You’ve made the savvy investment into a Lehigh Valley rental property. Now you’re ready to outline the series of maintenance steps you’ll need to keep it in NOI-generating condition. Preserving your investment means scheduling annual and routine tasks designed to maintain, improve, and repair your property over time. Weather, resident damages, and regular wear and tear can all be kept at bay when you follow this guide for yearly maintenance.
Safety Maintenance Requirements
One of the best categories to start with when scheduling your yearly maintenance efforts involves the review and management of the safety aspects of your rental property. Every year, for example, you’ll want to have the property’s smoke and carbon monoxide detectors tested. Verify any on-premises fire extinguishers are in working order, as well. And here are a few additional safety checks to add to your annual checklist.
Identify loose railings or potential fall hazards that may need to be addressed.
Ensure all windows, including small basement windows, are functional with secure locking mechanisms.
Look for loose or deteriorating boards on steps, decks, and patios for replacement.
Verify garage door sensors are operational and retract upon obstruction.
Ensure interior doors with locks have adequate un-locking mechanisms.
Schedule Annual Property Inspections
Since you may not have the expertise or trained eye to spot failing components or aging materials with your rental property, consider scheduling an annual inspection with a professional. A Certified Professional Inspector will generate a thorough report outlining the condition of every aspect of the property. You can stay ahead of emergency repairs and stay informed about needed maintenance. Learn about other safety concerns, like missing or damaged spindles on a porch railing or deteriorating cellar doors. It’s the annual inspection that will detail everything from the foundation to the roof, so you know exactly what to address next.
Major Lawn and Yard Maintenance
Yes, you’ll want to put a plan in place for seasonal and routine lawn maintenance. Even if your residents are responsible for lawn care, including mowing and trimming, there are some aspects you’ll want to schedule yearly. Overhanging branches or small trees may need to be cut back. Intrusive limbs can be damaging to your roofing shingles or present hazards. And these larger projects should be addressed every year so you can additionally identify any damaged limbs or trees in danger of falling. These efforts can also include gutter cleaning and inspection to ensure water is being properly channeled away from the home’s foundation.
Heating and Cooling Equipment
It’s recommended that you schedule seasonal evaluations of your rental property’s heating and air conditioning units. At the very least, schedule these HVAC technician visits once each year. You can have units serviced, and filters changed for basic benefits. But small component failures in an air conditioning unit could result in carbon monoxide or airflow problems. An annual visit will ensure you’re able to catch these major equipment failures and stay ahead of catastrophic and costly emergencies.
Flushing the Water Heater
Most industry professionals suggest the water heater be flushed as often as twice each year, especially if it’s heavily in use, to keep the water clean. More conservative experts say flushing once each year is adequate. No matter how often you choose to schedule yours, be sure to at least keep it on your yearly maintenance schedule. A malfunctioning or deteriorating water heater can result in leaks or, worse, flooded basements. A professional plumbing contractor can come and perform to inspect yours and provide advice on the life of the unit, buildup of sediment, and flushing recommendations.
Pest Control Maintenance
If your rental property is rural or secluded among the trees, you might need pest control visits on a more seasonal basis. But even the urban dwellings can become havens for rodents and pests, which is why it’s best to schedule a yearly maintenance visit. During rainy seasons, the ants might become a nuisance indoors. Mice build nests in the walls, raccoons find openings into attics, and squirrels take up residence in garages. And all of them can become intrusive and damaging to electrical wires, block airflow, and ruin insulation. From the small to the large, keep them out of your rental property by scheduling an annual evaluation from a pest professional.
When something goes awry with the plumbing, it can turn into a full-blown water emergency. Some of the older properties may have older plumbing materials and designs, too. But even new construction properties can experience plumbing mishaps that turn into expensive repairs if not caught early. Consider scheduling yearly maintenance visits from your trusted plumbing professional. He or she can evaluate the major aspects, including sewer lines. But they can also help you spot small leaks or pooling water that could turn into fungal growth concerns or major water flow issues over time. Replacing loose shower grout, the occasional wax ring on the toilet or the garbage disposal can be small investments now that prevent major expenses later.
Patching Ceiling, Plaster, or Drywall Cracks
This might seem like a more cosmetic fix, not worthy of an annual maintenance schedule, but consider this. One small crack is a minor repair now that could turn into a larger, more substantial replacement later. Additionally, a fresh crack in the ceiling could be a symptom of a larger problem you wouldn’t catch otherwise. Most dwellings experience cracks as part of natural settling under the home's own weight. But having a contractor professional come in to take a look will put your mind at ease about what your property’s cracks point to in terms of concerns.
Fireplaces, Chimneys, and Flues
If your Lehigh Valley rental property also features a fireplace, calling a chimney sweep is a necessary yearly maintenance call you should be making. Flues become clogged with soot or debris, creating potential fire hazards. Additionally, chimney masonry components may fail over time, requiring additional support or repairs. Don’t let your residents fire up a cozy fireplace without having a professional come to clean and inspect it first.
Annual Visits Yourself
Consider adding yourself to the list of annual appointments you keep to your rental property. Your residents will appreciate your effort to ensure they’re occupying a safe and well-maintained property. But an annual visit yourself will also allow you to evaluate the living conditions first-hand. You can identify areas for improvement that you may deem necessary, like an appliance upgrade or updated light fixtures. This also presents owners with an opportunity to spot lease violations, including signs of pets, smoking residents, or additional occupants not included in the original lease. Keep these visits brief, and customer service focused. But bring your camera or be ready to snap shots with your mobile device should you need to document violations or concerns.
Keep this yearly maintenance guide on hand as you look to schedule mission-critical appointments. These tasks are necessary for preserving your investment and preventive care of the property. And should you need help managing this thorough schedule of maintenance calls, let Axel Property Management do all the heavy lifting for you! Our dedicated and professional property managers can handle making and following up with all these necessary maintenance steps to ensure you continue to maintain a healthy NOI and preserve your property investment for long-term results.