Summertime Maintenance 101 for DIY Landlords
Renters Warehouse Blog
It’s that time of year again. There’s a warm breeze in the air, and our thoughts are turning to getting outside and enjoying some of that sunshine. But for landlords, there’s something else you’ll want to focus on as well: getting some much-needed spring maintenance tasks done over at your rental.
Sure, maintenance isn’t the most exciting thing in the world, but experienced landlords understand just how important it is. Performing regular, routine maintenance can help to keep your tenants happy and can help to stave off many problems with your property down the road, keeping those emergency call-outs to a minimum!
As we ease into the summer months, now is the perfect time to get a start on all of those tasks that need to be done at your rental property. Whether you have one rental or ten, overseeing maintenance is an important step that should be done seasonally.
With this in mind, here’s a look at some tasks that you’ll want to complete over at your property this year, along with some tips for inspections. With the following tips, you’ll have your property’s spring-summer maintenance wrapped up and finished in no time.
Spring and Summer Maintenance: Why It Matters
Why does maintenance matter? Simple! Staying on top of regular maintenance will not only help to keep your rental looking its best, but it can also be a great chance to do an inspection of your rental, allowing you to detect potential problems early on before they become much worse and more costly to repair. Additionally, some maintenance tasks can help to extend the life of your rental’s fixtures, features, and appliances, reducing the chance of things breaking early and leading to additional problems. Checking in with your tenants also allows you to demonstrate to them that you care about the condition of your property, and a well-maintained rental property can also inspire tenants to care for the home.
Spring cleaning might seem daunting, but it doesn’t have to be. With a bit of planning, you’ll be able to focus on the areas that need attention most, and stay on-task and focused as you work to get things done.
Which Spring Cleaning Tasks Should You Do at Your Rental?
When it comes to maintenance and repairs, it can be easy to feel overwhelmed by the amount of work that’s in store, so try to focus on the most important and valuable tasks.
Tips for Prioritizing:
- First, keeping the property safe and secure should always be your primary objective when it comes to deciding what repairs or maintenance jobs to complete first. Security issues, dangerous branches that are overhanging walkways, or any potential hazards should be addressed as soon as possible.
- Secondly, it’s important to focus on preventative maintenance tasks that can help to stave off costly problems down the road. This includes things like replacing furnace filters, cleaning out gutters, or applying a new coat of varnish to outdoor decking or furniture.
- Finally, anything that helps to improve your rental’s appearance should come in third.
Doing the Initial Inspection
It’s a good idea to begin by completing an inspection of the property, inside and out, itemizing everything that you find as you go along. Take a look at doors and windows, noting whether they could use new screens or draft excluders. While you’re at it, it’s good to make sure that none of the appliances or plumbing fixtures require maintenance or repairs either. Check the bathrooms, make sure all of the faucets still work, and check that there are no leaks under the sinks. Be sure to go into the basement and have a thorough look along the walls to detect signs of cracking or damp, and check the attic or crawlspaces to look for things like discoloration, which can be a sign of a leaking roof or pest infestations.
Go outside and take a walk around the property, carefully inspecting the outside of the house to note the condition of the siding, or whether any dangerous branches or trees are overhanging the premises. Believe it or not, a rainy day is the best time to inspect your property. You’ll be able to see easily how well the gutters and downspouts are draining, or whether they’re blocked up with leaves. You’ll also want to try to do a visual inspection of the roof from the ground. See if there are any loose shingles or potential damage that you can note. How does the roof look? Is it clean and in good condition or does it have moss growing on it? If so, it may be time to think about booking a pressure wash or cleaning service for the roof.
Once you’ve completed your inspection, it’s time to prioritize. Take note of the areas that are most urgent, highlighting them on your list. Then consider whether you have the budget to proceed with all of the tasks, or if some of the things should be delayed until the following year.
Spring Cleaning and Maintenance Tasks At Your Rental
Next, it’s time to gather your supplies and set a time and date with your tenant when you can do the actual cleaning and maintenance. Of course, you don’t need to feel pressured to do all of these tasks on your own. Some of them can and should be outsourced. If you don’t have time or experience, or if the tasks are especially dangerous (such as cutting branches off of trees or going up onto the roof), you’d be better off outsourcing them.
One important note before we dive in. Make sure you give your tenants adequate notice before entering for maintenance or an inspection. Usually, 24 hours is required in most states, but longer notice is always welcome.
You’ll also want to keep in mind that each rental is different. And you may find that your property requires you to do more or less maintenance every spring, depending on its age and condition.
Now, here’s a look at a few important maintenance items that you may want to think about performing (or outsourcing!) during the spring and summer months.
- Landscaping and Maintenance: April showers bring May flowers, and downed tree limbs too! Trimming back trees and tall shrubbery can help to improve your rental’s curb appeal. But in some cases, this is also an important safety precaution as well. A properly pruned tree is less likely to sustain damage during a storm, and you’ll reduce the chance of precarious limbs falling and causing damage, or worse yet, seriously injuring someone. Finally, get rid of all trees and branches that are too near the home. This will help to prevent the roots from cracking and causing damage to the foundation and keep rodents and other unwanted pests from gaining easy access to your home.
- Roof and Gutters: Most roofs will last 15-25 years, depending on the roof and whether it’s been cared for properly. Now is a good time to get someone up on the roof to see if there are any loose shingles that need to be replaced. You’ll also want to clear gutters of leaves and debris and take note of any gutters or downspouts that are cracked or leaking. You may want to think about adding extenders to your downspouts as well, so they don’t empty water right next to the foundation.
- Siding: If your rental has vinyl siding, check to see what condition it’s in. Are there any pieces that should be replaced? Now may also be a good time to give it a pressure wash if it’s in need of one.
- HVAC Systems: Having a working HVAC system is a necessity. Keep your system working optimally by having it professionally serviced once a year. You’ll also want to ensure that the furnace filter is replaced regularly as well. Most manufacturers recommend doing this every 90 days.
- Window and Door Seals: Spring is a great time to check all the seals on the windows and doors. Sealing trouble spots will help to prevent water intrusion and damage, not to mention mold and mildew. It can also help to keep energy costs lower as well, something your tenants will certainly appreciate. If the home has shutters or window screens, be sure to check those as well for any signs of rot or wear and tear from the winter, and replace as needed.
- Chimney Cleaning: Chimney sweeping companies often have long waiting lists in the late summer and early fall, so if the home has a chimney, it’s best to get it cleaned and inspected as early in the season as you can. Not only will cleaning remove creosote build-up to prevent chimney fires, but it will also clear out any other fire hazards, like bird or rodent nests. If the chimney was damaged during the winter, you’ll have time to get it fixed; masonry work requires time to cure, and getting it done earlier in the year allows time for the job to be properly done.
- Smoke and Carbon Monoxide Detectors: It’s recommended that you change the batteries in your smoke detectors twice a year. Doing it in the spring and the fall is an easy way to keep track of when you did it last.
- Dryer and Lint Trap: It’s also a good idea to check the lint trap on the dryer and to make sure the hose doesn’t have a build-up of lint inside of it as well. If it does, it could prevent a fire risk. Too much lint in the vent could also indicate that the lint trap isn’t being emptied every time. Here’s a look at how you can remove the dryer hose to check for lint build-up.
- Water Heater Flush: Flushing the water heater is another task that can be worth doing annually. This can help to extend its life and help it to work more efficiently as well. See how to do this task.
- Leaky Faucets: Rentals often have leaky faucets. But often, a simple fix is all that’s needed to help them work like new again. Replacing the o-ring can be a good place to start. It’s fairly easy to do and hardly costs anything. This article has some tips on stopping a leaky faucet.
- Sinks and Drains: Clogged drains are never fun. But you can clean them each year, which can help to make it a bit harder for them to clog up later on. This task is easy. Take some dish soap and squirt some down the sink. Then, pour in some boiling water. Grease (and any future clogs) should now be gone!
Do It Yourself or Delegate?
A landlord can save money by going the DIY route with spring cleaning and maintenance, but sometimes the better investment is to have someone else take care of it, especially when it comes to the big things that may be beyond the realm of your expertise. For example, cleaning the roof or gutters, pruning tall trees, or anything that involves electricity are tasks that are usually better left to the professionals.
Finally, if you’re on the fence about how to handle maintenance at your rental property, consider outsourcing the job to a property management company. At Renters Warehouse, our property managers are experienced in handling inspections and maintenance and are able to ensure that experienced professionals are hired for the right jobs. Additionally, we can tackle all of the other tasks involved in overseeing a rental as well, including tenant sourcing and screening, rent collection, and more, so you can sit back and relax, without having to sweat the small stuff.
Spend more time enjoying life and less time worrying about your rental. Visit Renters Warehouse today to learn more! Get started with your free Rental Price Analysis and see how much you could be renting your property for.
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