before the heating season begins.
  • Inspect roofing for missing, loose, or damaged shingles and leaks.
  • Seal cracks and gaps in windows and doors with caulk or weather stripping; replace if necessary.
  • Have your fireplace professionally inspected.
  • Swap old, drafty windows for more energy-efficient models.
  • Touch up exterior siding and trim with paint.
  • You have to rake leaves and aerate the lawn.
  • You must power-wash windows and siding.
  • You need to remove leaves and debris from gutters and downspouts.
  • Mend cracks and gaps in the driveway and walkway.
  • Drain and winterize exterior plumbing.
  • Tune-up major home appliances before the holidays.
  • Repair or replace siding.
  • Replace the batteries in smoke and carbon monoxide detectors. Install a smoke detector on every floor of your home, including the basement.
  • Clean the carpets.
  • Clean window and door screens.
  • Vacuum lint from the dryer vent.
  • Inspect exterior door hardware; fix squeaky handles and loose locks.
  • Check for frayed cords and wires.
  • Drain and store hoses, and drain in-ground sprinkler systems.
  • Wrap insulation around outdoor faucets and pipes in unheated garages.
  • Check the water heater for leaks.

Winter Rental Maintenance Checklist

Winter weather can be harsh on your rental, as below-freezing temperatures can cause frozen pipes and roof damage. You will want to prevent winter harm and as well as avoid calling a professional in the middle of a blizzard, so be sure to check these winter items off your home maintenance checklist at the end of autumn, before temperatures drop abruptly:

  • Cover your air-conditioning unit.
  • Check the basement for leaks during thaws.
  • Inspect the roof, gutters, and downspouts for damage after storms.
  • Vacuum bathroom exhaust fan grill.
  • Vacuum refrigerator and freezer coils and empty and clean drip trays.
  • Clean drains in sinks, tubs, showers, and dishwashers.
  • Protecting pipes from bursting, fixtures from crumbling
  • Check on the plants you have on the property, and make sure you are protecting those that are more delicate from the freezing temperatures. 

In Conclusion, you must be prepared for any and every situation related to the maintenance of a rental property. A rental property maintenance checklist can make the task less time-consuming. Rather than ignoring maintenance issues, it’s always best to be one step ahead and set a planned schedule according to the seasons. Otherwise, you may run the risk of having larger, more costly, and time-consuming issues that may appear unexpectedly.

If you want to learn more about how property managers use the seasonal rental property inspection checklist, don’t hesitate to contact us.

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