Taking care of your Philadelphia rental home is just as important as caring for the home you actually live in.
Yet, time and again, property owners either fall behind on general maintenance of their rental properties, or expect their tenants to handle everything – both of which are a bad idea.
Keeping your investment property in tiptop shape is one way of extending the life of your property, as well as avoiding any major repairs.
If you want your property to last, despite people of all kinds moving in and out of it over time, you must commit to implementing a routine maintenance plan.
Take a look at some of the very best ways you can handle rental property maintenance, so that your Philadelphia rental property withstands the test of time, and continues to generate a positive cash flow for you each year.
Maintenance Tips for Keeping Your Philadelphia Rental Property in Exceptional Shape
1. Take Advantage of Pest Control
There has been a longstanding serious debate as to whether pest control is an issue for property owners or tenants to handle during a lease term.
However, the consensus is that prior to move-in, a property owner is responsible for providing a safe and habitable place for tenants.
This means you must ensure your Philadelphia rental is free of all pests and rodents before a tenant moves in.
From there, it is your tenant’s job to ensure that a pest or rodent infestation does not take over.
Seems fair enough, right?
Of course it does.
However, just because it is your tenant’s responsibility to make sure pests haven’t overtaken your rental property, does not mean they are being proactive about pest control.
And, when it comes to pests, being ahead of the game is the key to winning.
If you want to avoid dealing with the excessive damage that a major pest or rodent infestation can have on the structure of your rental property, consider having an exterminator regularly visit your property (approximately every two months), regardless of whose job pest control is.
Though with this approach there is a cost involved that eats into your bottom line, it is worthwhile in the long run.
A pest or rodent infestation can not only cause you to lose a tenant come renewal time, thus leading to higher turnover and vacancy rates, the damage pests such as termites can do to your property is astounding.
And, even with the best of intentions, your tenants may not be equipped to handle routine pest control on their own.
By helping them out a little, you provide your tenants extra customer service (which can go a long way with a lease renewal), and provide yourself the peace of mind your property is pest free.
2. Perform Routine Inspections
This is a major one.
Routine inspections can have a profound impact on the longevity of your rental property, no matter the time of year you conduct them.
Check for things like water leaks, broken windows, rotting wood, or full gutters while inspecting the exterior of your property.
Tenants are likely to miss these kinds of issues during the course of their tenancy, especially if they are not taking an active role in property maintenance.
After all, many tenants that do participate in property maintenance assume that “maintenance” includes just the interior.
By regularly monitoring the exterior of your investment property, you will be able to spot problem areas before they become major issues.
This will not only help ensure the structure of your property stays sound throughout the year, it will prevent costly repairs down the line that may displace your tenants, and dip into your monthly rent collection.
3. Hire a Landscaper
Unless you are absolutely sure the tenant you have placed in your rental property is capable of maintaining both the front and backyard landscaping, consider hiring a professional landscaper to do the job instead.
Look at some of the benefits you reap by having a well-kept yard:
- A visually appealing space you, your tenants, and neighbors can be proud of
- Help cool your neighborhood from sweltering summer heat
- Absorb surrounding noise
- Improve drainage and prevent sidewalk cracking, foundation slipping, and flooded areas
- Trap pollutants in the air, and create more oxygen
- Increase property value
- Create an inviting “getaway” that tenants can enjoy year round
- Prevent major pest infestations
- Create great curb appeal to attract future tenants
The truth is, no one wants to look at a yard full of overgrown shrubs, trees, and weeds.
And, the fact that your tenants would likely love to have a nice backyard they can enjoy throughout the year makes hiring a professional landscaper even more appealing.
4. Care for the HVAC System
One of the biggest repairs any Philadelphia income property owner can face is the repair (or replacement!) of an entire HVAC system.
This is why routine care is key.
Look at some things you can do year round to help maintain your property’s HVAC system, and prevent a major financial burden down the road:
- Professional Servicing. Have the system professionally serviced at least once a year. This includes a full cleaning, and the maintenance of any parts that are outdated or worn. In doing so, you will save your tenants money each month on energy costs, improve the air quality throughout your property, and prevent emergency repair needs.
- Help Your Tenants. It is not enough to simply tell your tenants they are responsible for maintaining something like the HVAC system. Instead, try providing them with replacement air filters so all they have to do is change them out each month. In addition, giving your tenant a welcome package upon move-in is a great way to slip in a routine maintenance checklist, complete with instructions on how to maintain the HVAC system and what to do in case something breaks.
- Duct Sealing. Every few years consider having your property’s HVAC ducts re-sealed. This will ensure the system continues to work efficiently and prevent any “backdrafting” that may physically harm your tenants. In addition, it will prevent extreme temperatures from plaguing specific rooms, boost air quality, protect the environment, and of course, save you money in the long run.
5. Don’t Forget the Water Heater
Another rental property maintenance issue that is often overlooked is the water heater.
And, if you have ever had to replace the water heater in your Philadelphia rental, you know firsthand how expensive the actual heater is, as well as how damaging a flooded water heater can be to a tenant’s personal belongings, and the structure of your property.
Here are some easy ways to maintain your property’s water heater:
- Adjust the thermostat to approximately 120 degrees to prevent scalding, and to save your tenant’s money on energy costs
- Ensure enough clearance around the tank
- Drain the tank a few times a year to remove sediment build-up and debris
- Test the temperature-pressure relief valve yearly
- Inspect the anode rod every few years
- Insulate the heater, especially if an older model
Just remember, if you are uncomfortable with performing any of the above-mentioned maintenance tasks, call a professional to help service your water heater.
In the end, maintaining the shape of your Philadelphia rental property largely relies on your ability to work with your tenants when it comes to routine maintenance tasks.
There are also several things you can do on your own to guarantee your property lasts a long time without needing any major improvements or repairs.
If you own property in the Philadelphia area, and want help with routine maintenance of your rental, contact Bay Management Group today and have our professional, qualified, and affordable handymen and contractors help you out.
Not only can we handle any maintenance or repair requests your tenants make during their lease term, day or night, we can help you with maintaining your property in between tenants so that your property stays in great shape year round.