As a Property Manager, it’s your job to maintain the property and keep it in working order. Not only does this help to keep your units full, but you can price appropriately and hope to have less turnover with long-term clients. Maintenance requests can come at any time for any reason and are ultimately unpredictable. We’ve put together a couple of useful checklists to prevent issues and maintain your property to keep it safe and secure for everyone.
With proper preventative maintenance, property managers can avoid any unforeseen issues by addressing them before they become an issue.
Apartment buildings are likely going to have a flat roof. A flat roof is used on commercial buildings that don’t have a peaked roof. They are built at a very slight degree slant so rainwater and debris can flow down to the gutters and off the roof. They should be inspected at least once a year to ensure it works properly. If the rubber membrane is cracked, peeling away, or looks sunken in any place, it could be a sign of failure. If water cannot run off the roof properly, it can cause leaks and even collapses.
Also, check the gutters and downspouts to make sure they are clear of debris. This is especially important after a stormy season or after fall when leaves can fill the gutters. If these are clogged when the snowmelt comes, it can be a disaster.
It’s imperative to check every smoke alarm in the building as just one small fire in a unit can spread through the building if those alarm systems are not working. The carbon monoxide detectors are in the large basement are also essential and should be placed strategically in places with high-risk of carbon monoxide like the boiler room.
Running a fire drill for the residents is also part of an emergency preparedness plan you should have. Each resident should know where they go to evacuate in the event of a fire or carbon monoxide detection.
Water heaters need regular maintenance to run correctly and last till the end of their lifespan. It’s crucial to inspect these each year and flush them so they can be free of debris. If that went out unexpectedly, you would have a lot of upset residents without hot water.
With such an extensive air duct system in an apartment building, you are going to need some hefty air filtration in both the furnace and throughout your HVAC system. These are recommended to be changed every six months, especially in a place where a lot of air is circulating. These filters collect dust mites and other debris that flow through the air ducts. Without changing these, they can get filled with dust, and your HVAC system will not work as efficiently.
Check for signs of mice, rats, termites, or other pesky rodents. Signs of pecan be finding droppings in the basement, frayed wires in the control room, or holes chewed in baseboards or ceiling tiles. If you need to have an exterminator come each year to ensure the safety of your tenants and the condition of your building, that can be a good thing to invest in. It will be far less hassle than having to bug bomb the building or exterminate an infestation.
Regularly check for any leaks or water damage on the property as well as in resident units. When a resident moves out, take a peek at the ceilings and the walls of the bathroom to make sure any units above are not experiencing a leak. Those leaks above cause water damage to the units below and near them. Also in the boiler room, basement, or underground garage are good places to check for any water damage. You don’t want sitting water in the basement as it can lead to mold and mildew, which is unsafe for people to be around and can affect the integrity of your building.
Caulking that seals the sides of the tub or shower can wear away with time, and by refreshing it or replacing it every once and a while can help prevent those critical leaks and water damage that can get behind the tub and cause a much bigger issue. Plus, it can make the shower look good as new.
If you allow tenants to hang shelves, pictures, or other decor, make sure to patch those holes and re-paint. It may seem like a tedious task if the next tenant is going to do the same thing, but fixing these helps preserve the condition of your units as well as makes it look brand new for the next person. It can keep pests from getting into the walls and causing more significant problems.
Nobody likes a creaky door or a crooked door. If a door is creaking or has trouble closing, this can cause damage to the frame or the latch. You want tenants to be able to get privacy and feel secure with a front door that locks appropriately. Check these regularly as tenants move in and out.
One of the leading causes of fires in homes is the dryer lint trap and the dryer vent that leads outside. Those vents get riddled with lint and debris and are a definite fire hazard. Clean these out regularly, mainly since so many residents use them. Don’t forget to check in-unit dryers as well.
The last thing you want to do is have to completely re-do the floors more often than you need to. You should inspect flooring for small flaws and patch those or repair those singularly. This both keeps the floors looking nice and new, and also prevents any further damage.
If you have a building that doesn’t allow pets or smoking, or any other list of rules—keep your eyes peeled for violations of this. You can tell pretty quickly by smell if a tenant is smoking in their units or even on the balcony. It is vital for the overall health and safety of your tenants as well as the integrity of your property to ensure no one is violating these terms. Have a plan for when or if you catch a tenant doing this. Whether you issue a warning or decide to terminate on the spot, you should have a clearly stated plan to handle this as these issues arise.
When you do a walk-through with a new resident, there are a few key things you should go over with them as one final stamp of approval. Many tenants will come with their list of things they want to check, but it’s your job to ensure everything is in working order.
Run the water in the kitchen, bathroom, tub, shower, and anywhere else you have a running faucet or fixture. Allow the tenants to check the cold and hot water as well as the pressure. This will save you tons of time if you check this off the list beforehand rather than receiving a maintenance request after move-in that there is an issue.
Check the doors and locks to make sure they close and lock properly. This will help make the tenant feel secure and take care of any quick fixes right away.
Flush the toilet. Make sure it flushes properly and doesn’t run afterward.
Check the blinds to make sure they are intact and pull up and down correctly. Blinds can easily break, and it’s a straightforward fix to re-install them early on, so you don’t have broken or fallen blinds. Check any curtain rods to ensure they are sturdy in the wall and won’t pull out and ruin the drywall.
If you have done your work to patch any holes or cracks in the walls, you should be in good shape. Mostly this can help the tenants rest easy knowing any damage to the walls that were there when they moved in was not their fault.
Do a final walk-through with the tenant to look for any discrepancies on the flooring, especially carpet. People may try to do their own carpet cleaning to keep from losing a security deposit, so keep a close eye on that and let the tenant alert you of any things they see.
Lastly, test the oven, stove burners, microwave, dishwasher, and fridge. Thes should all be in working order before move-in and is probably on the top of a renters list. Check all four burners of the stove, make sure the oven is clean, and the door and bottom drawer open and close properly. Run the dishwasher if they want to, otherwise assure them that any issues after move-in can be reported right away.
Taking steps to prevent maintenance issues of your property can save you so much time and money. It can also save time for your residents when they don’t have to leave their apartment or be disrupted during maintenance requests. The upkeep of your property is essential for maintaining vacancy and controlling how much you can charge for rent. Follow these steps and take these precautions, and you should be in good shape.
At Bigos, we uphold our properties to the highest quality and pride ourselves on the integrity of our units. To see our available units, check out our website!