What Your Annual Maintenance Checklist Should Look Like

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As a landlord, you have a long list of things you’re responsible for and have to think and worry about. Rent payments, marketing a vacant property, talking to tenants, and dealing with potential damage to your properties are all major concerns. One of the things you can do to minimize potential problems is an annual maintenance check.

Once a year, your properties need to be walked through and inspected. This helps you catch any small issues before they become problems and allows you to stay on top of any wear and tear issues. It also gives you the opportunity to plan what improvements, upgrades, or changes you may want or need to make to a rental property – either when your tenants move out or to keep your tenants for the long term at a possibly higher rent.

These inspections are also good if you suspect that your tenant isn’t taking care of the property as outlined in the lease agreement. Your inspection gives you the opportunity to have an objective conversation about what your tenants need to do to take care of the rental property. You can also use this checklist when a tenant vacates to determine whether you’ll return their security deposit or not.

To be consistent with each property and to make sure you don’t forget anything critical, make one checklist that you can print and use for every inspection.

If you haven’t made a maintenance checklist before, make sure to include these things:

1.    Check for mold and damp around doors and windows.

2.    Look for damage to paint and drywall.

3.    Door hinges and locks should work.

4.    Check for cracks in the walls and around ceilings and floors.

5.    Look for stains, dirt, and damage to carpeted floors.

6.    Check for chipped tiles and scratched or scuffed hardwood and laminate floors.

7.    All appliances should work and doors should open and shut properly.

8.    Kitchen counters should be free of major damage including cracks, peeling, or pulling away from the wall.

9.    Cabinets should shut properly.

10.  Check that all light switches and outlets work properly.

11.  Make sure light fixtures – with working bulbs – function.

12.  Check for signs of tampering or damage to wiring and electrical systems.

13.  Windows should open and shut completely. Make sure the locking mechanism works.

14.  If blinds were installed prior to the tenants move-in, they should lift and lower. Check for damage to the blinds or the cords.

15.  Make sure HVAC maintenance is done on schedule.

16.  Check the thermostat and for any leaks around the HVAC unit.

17.  Look for leaks in the kitchen and bathrooms.

18.  Faucets should shut off completely without water dripping.

19.  Check for damage to the sink, tile, and toilets.

20.  Flush the toilet – does it empty and refill properly? Does the handle work?

21.  Make sure the smoke alarms have batteries and are function.

22.  Check the ceiling for stains, holes, and other damage.

23.  All the closet doors should open and close and, if applicable, be on their tracks.

24.  Go up in the attic or crawlspace and look for holes, leaks, or signs of pests.

25.  Outside, look up at the roof. Look for obvious holes, leaks, or loose tiles.

26.  If applicable, check the chimney for loose brick or damage.

27.  Check the gutters for damage and make sure they’re attached properly.

28.  Look for blockages and excessive dirt and leaves.

You won’t be able to fix everything you find, but keep a few tools with you in case something simply needs to be tightened to make a quick fix. Take pictures of the damage and issues you find to document the problems and to show your contractor.

If this sounds overwhelming, you can always work with a good property management company who can handle this for you and make sure nothing gets missed. Best of all, your property manager will go over all the issues with you, let you know what you should fix first, and help you make a plan. When you’re ready to hand over the hard work to the professionals, contact ERA American Real Estate.

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