While maintenance is not an ideal task for landlords and tenants, it’s necessary for all multi-family properties. That said, property maintenance doesn’t just mean cleaning the property every once in a while, there’s more to it than that. Multi-family property maintenance includes ensuring each rental unit is safe and in working order. Let’s go over how both tenants and landlords can do their part to maintain a multi-family property.
Routine Maintenance Procedures in a Multi-Family Property
There are several routine maintenance procedures for a multi-family property like any rental building. Routine maintenance procedures are done daily, weekly, monthly, or yearly to ensure the property is up to date and functioning properly. Some of the most common multi-family property maintenance procedures include:
- Compliance with Building Codes
- Vital Services are in Working Order
- Maintain Common Areas
- Property Repairs are Fixed
- Seasonal Maintenance
Compliance with Building Codes
All rental business owners are responsible for providing a safe space to live. Ensuring safety includes compliance with all federal, state, and local building codes. Some of the most general requirements include:
- Addressing safety issues as soon as possible
- Preventing and treating mold issues
- Promptly addressing pest problems
- Install working carbon monoxide and smoke detectors
- Maintaining the structural integrity of the property
If landlords fail to keep up with building codes, they could find themselves in an unfavorable legal battle with tenants.
Vital Services are in Working Order
Before and throughout a tenancy, the vital services should be in working order. Tenants should always have access to:
- Plumbing fixtures
- Water heater
- Heat, electric, gas services
Before having tenants move in, landlords should ensure all utilities and vital services are working. Additionally, while a tenant is living in a rental property, the landlord should tend to any issues that prevent these services from working.
Maintain Common Areas
There could be several common areas in a multi-family rental property—for example, the yard, parking lot, hallways, and staircases. Landlords are responsible for maintaining these common areas and ensuring there are no safety hazards.
Common area maintenance tasks may include mowing the lawn, shoveling sidewalks, vacuuming hallways, and maintaining working lighting fixtures. Additionally, landlords should regularly monitor common areas for safety hazards and other maintenance issues.
Fix All Necessary Property Repairs
Property owners are responsible for fixing rental repairs promptly. Repairs unnoticed can lead to further damage, so it’s essential to have a sound system for reporting maintenance issues. If you need help tending to several tenant requests at once, consider property management in Philadelphia.
Additionally, it’s helpful to keep a list of contractors or vendors on hand to quickly reach out to them if you need repair services at your rental.
Seasonal maintenance in a multi-family property is incredibly crucial. That said, it’s typically the landlord’s job to tend to seasonal maintenance in a multi-family. During the summer, landlords should:
- Mow the lawn
- Water the grass
- Maintain landscaping features
- Inspect the exterior of the property
On the other hand, landlords should keep up with snow and ice removal during the winter months to keep tenants safe. After all, if a tenant gets hurt on your property because of neglected maintenance tasks, it could lead to another unfavorable situation for landlords.
Preventative Multi-Family Property Maintenance
Not only should landlords focus on routine multi-family property maintenance, but preventative maintenance is just as necessary. Taking care of these tasks now can save you time and money later. Some common preventative maintenance tasks in a multi-family rental property include:
- Check for Water Leaks and Damage
- Look for Ceiling or Drywall Cracks
- Check the Condition of the Roof and Gutters
- Examine for Pest Issues
- Check Smoke and Carbon Monoxide Detectors
- Replace HVAC Filters
Check for Water Leaks and Damage
Water damages in a rental property are a nightmare in multi-family rental properties. One small leak can create large damage to several units. Therefore, if tenants notice or report any water damages or issues, it’s crucial to tend to them right away to prevent further damage.
If water leaks or damage goes untreated, it can lead to warped walls and mold, which is a significant health hazard. Building occupants could end up getting sick, and landlords could be legally and financially responsible if the water issues were neglected.
Look for Ceiling or Drywall Cracks
Ceiling or drywall cracks can indicate foundational issues and should be examined right away. If the cracks are significant, you may want to have your rental property inspected to ensure there are no large foundational issues.
However, if the cracks are minuscule, it could just be the temperature and humidity causing the plaster to swell. Luckily, small hairline cracks are easy to cover up and typically aren’t a cause of worry.
Check the Condition of the Roof and Gutters
Checking the roof and gutters of your multi-family property is a crucial part of preventative maintenance. After the snow melts is a great time to make sure there are no leaks or damages to the roof. Debris should be removed during a roof inspection, and shingles should be inspected thoroughly to ensure there are no damages.
Additionally, the gutters should be cleaned out and in working order. Gutters can accumulate debris, snow, and ice, leading to clogs and build-up. Clearing these out so water can flow through can prevent other property damages.
Examine for Pest Issues
Pest issues can create costly repairs within a rental property. That said, rental buildings should have at least one inspection a year to ensure no pest damages are taking over. In addition, insects and rodents often look for places to live, and you don’t want your rental property to be their next home.
If pest issues arise within a rental, tenants must contact maintenance or their landlord immediately. After all, some pest issues can get out of control extremely quickly if gone untreated.
Check Smoke and Carbon Monoxide Detectors
Smoke and carbon monoxide detectors should remain in working order 100% of the time. Not only are these emergency detectors vital for safety, but they’re also crucial for building code compliance. If they’re not working, then they’re not protecting anybody.
Landlords and tenants should regularly test these devices to ensure they are working correctly. If not, landlords should replace the batteries or provide new working detectors.
Replace HVAC Filters
HVAC repairs can be highly costly for landlords. That said, several factors could cause damage to HVAC systems. For example, internal filters can easily be clogged by dust, dirt, or pet danger, causing the system to push out poor air quality.
Replacing HVAC filters regularly, once every three months, can ensure the air quality is top-notch throughout your rental property.
Who is Responsible for Maintenance in a Multi-Family Property?
It can get confusing when it comes to maintenance in a multi-family rental property. What are landlords responsible for, and what are tenants responsible for? Let’s go over a quick summary of what each party should maintain.
Landlords are responsible for many of the tasks listed throughout this article. However, there are a few additional tasks for landlords to note, including:
- Supply proper trash receptacles
- Promptly take care of property repairs
- Provide working utilities
- Provide a safe and habitable dwelling
Now, since we’ve mostly gone over landlord responsibilities in this blog so far, let’s go over a few tenant responsibilities. Tenants may have more responsibilities in a single-family home, such as outdoor maintenance. However, in a multi-family rental property, tenants should:
- Follow housing and occupancy codes
- Eliminate and reduce safety hazards
- Report maintenance issues immediately
- Maintain a clean environment
Many smaller tasks fall under these more significant categories, but tenants must keep a clean and safe environment. Additionally, quickly reporting any noticeable maintenance issues within the property can prevent more considerable damages that could be detrimental to a tenant’s health.
Multi-Family Property Management Tips for Landlords
Owning multi-family rental properties is rewarding but a ton of work. Most landlords are extremely busy people who don’t always have the time for multi-family property maintenance. Luckily, full-service property management companies, such as Bay Property Management Group, can care for all rental maintenance needs.
Whether you need inspections, quick repairs, or extensive maintenance services, Bay Property Management Group can help you get the job done. Contact us today if you need management services in Baltimore, Philadelphia, Northern Virginia, Washington DC, or other surrounding counties.