Preventative Maintenance 101: Keeping Your Terre Haute Rental in Tip Top Shape

System - Monday, December 18, 2017
If conducted properly, preventative maintenance can actually save you a lot of money. Being a property manager, I consider there to be two different types of maintenance in a rental property: reactive maintenance and preventative maintenance.

Reactive Maintenance vs. Preventative Maintenance

Reactive maintenance is when you’re responding to something that has been brought to your attention. Perhaps the tenant has let you know that something is wrong with the property. At that point, you are reacting to the issue. Preventative maintenance is something you notice before it becomes a problem. You can correct it and save a lot of money in the long run.

Types of Preventative Maintenance

We’ve got six examples to give you an idea of what to look for in preventative maintenance issues. 
  • Door Stops 
The proper placement of door stops is important. These cost $2. If you place them properly, you’ll eliminate the door handle from touching any other surface. If the door handle slams against the wall, it will eventually make a hole where the door handle makes contact. That means you’ll need to patch the drywall. So, the $2 door stop makes financial sense and protects your walls. 
  • Caulking 
Proper caulking around tubs, showers, vanities, kitchen tops, and sinks can go a long way. The caulk isn’t expensive. Make sure everything is caulked properly. If we don’t caulk the tub properly, the floor can become spongy and we’ll have to replace the subfloor. Just spending a few dollars on the caulk can prevent that expensive repair. It’s a better fix.  
  • Furnace Filters 
Any heating and cooling professional will tell you that one of the key items to the life expectancy of a heating and cooling unit is proper replacement of furnace filters. Make sure you’re replacing them and your maintenance staff is checking them. If your tenant has this responsibility, make sure you note when they should do that, whether it’s every month or every three months. You might even consider supplying a box of filters for the tenant. Ask them to change the filter every time they pay the rent. That sets a good reminder. A box of filters is cheaper than one service call to have a technician go out and tell you the furnace filters need to be replaced. It’s a small cost up front, but it saves you a lot in the long run. 
  • Gutters 
Make sure your gutters are properly attached to the home. We see a lot of gutters that come away from the home. A simple re-attach will save you from replacing that whole piece of gutter. Once a gutter hits the ground, the aluminum will bend and flex so it cannot go back onto the home. That will require an expensive replacement. So, make sure your gutters are attached. 
  • Plumbing Leaks 
Address any plumbing leak as soon as you find them. Here, we have a process to determine if there are any plumbing leaks at the property. As landlords, we often go to a property when the tenant says there’s a leak. Once you’re there, you’ll notice the entire bottom of the sink has begun rotting. So, it’s obviously been leaking for months. Check for and correct those issues right away. 

  • Landscaping 
The lease should dictate how the landscaping is to be maintained. If the tenants need to cut the grass, make sure it’s being done. Inspect the bushes, hedges, and other vegetation. There are city codes that a tenant has to follow. If they cannot, you have to take care of it. Just do it before it becomes a bigger issue than simply cutting the grass.

Preventative Maintenance Methods

At Complete Landlord Solutions, we have four methods of preventative maintenance. 
  • Reactive Maintenance
Call Awareness When we go over for a reactive call, we also look for preventative issues that may come up. Maybe there’s a chirping smoke detector. That’s a safety issue, so we’ll make sure the battery is replaced. Our maintenance personnel are trained to look for key preventative items. 
  • Spring and Fall Inspections 
We do an exterior inspection of the home every spring and fall. During these inspections, we’re looking at the gutters and the roof, as well as the windows, siding, and landscaping. We’re looking for anything that needs to be corrected. 
  • Move-In Inspections 
Move-in inspections are important. Conduct as much of your maintenance as you can before a tenant moves in. Try to set yourself up for success from the beginning and look for preventative items. 
  • Renewal Inspections 
Any time a tenant renews a lease, we go to the property and do an inspection. We’ll look for preventative maintenance items that we can address up front. It’s way less costly than waiting for something to get worse. 

If you have any questions about rental home maintenance or property management in Terre Haute, please make sure you contact us at Complete Landlord Solutions.