When you're renting a property, it's hard to think about maintenance in the long term. Many renters don't stay in one place long enough to worry about things like repainting the exterior, maintaining the roof, or even cleaning out the air filters. However, as the property manager, these concerns are what you're all about and some things should be checked on more frequently than others. While you do your best to stay out of the tenant's hair, it's good policy to schedule a visit about every six months to check on a few things that will not only keep the property in good condition but ensure that the living environment continues to be safe and clean for the tenants as well. Here's your checklist of what you should at least put eyes on during your bi-annual property maintenance inspections.
Testing the Smoke Alarms
No one wants to mess around about the risk of a fire but smoke alarms are so common and understated that it's easy to forget about them entirely. For each property you check, bring a pocket full of extra AA and AAA batteries just in case their fire alarms have run down. If there are carbon monoxide detectors, don't forget to check these as well.
Changing Air Filters
Whether the property is running an HVAC system, central air, individual room heaters, or has a central furnace, the condition of the filters matters a great deal. Dirty air filters not only lower the air quality for the tenants, they also reduce the efficiency of your climate control systems, increasing utility bills and chances of malfunction at the same time. Every six months, at least check the filters and be prepared to replace them if they have reached or are approaching capacity.
Flushing the Water Heater
Not everything that comes through the water supply is good for your system and sediment from residual particles often ends up at the bottom of a water heater. If allowed to build up too long, it can clog the drain valve and reduce water heater efficiency. Once or twice a year, drain the water heaters in the properties you maintain and flush them to clear out the sediment. It may take a little time, but if it's been building up for a while the improvement will be noticeable.
Clearing the Gutters
Gutters are supposed to channel rain water that hits the roof out and away from the sides of the house. However, when they fill with leaves, sticks, and tree nuts, they can't do this efficiently and might even start overflowing. Your bi-annual maintenance check is the perfect time to take an hour or so to check on and clear any gutters either by hand with gloves or with a gutter cleaning tool on a long pole.
Checking for Leaks
In general, tenants will keep you apprised of any leaks they notice in order to get them repaired, but they don't always notice the little signs of potential future leaks. Check for dampness in cabinets under sinks and take a close look at the grout and caulking in the bathrooms to be certain everything is still properly sealed up.
Perimeter Pest Control
Finally, it's important to keep pests out of a property all year round. If you don't want to worry about extermination later, your best prevention method can be taken care of fairly quickly before finishing your 6-month rounds. Let the tenants know what you're doing, then create a perimeter of poison around the foundation of the house and across the thresholds of windows and external doors. With the right product, this can keep insects at bay for months before you need another perimeter treatment.
With your rounds complete, you can thank the tenants for their patience and move on to your next task of the day. They'll be glad to have an attentive and responsible property manager and you can once again assure the home owner that their property is in wonderful working condition and likely to stay that way for at least another six months.