It’s seems all to common that landlords maintain better care of the home they live in, than the one they rent out. It’s seems rather odd considering what’s at stake. Not maintaining a rental property could lead to unhappy tenants that move out due to the lack of upkeep. Further it could and often does lead to costly repairs that could have been handled at a much lower cost if addressed sooner rather than later. If a major issue occurs which makes the property inhabitable until repairs are concluded, landlords could be responsible for temporary housing for their tenants which can sometimes be more costly than the repairs. Keeping up on the maintenance of a rental property is not only a wise decision, it’s the law, at least to some degree.
But what exactly should be regularly checked and maintained to avoid costly repairs in the future? Good question.
Here are 9 Tips for Maintaining an Investment Property to Avoid Costly Repairs
1. Wood homes Should Be Treated on the Exterior to Avoid Softening
Elements of the outdoor like rain, snow and wind can break down the wood leaving it soft and penetrable. Treating it regularly with a sealant will prevent moisture from soaking in and causing damage to the wood which can only be replaced not repaired.
2. Regularly Check the Foundation Around the Outside of the Home.
Ensure that it maintains a slope that points downward away from the house. This prevents flooding during heavy rains that could not only damage your property but also a tenants belongings within the home.
3. Regularly Clean out the Gutters Along the Edge of the Roof to Avoid Water Buildup.
Water build-up will eventually find a way inside the home thru the walls. This presents a multitude of problems from mold growth to electrical issues, both of which are costly to remedy.
4. Check all Windows and Door For Gaps.
Seal any areas needed with a weather/waterproof sealant to keep water from coming inside the house and to cut down on the cost of electric bills in the winter and summer months.
5. Inspect Trees Around the Property.
Dead trees or those with leaning branches should be removed or trimmed to avoid falling on the house. Though you may not think it will happen, you’d be surprised what a little wind from a storm can do.
6. Careful and Regular Inspection of the Roof
Areas missing shingles or where the tar is worn thin should be repaired promptly to avoid water entering the interior of the home or worse causing moisture to exist that eventually leads to mold. It can also be dangerous should the roof cave in while tenants are living there. Injuries occur frequently from home disasters like this. This would also warrant the home inhabitable and you footing the bill for alternate housing for your tenants until the repairs were completed. Doubtful they would be paying rent during this time also so factor that into your costs of avoiding this important maintenance task.
7. Inspect/Clean out any Wood Burning Fireplace Chimneys to Avoid the Potential For a Fire.
Build-up of creosote is a common cause of house fires. For houses in colder climates which sustain frequent use of the fireplace should have it inspected at least once a year.
8. Heating and Air Conditioning Cleaned and Inspected Once Per Year
Additionally tenants should hold the responsibility of changing the filters regularly outlined in the lease terms. A discussion about this responsibility is worthwhile also. Regular filter changes put less stress on the system and allow more years of use before failure. They also run more efficiently with clean filters.
9. Inspect Any Existing Crawlspaces in the Home for Moisture Build-Up or Standing Water
Moisture or a musty smell can be indicative of a problem with leaking pipes. In the case of standing water, do not enter the crawlspace, instead call a professional to handle it. Electrical wiring may exist where there is water making it a very dangerous area. Wait for a professional.