Property Maintenance ManagementMaintenanceBy Gord CollinsJanuary 08, 2022
Property Maintenance Management
The winter season brings with it some tough conditions for any rental property. Heating costs rise, systems break down and hazards appear. Tenants must call you for help. And some of those emergency calls are your worst maintenance and repair losses.
They are are avoidable with diligent inspection and good property maintenance service practices. There is more to do in winter than shoveling snow.Youll find a rental maintenance strategy to follow below, however lets get to the most important challenge: winter maintenance.
Winter has a habit of exposing things neglected in the rental property, inside and out. And summer too has its damaging effect on owners houses with humidity, heat and severe weather events.
There is a lot more to property maintenance services than investors and tenants appreciate, and property managers should make communication and education a consistent part of the work too.
Winter Maintenance Checklist
Lets summarize the winter season maintenance checklist for landlords and property managers:
- inadequate insulation in attics and walls (add if necessary)
- aging furnace with clogged air pipes
- clear PVC vent pipes of any obstructions
- furnace air filters not changed every 3 months
- fireplace chimneys clogged with carbon buildup
- poor drainage of melting ice and snow from the roof
- water pipes exposed to freezing air vulnerable to burst during cold snap
- roof is damaged and missing shingles
- check batteries in smoke and carbon monoxide detectors
- clear big tree branches which look vulnerable in heavy snow or ice storm
- clear the roof gutters of debris
- check windows for leakage and plug leaks with weatherstripping
- protect the air conditioner outside by using a cover or piece of plywood
- check hot water temperature in the water tank
- flush the hot water tank to drain dirt sediment and improve efficiency and cleanliness and lengthen the lifespan of the heater
- check and repair outside lighting
- cover landscaping features such as pots, planters and cover vulnerable plants
- deliver a bag of salt to renters
- clean away dirt, leaves and grime from window slide channels to avoid breakage during winter
- clean the clothes dryer vents
An important note about winter property maintenance is that tenants may neglect. Just by sharing this info with them in a reminder, sent via your property management platform communications system, you can encourage them to take care of the property. Their neglect can create costs and contractor visits.
And you have an opportunity to show you care about your tenants. That makes the relationship much better.
Property Maintenance Services
The first experience many rental property landlords have with property management companies is via their search for property maintenance services.
Of course, property maintenance services range from esoteric lawn cutting to technical building & equipment repair. You may have to screen many companies before you find the right mix of services, skills and price you need.
The service of property maintenance is vital to keeping property assets in good condition and to keep tenants leased. Homeowners associations, multifamily developments and even house rental landlords need a property maintenance strategy to avoid big losses, maintain equity, and keep tenants happy.
Value of Property Maintenance Services
- increased property value as assets kept in good working condition
- extends the working life of HVAC, laundry appliances, flooring, roofing, windows, building structures
- reduced costs for emergency repairs, staff time spent, fees, extra financing, and replacements
- save on unscheduled repairs, contractor fees,
- better control of assets and less stress from the unexpected
For the public and for many landlords, property maintenance is property management. Yet, these are actually two separate activities.
Property maintenance includes multifaceted services which we discuss below. Nice to know that you can hire a property maintenance services firm, and integrate them with your property management software (ManageCasa). Lets discuss all you need to know to improve how you manage maintenance services.
What is Property Maintenance?
Property maintenance includes caring for the landscape, building mechanical equipment and infrastructure, roadways, shared areas of buildings, and exterior elements. The benefits include avoiding fires, floods, disease transmission, bylaw infractions, and avoiding tenant injuries and lawsuits.
The services provided for apartment building managers is quite different from HOA managers or a cluster of single-detached house rentals.
Its essential to review your property and equipment maintenance needs, and find a property maintenance company with the right skills and certifications. Reviewing the property management company post might help you hire the right property maintenance company.
Typical Property Maintenance Services
Whether youre a landlord or a busy commercial property management company, youll likely need property maintenance service providers to handle these inspection and repair tasks listed below. Some of them such as electrical and plumbing must be conducted by licensed technicians.
- general cleaning and disinfecting of units before showing and move-ins
- lawn maintenance, tree trimming, garden tending, watering and landscaping
- sanding prepping and painting
- swimming pool and hot tub maintenance
- testing alarms and inspecting fire extinguishers
- carpentry, flooring, cabinet and door repairs
- appliance maintenance and repairs (HVAC, washers, dishwashers, water heaters
- snow removal
- power washing, parking lot cleaning
- refuse pickup
- painting and drywall replacement
- storm clean-up
- external repairs to sidewalks, roofs, gutters, and windows
- sign changing and updating
- removing graffiti and wall defacement
- plumbing & electrical
- pest extermination
Spring Maintenance Tips
The spring maintenance season is not far off. Winters snow, ice and wind will take its toll on roofing, windows, and heating systems.
For thisspring of 2022, youll want to schedule maintenance work and put in place an inspection routine that allows you to keep up on maintenance checks as required by manufacturers or your landlord insurance policy.
This keeping of good records of what youve inspected, maintained and repaired means your property maintenance provider can accomplish more during the summer and fall. A regular, controlled service is manageable and more cost-effective.
Information collected on property and equipment maintenance is vital for landlords who need to plan financing for future equipment repairs, appliance purchases, contractor service agreements, and replacement purchases (e.g., windows, roofing, HVAC, and plumbing fixtures). Managers need to be on top of these items.
The more expensive your renovations or apartment amenities, the more you need to be on top of their condition. Routine inspections are key to protecting these amenities which are key parts of your renter value proposition.
Property Maintenance Strategy
For any property maintenance company, having a management strategy helps to guide and streamline activities and cover key upkeep needs.
There are 3 different maintenance strategies:
- reactive maintenance (wait for issues and failure to happen and respond to emergencies)
- preventive maintenance (perform inspections in regular intervals to record condition)
- predictive maintenance (using sensors and inspections to establish when maintenance actually needed)
Its likely your maintenance company will use all three strategies, but hopefully less of the first.
Top Trends in Property Maintenance
- use of energy-efficient appliances
- buying low maintenance appliances
- installing LED lighting
- installing better home insulation
- using property management software to enable contractor automation
- mobile technology online tenant portals via smartphones for automatic maintenance requests
- building monitoring technology such as sensors for heat and water condensation
- property management software with tenant portals to communicate to tenants how to manage their responsibilities for care and maintenance
- self-cleaning roof gutters
- long-lasting roofing requiring little maintenance and repair
Youll want to ensure they have proper training and appropriate experience. Check out IREM maintenance courses and property maintenance certification.
Proper Licensing is often Mandatory
One advantage in outsourcing maintenance is that these contractors can respond quickly and they have tools, skills, resources and capabilities you dont possess.
An additional matter with respect to tenants is that tenants are more compliant and respectful of expert technicians who know why machines or other equipment break down. Their dialog/expert advice with tenants and explanations may carry more weight than your own.
Of course, as with any provider, they make direct contact with your customers and CRM issues can occur. You must screen and hire well, to avoid any over charging, wrong repairs, and tenant relations issues.
Property management companies will often contract out maintenance and repairs to a specialized property maintenance company. Its a world of specialization now.
Photo courtesy of Pixabay
Benefits of Maintenance Management Software
If you use a property maintenance management software such as ManageCasa, youll be in complete control of scheduling, response, purchases, expenses, tenant communications, and certain of completing maintenance tasks. The lease terms will specify which costs are charged to which account or tenants solving your expense allocation headaches.
Tenants can contact you immediately via the software for emergencies in their units providing photos of their situation so you can better understand what is needed.
Via the software you can arrange to dispatch them to a property for routine maintenance or emergency repairs.
So, as your portfolio builds, you may still be able to save a lot of money (avoiding property maintenance management companies) and working directly with contractors. If you hire a property maintenance company or property management company, they can adopt theManageCasaplatform too.
Youll appreciate how a professional quality property management software such as ManageCasa can help you manage your properties, tenants and contractors efficiently.
By April, were into the property maintenance peak time of the year. Good luck with your property maintenance management strategy in 2022.
In need of a property maintenance services company near you? Get your sourcing started withCalifornia property management companies,Arizona property management companies,Hawaii property management companies,Florida property management companies,Colorado property management companies,Illinois property management companiesandBoston property management companies.
Learn more about how ManageCasa can transform who you manage your properties.
ManageCasa is an elegantly, simplified software solution, perfect for small business landlords. See the full list of features.
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By Gord Collins
Gord is ManageCasa's content researcher and writer capturing the imagination of investors, landlords, and property management pros. Through extensive research on housing markets, rental markets and trends, and evolving PropTech solutions, Gord helps property managers choose the best software platform to manage rentals intelligently with an eye to profit and asset improvement. See more of Gord's technology and business posts.
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