Regular preventive maintenance on a rental property can save a landlord lots of money in the long run. Catching and preventing a small problem before it escalates into a large one helps reduce the risk of needing costly repairs at a later date.
Here are five preventive maintenance steps that every landlord should undertake to ultimately save money.
- HVAC Maintenance -- An HVAC system often requires costly repairs or replacement if not properly maintained. Heating and air conditioning units need their filters changed at least twice per year. A dirty filter makes the unit work harder and possibly malfunction. It is not uncommon for the entire system to freeze up and cease functioning if the filter is so dirty that the unit cannot receive adequate air flow. In order to get the system running again, the landlord will need to call an HVAC specialist and incur a costly repair bill that could have been prevented by bi-yearly, or more frequent, filter changes. Ideally, an HVAC specialist should perform regular maintenance on the home's heating and air conditioning system in the fall and spring to prevent costly breakdowns.
- Water Heater Maintenance -- The water heater is often an overlooked home appliance, but it runs every day and needs regular maintenance to keep functioning properly. Water contains sediment, even city water, so over time the sediment builds up the water heater. Sediment clogs the water heater and reduces its overall efficiency. A clogged water heater may start to malfunction and require replacement, which is costly. Flushing the water heater once or twice per year will remove the sediment in the tank and help it continue to run in great shape.
- Roof Maintenance -- Roofs are expensive to replace, but a leaking roof can cause extensive and costly damage to a home. Leaks will destroy trusses, insulation, drywall, floors, and the home's very structure. Mold can also form and make the house uninhabitable. Regularly inspecting the roof and fixing any areas of concern aids in extending the life of the roof and stops leaks before they start.
- Plumbing Maintenance -- Many people don't give much thought to plumbing maintenance, but a leaky faucet or pipes in a cabinet or under the home can have costly long term effects on a home's structure. Caulking around tubs, showers and sinks erodes over time and starts to fail which lets water seep into the home's walls and floor. Regularly repairing plumbing leaks and replacing any damaged caulking prevents expensive water damage and stops possible mold buildup in the home.
- Extermination -- Pests are often an ongoing problem in many areas of the country. Termites can do considerable damage to a home in a short amount of time. According to the National Pest Management Association, termites cause over 5 billion dollars in property damage per year in the United States. Having an exterminator regularly treat a home for termites, ants, rodents and other pests helps deter more costly future problems. In areas of the country that are prone to pest infestations, an exterminator may need to treat the premises every month or bi-monthly to head off the possibility of infestation.
Spending a small amount of money and time on regular maintenance on a rental property will help the landlord stop bigger problems from occurring. The landlord will not face expensive future repairs or lags between rental income when a property must remain vacant for reconstruction.