Rather than waiting for tenants to report every problem, having a proactive approach to your assets will save you money in the long run. Most Philadelphia landlords are aware of the benefits of cleaning, making repairs promptly, and performing proper maintenance on items such as roofs and gutters. However, several less obvious things can be done that offers a great return on your time and expense. Here is a list of rental property maintenance tips that will help you save money over time, so you make the most of your investments.
1. Caulk is Critical
Silicone, latex, and acrylic caulk aren’t the most visible features in a home, but they have a very important job: preventing water from causing damage to areas that are not made to get wet—especially those we can’t see. Corroded or missing caulk will allow water to enter areas behind shower stalls, bathtubs, toilets, and sinks and damage drywall, wood, and other porous structures. Caulk should be replaced every year around these fixtures, and grout should be cleaned around the tile to prevent corrosion. While you’re checking this task off your list, check all the water sources in the unit to make sure there are no leaks and drips that will run up the water bill.
2. Furnace Filters
It is recommended that furnace filters are replaced every month while the appliance is under heavy use, and if it’s only being used occasionally, every three months is standard. If filters and ducts are left dirty, they will begin to fill with debris. Over time, this will cause the HVAC system to work harder, ultimately increasing utility bills. When you leave cleaning the filters to your tenants, you pose the risk that they purchase the incorrect size, type, or product altogether. Instead, buy washable, non-disposable furnace filters that tenants can clean and replace. That way, they don’t have to make a trip to the store or remember any critical details when it comes time to replace them.
3. Toilet Care
Toilets are one of the busiest fixtures in a home, but nobody likes to think too much about them until something goes wrong. Instead, by keeping up with the mechanical parts, you can prevent any running water problems that may lead to high utility bills and long-term damage. All the mechanical parts should be replaced annually as part of the building’s regular maintenance. The installation process is simple and can be performed by a handyman rather than an expensive plumber.
4. Pest Control
Bug infestations are not only gross, but they can also cause damage to your property. Termites are one of the nastiest pests as they actively work behind the scenes to eat away at your investment. In many cases, an infestation may not be noticed until the damage is substantial, and the cost to repair is sky-high. Instead, invest in an inexpensive annual treatment program that will prevent these infestations and keep the structure of your property protected. You’ll want to make sure you use professional services here, as many of the commonly available treatment options are not as effective as professional-grade treatments. Plus, professionals know the correct application techniques to ensure pests stay out without harming your tenants and their pets.
5. Exhaust Vent Cleaning
Whether you have a large building with a central laundry room or individual washers and dryers in each home, maintaining the ventilation system is a must. The buildup of dust and lint in the dryer exhaust system can pose a serious fire hazard and could lead to a critical loss of property and injury to your tenants. Dirty ventilation can cause the system to overheat and the motor and other parts of the dryer to burn out, resulting in repair or replacement. Avoid all of these hassles by having the ventilation system cleaned every year. While you’re tending to this task, it’s a great time to test smoke and carbon monoxide detectors in the area to be sure the batteries are fresh, and the devices are working properly.
An Ounce of Prevention…
…is worth a pound of cure. There’s a reason why these old sayings stick around: because there’s plenty of truth in them. Rather than waiting for problems to grow big enough for tenants to report or for your maintenance crew to discover upon inspection, getting ahead will save you in the long run. Not only are you keeping your buildings in top shape, but you’re also saving yourself the expense of hiring emergency crews with expensive rates—especially for late night and weekend repairs.
If keeping track of your maintenance tasks is becoming more than you care to handle, leave it to the property management experts! At Bay Management Group, we’re experienced with managing rental properties in the Philadelphia area, and our expertise lies in making property ownership profitable and pleasurable for the owners. To learn more, contact BMG today.