As a landlord, you are primarily responsible for the cost of repairs on your properties. The best way to keep these kinds of expenses to a minimum is by performing routine property maintenance with the help of licensed professionals.
A qualified electrician should carry out electrical inspections at least once every ten years. These inspections will reveal any problems with unsafe wiring and circuits that could cause an electrical fire. If you supply any appliances to your tenants, make sure that these are in good working condition before new tenants move into the property.
Always keep smoke detectors in proper working condition. If a fire does occur, smoke detectors will not only keep residents safe by alerting them to danger, but they will also help to minimize property damage by getting their attention -- and the attention of the fire department -- sooner.
Improperly maintained gas appliances could leak poisonous carbon monoxide. All gas appliances should be checked every year by a certified engineer and serviced regularly according to manufacturer instructions. In addition, flues, chimneys, and ducts that supply air to gas appliances and allow products of combustion to exit the home should be routinely cleaned and cleared of any blockages.
Foliage and Landscaping
Even if your tenants are responsible for general yard maintenance, you should take on the responsibility of pruning trees and removing dead foliage. If tree branches, leaves, and bushes are not properly trimmed and removed, they will allow potentially damaging moisture to get into the property, and invite pests.
Grouting in kitchens and bathrooms decays and cracks over time. This is not only a cosmetic problem, but it can also lead to water damage from leaks if it is ignored. Repairing grout regularly is an easy and inexpensive chore that could potentially save you thousands in restoration costs due to water damage.
Roofs and Chimneys
Roofs should be routinely checked for loose shingles or tiles, and the presence of damaging growths such as moss. Chimneys need to be professionally cleaned every year to remove the buildup of creosote and to check for animal nests.
Drains and Gutters
Another way to prevent water damage is to routinely clear drains and clean gutters. Drain cleaning tools are inexpensive and easy to use, and clearing clogs from drains in sinks and showers prevents leaks. Similarly, clearing gutters of debris such as leaves, dirt, and branches will prevent water damage by allowing rainwater to run away from your property.
Practice proactive pest management by learning the signs of infestation. If you notice signs of pests, such as gnawed food packaging, droppings, nesting materials, or wings and carcasses, contact a pest control service right away. Getting rid of a recent pest infiltration is much easier and less expensive than having to remediate a prolonged infestation.
Keeping your interiors and exteriors freshly painted not only looks better, but it also protects surfaces from damage due to moisture and rot. If you notice peeling paint, do not put off repainting the area.
Heating and Air Conditioning
Heating and air conditioning systems must be inspected and serviced once per year. Filters need to be changed several times per year, and it's important to review the manufacturer's instructions.
Owning an investment property is a big responsibility, but understanding what kind of routine maintenance needs to be performed and keeping yourself on a schedule will save you the hassle and expense of repairing extensive damage. A well-maintained property also attracts stable tenants who will care for it as much as you do.
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