As a landlord, you probably already know the amount of maintenance it takes to keep the property in good condition. Even though routine maintenance can be time-consuming, they help prevent repairs that, if left alone, can be costly. Let’s review the best practices for regular preventative maintenance that landlords should do while a tenant resides in the property.
Landlord’s Property Maintenance Responsibilities
There is specific maintenance that landlords are responsible for by law to provide a safe living space for tenants. Here is a list of landlord maintenance tasks that all landlords should complete to both protect the value of their property and avoid unwanted outcomes, including tenant disputes and potential litigation.
Follow All Building Codes & Laws
Building codes and laws make sure that tenants are living in a safe and healthy environment which include:
- Installing and maintaining smoke and carbon dioxide detectors
- Assuring the proper function of internal plumbing, including toilets, showers, sinks, and drains
- Maintaining a properly working water heater
- Verifying that electrical systems, including wiring, outlets, and breakers are safely working and compliant with local codes
- Preventing and, if necessary, addressing mold, lead, asbestos, or pest issues
- Seeing to the general safety of your rental unit, i.e., staircases must have handrails, and doors must have working locks
Proper Trash Receptacle
Landlords are responsible for providing tenants with a place to put their garbage. Depending on where your rental is located, you may have to provide a cordoned-off area where tenants can place trash.
Maintain Common Areas of the Property
Landlords are required to maintain common areas. Common area maintenance can include but is not limited to:
- Maintaining outdoor landscaping
- Snow & ice removal
- Assuring safe and secure entrance and egress to your rental, such as stable and clear stairs, and appropriate lighting in entryways & hallways
- Guaranteeing that no hazardous material or other safety hazards that might not be safe for tenants are present on the rental property
Perform Repairs That May Be of Concern to Tenants
Property owners must address and handle reasonable repairs that tenants have requested. While most landlords are expert DIY’ers, keeping a list of go-to vendors to help with repairs around the property is an essential best practice for assuring timely repairs, including dealing with urgent issues that may result in long-term damage to your property. Think of the importance of having a 24-hour plumber on hand to stop a leak before water damage occurs.
Landlords know that owning a rental isn’t a passive investment, but properly and proactively maintaining a properly, including employing these best practices doesn’t have to be a full-time job. Regular inspections of your property will surface most issues before they place your investment at risk; and proactive, occasional communication with your tenants will not only keep you up-to-date with the state of your rental, it will demonstrate that you care about the upkeep of your property—and that they should, too.