Maintaining a new rental property can come with a laundry list of responsibilities and surprising tasks. Whether you’re new to owning property or a seasoned landlord, it can be challenging to habituate. Still it’s important to remember that  consistent property maintenance helps sustain, even increase, your property’s value, your overall revenue,  and most importantly, renter satisfaction. 

We at Rhino have compiled several different strategies to help property owners and managers maintain their rental homes or multifamily apartment complexes across their lifespan and attract new renters while avoiding major maintenance issues.

How to maintain your rental property

Your initial maintenance checklist 

Rental property maintenance begins right after you buy! As soon as you come into a new property or invest in new real estate, you will need to handle key maintenance activities to make your home habitable for renters! 

Image of a property manager doing maintenance on the sink in their rental property kitchen.
  • Conduct exterior and interior inspections: You should have your property inspected before acquiring it, both on the exterior and the interior of your property. This initial assessment will help you understand the base-level within the home. Also, make sure to check any common areas if you own a building with multiple units.

  • Read up on landlord-renter laws: It’s important to understand the specific codes and building laws that you’re expected to uphold within your building. They can change based on location and building type, so be prepared to understand all of the local laws.

  • Consider hiring a property manager: The day-to-day requirements of renting out a property can be a lot to handle. Assigning those daily tasks to a property manager you trust can take a lot of work off of your plate. Consider the needs for your building(s), and list the tasks that you’d require of your manager in your listings. 

  • Be prepared to repair: Acquire a set of tools and basic equipment to be set aside for you, your property manager and renters to use in small fix it cases. Have a fund for emergency repairs and regular maintenance costs so surprises won’t drain your accounts. If you have the skills, tools, and time to do a DIY repair, you can do them to lower your expenses. You can also save money for repairs that absolutely require professionals (e.g. HVAC systems installation, hiring pest control to deal with an infestation).

Image of a property manager completing outdoor repairs with a drill and a face mask on

How to make maintenance consistent, year after year

There might be occasional repairs that can’t be considered “routine” maintenance, but you can prevent most major structural problems with consistent check-ins, assessing the health of pipes, roofs, and other parts of your property’s infrastructure. 

And remember handling everyday wear and tear is ultimately a landlord’s responsibility, and doing so proactively, before renters come to you with maintenance requests, will help foster a healthy environment and prevent normal wear from turning into an emergency. The more on top of it you are, the more trust your renters will have in you.

Creating maintenance schedules for larger ticket items will spread out these tasks, so it’s less overwhelming and easier to manage. 

  • Exterminate regularly: Extermination is a preventative measure that ensures you won’t have a larger bug problem at a later point. Protecting all of your units on a set schedule will also keep your renters at ease.  

  • Check for water damage and leaks: Check the main building or house pipes several times a year, especially after hard snowfalls or rain. This will prevent lasting water damage, mold and other problems. When an apartment is empty between renters, turn the water off to prevent leaks. 

  • Change air system filters: You should be changing the air filters at least twice a year. Renters may not keep track of this themselves, and will rely on you to keep the air clean. Investing in an eco-friendly and high efficiency filter can save you money in the long run.

  • Flush water heater: Once a year you should schedule a day to drain your property’s water heater to avoid sediment build up within the water supply. Be sure to give renters advance notice of your scheduled maintenance!

  • Test smoke/carbon monoxide detectors: Detectors should be tested on a monthly basis as these can be life savers in emergency situations. We know that renters ignore their detector batteries or even remove them, but it’s important to check on these for their safety and yours. 

  • Track maintenance expenses: While you are planning your maintenance calendar for the year, try to prepare a budget with your estimated expenses per property or per unit. Typically, a property should use 1.5 times the monthly rental income for annual maintenance expenses. If you’re in need of guidance on the finances of property management as well as accounting and bookkeeping hints, look no further!

Image of a property owner on the roof of a house and using a leaf blower to clear the gutters

There are many benefits to creating a consistent rental maintenance schedule. Providing a habitable and safe housing structure for your renters will increase their trust in you. Maintaining your property also sets a standard of care, encouraging your renters to assist in upkeep and respect their rental home. A well-maintained property is more attractive to prospective renters, reducing the time of vacancy for a rental unit.  And remember: Fixing problems before they exist will relieve you of future bills in the situations where damage becomes a larger problem to pay for later.

Maintaining your property can be challenging when using cash security deposits to cover the cost of repairs or damage caused by a renter. When you partner with Rhino, you can customize the coverage amount you need for each rental unit and file a claim for damage (and unpaid rent) after the renter moves out. Rhino can help you reduce bad debt and keep repairs ongoing and on time. Contact us today to learn more.

Headshot of Conor Baker, copywriter at Rhino.
Conor Baker

Conor Baker is a copywriter at Rhino who is passionate about progress. His hobbies include dismantling security deposits, blindfolded.