Apartment management demands serious multitasking, whether you care for the building yourself or outsource the tasks to a rental property manager.
Apartment property maintenance has a far-reaching impact on value and profitability. Potential tenants are looking for a property with an attractive appearance and will readily pass a seemingly old or dilapidated rental property. Proper care and attention are the tickets to sustaining your property’s visual appeal and high occupancy rate. In the end, you get an edge over the completion and enjoy a steady income.
With the advancement in construction technology, it is easy to assume that apartments are maintenance-free. The developments include maintenance-free products, finishes among paints, and advanced mechanical equipment. But these advances only minimize the amount of routine maintenance, not eliminate the need for maintenance.
That said, maintaining an apartment is not as simple as addressing issues as they happen; else, you will need to dig deeper into your pockets to address what needs to be done. It, therefore, becomes necessary to create and implement a comprehensive apartment maintenance plan. You not only prevent (or at least limit) the need for sudden repairs but also boost tenant satisfaction and confidence and preserve the beauty and comfort of your rental property.
With the above in mind, join us, the RTI Properties team, in the discussion below about creating an effective property maintenance plan. Let us start with an overview of this critical part of rental property management.
Table of Contents
- » Maintenance Plan – the Essentials
- » Type of Rental Property Maintenance
- » How to Approach a Property Maintenance Plan
- » The Bottom Line
Maintenance Plan – the Essentials
Whether you live in your rental property or rent through a property management agency, it is essential to recognize the property’s uniqueness. Therefore, you must approach your maintenance uniquely, considering all the aspects of the building and its systems. This demands that the plan be customized to the apartment requirements, maintenance team, management team, and the residents.
A good property maintenance plan considers the overall condition of the building. Not only that, but it also outlines the measures needed to make your rental property safe, clean, and decent.
Another critical part of apartment property maintenance is an inspection plan. It includes everything you need to monitor in the property. It would be best if you were thorough with an inspection plan to ensure nothing is left out. Beyond the obvious elements of the checklist like windows, HVAC systems, front steps, and roof, you will also want to consider the less obvious things like trees.
Type of Rental Property Maintenance
As mentioned earlier, a comprehensive property maintenance plan should cover all aspects of keeping your rental building in top shape. It, therefore, makes sense to understand all types of rental maintenance and cover each in your plan. According to property management pros in Los Angeles, the primary types of maintenance for rental properties are:
» Routine Maintenance
Routine maintenance refers to the frequent/minor-in-nature maintenance tasks performed to prevent future issues. The services include basic upkeep such as cleaning, electrical and HVAC maintenance, and trimming trees.
Routine maintenance tasks are generally low-cost and low-impact and are designed to forestall the need for emergency and corrective maintenance.
Depending on the nature of the tasks, regular maintenance can be performed by an outsourced specialist or an in-house property management staff. For example, in-house staff can handle basic cleaning and landscaping. However, HVAC, plumbing, and electrical maintenance typically require the services of licensed specialists.
» Emergency Maintenance
Emergency maintenance applies to issues that need immediate attention- typically issues that could pose a health/safety risk or cost you or the tenant a substantial amount of money.
For instance, HVAC system failure during a heatwave would make residents extremely uncomfortable. In such a case, you need to call for HVAC repair services in the soonest time possible to prevent health issues like heatstroke.
Another emergency is the floor collapsing, which often comes with a serious risk of bodily injury. Other events that may be considered an emergency include plumbing leaks, broken entry doors, pest infestation, and a broken heater.
Often, emergency maintenance requires the intervention of licensed contractors rather than in-house staff.
» Seasonal Maintenance
These maintenance tasks are unique to the annual seasons and vary depending on the location of the rentals.
- Inspecting the roof
- Fixing or replacing damaged window screens
- Servicing the HVAC
- Cleaning gutters and exterior vents
- Sprucing up the landscape
- Testing thermostat
- Checking basement ventilation
- Inspecting pipes
- Servicing the water heaters
- Checking for water damage
- Preventing frozen pipes
- Preventing rodent infiltration
- Winterizing spigots and hoses
- Snow removal
» Turnover Maintenance
Property turnover is the process of making a rental unit ready for a new renter after another moves out. Expenses for property turnover vary substantially, depending on the task involved. The tasks may include:
- Repairing damage from tenants
- Repairs related to wear and tear
- Carpet cleaning
- Professional cleaning
How to Approach a Property Maintenance Plan
» Get Your Objectives Right
When drafting a maintenance plan for your apartment building, ensure all maintenance tasks include a detailed schedule. There are tools and programs to help you schedule the activities appropriately, including Google Calendar and productivity apps. You can also set reminders using property management software. Build systematic schedules to reduce the amount of downtime associated with maintenance.
Your maintenance plan should also specify certain guidelines that should be honored by all individuals responsible for maintenance.
You should also include criteria for evaluation and quality control of maintenance labor, materials, and time to ensure the overall effectiveness of your plan.
It is wise to anticipate the cost of repairs and replacements.
A common maintenance cost estimation formula is the 1% rule. You only need to multiply your property’s overall value by 1% to obtain an approximate yearly maintenance budget. For instance, if your rental’s value is $200,000, the estimated annual maintenance cost would be $2,000.
Instead, you can use the square footage formula, which estimates the maintenance costs at $1 per square foot. So, a 5,000 square foot rental property would need at least $5,000 for regular maintenance.
Note that the above calculations are only estimates. It is, therefore, best to stash away some extra money per month for emergencies.
Along with your maintenance plan copy, keep copies of repair receipts and inspection reports. They are a great selling point for a buyer and can be useful for dispute resolution. What’s more, they are good for accounting and long-term budgeting.
» Communicate with Your Tenants
Renters generally approve when properties are kept in good shape. It is therefore essential to share the apartment property maintenance plan with your tenants. You also need to provide maintenance notice in advance and communicate realistic expectations of what will happen so renters can pan around the inconvenience, mess, or noise.
The Bottom Line
Apartment property maintenance is among the most important duties for landlords and property owners. It requires year-round effort to keep vital systems in top shape, sustain a property’s appeal, and prevent costly repairs. Work with a comprehensive rental property maintenance plan to achieve these goals.
Most landlords in Los Angeles usually leave maintenance coordination, tenant repair requests, complex inspections, and several other property management tasks to professionals. RTI Properties is a trusted and reliable property management firm in Southern California committed to the maximum satisfaction of its clients.
We have the experience, passion, and knowledge to effectively cater to all your property management needs, from property marketing, tenant acquisition, rent collection, maintenance to record-keeping. So, if you need help managing your rental property in Southern California, feel free to contact us today.