Apartment Complex

Rental Property Maintenance

Updated October 1, 2016 . AmFam Team

When you own or manage a rental, ensuring your tenants’ safety is job one. Use this guide to keep them, and your building, as protected as possible.

When you own or manage an apartment complex or rental home, your top priority should be keeping your tenants safe. That’s where our rental property maintenance checklist comes in to help you reduce risks and keep your tenants safe.

Whether it’s making sure sidewalks are shoveled, fire detectors are working or all that appliances are in proper order, keeping up with rental property maintenance schedules can be a tad overwhelming. Use this list to keep your rental in top shape so your renters are always as safe as possible.

Preventative Maintenance for Your Rental Property

Landlords and property managers have a responsibility to maintain their rental units so the space is a safe place for their tenants and visitors. And the benefits of performing regular maintenance tasks can influence prospective tenants too. When your rentals look great and the exterior of your building is properly maintained, property owners can find it easier to show their property.

Here are a few residential property preventative maintenance tips that can help keep your buildings operating smoothly and more safely in the long run:

Sweep common areas every day. It’s important to inspect the building and property daily to ensure cleanliness and housekeeping. Also check that tenants don’t store personal belongings on or around stairways, in order to keep exits clear in case of an emergency. You’ll also help to avoid a violation if the fire inspector shows up unexpectedly.

Test the fire alarm systems. Inspect the fire alarm pull box stations weekly to ensure they’re working. Remember: smart smoke alarms, carbon monoxide detectors, fire alarm systems, sprinkler systems and elevators should also be tested at least once a month. Replace those detector batteries yearly or according to their manufacturer’s recommendations.

Inspect the pedestrian areas and parking lots. Look at the building, sidewalk and parking lot for any damage or vandalism, and repair as necessary. Next, tackle the details in the common areas. Ensure that the walls, windows, handrails, carpeting and flooring are in good shape.

Test all lighting, inside and out. Check interior and exterior lighting and replace fixtures and bulbs as necessary. Verify that emergency lighting is also working properly.

Check security systems and locks. Keep tenants safe by ensuring all security locks and security cameras are working properly.

Verify tenants have renters insurance. Requiring that your tenants have renters insurance benefits everyone. While you’re visiting with your tenants, request a copy of their renters policy for your review.

Manage Tenant Wear and Tear With Regular Maintenance

Tenants will take their toll on any living space. Over time, regular wear and tear can turn small problems into major issues if maintenance isn’t performed consistently over the years. Here are a few small rental property maintenance tasks that — when performed regularly — can help prevent big problems.

Eliminate the lint in the laundry room and vents. One easy way to prevent a call to the fire department? Dryer upkeep. Vacuum the back of clothes dryers to eliminate lint build-up, and check that lint screens are not clogged or blocked. Post signs requesting that tenants clean the lint out of the dryers after each use.

Check window and door seals. Schedule time with your tenant to inspect each unit’s doors and windows. When they don’t close correctly, they can let in the elements and increase energy costs for you and your tenants. Your tenants will be more comfortable on hot and humid days with the air conditioning on and on winter days when the rental’s nice and toasty.

Replace the furnace filters. Consult your owner’s manual for details on how frequently you should swap out the filters and perform regular inspections/maintenance.

Mother Nature and Your Real Estate Investment

One errant tree root that’s biting into a plumbing line on your property can really put a cramp in your day. Here’s where regular maintenance can come to your rescue — and help to prevent plumbing emergencies and other issues from happening. Here are a few tips to manage your property and natural world around it.

Combat the elements. Maintain green spaces by controlling grass and weed growth. Remove snow and ice from sidewalks and parking lots promptly and keep them salted or sanded in slippery weather.

Scope out your plumbing. As part of your annual unit inspection have maintenance personnel bring in a rented video scope and inspect the condition of your plumbing lines. When sediment builds up, blockages can occur. If you find any troublesome roots infiltrating a pipe, deal with the problem right away — before your whole building’s impacted by the trouble.

Manage stairwells and icy conditions. Staying mindful of tripping hazards that result from wear and tear is a great way to keep liabilities to a minimum. This is particularly true around stairways, both in-unit and in common areas. Look for ice buildup on exterior stairways and keep salt or sand nearby to manage it as necessary.

Hand Off Big Jobs to the Pros

It’s important to know when a maintenance job is just not suited for you or your crew. Schedule a work order for a yearly inspection, cleaning and maintenance of electrical wiring, heating systems, chimneys, water heaters and emergency sprinkler systems. If your building has an elevator, contact a professional to have it inspected each year.

Keep Evacuation Details Posted

Put together a one-pager on your building’s emergency plan and post it where tenants pick up their mail. Make time to knock on doors and review the document with them so they’ll know what to do if something happens. Ensure all tenants have your contact information and a way to report maintenance issues, should they arise.

Congrats on being a proactive landlord! By following these guidelines, your hard work and smart thinking will get noticed and appreciated by your happy tenants. While you’re crafting a maintenance schedule for your rental property, remember to get in touch with your American Family Insurance agent. (Opens in a new tab) They can help you identify important ways to save on your premiums. And remember: happy tenants lead to happy landlords!

This article is for informational purposes only and based on information that is widely available. This information does not, and is not intended to, constitute legal advice. You should contact an attorney for legal advice specific to your situation.

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