The Landlord’s Guide to Regular Rental Property Maintenance

rental property maintenance

Owning and managing a rental property can be lucrative, but it also comes with many responsibilities. One of the most important aspects of being a landlord is maintaining the property in good condition. Neglecting property maintenance can lead to unhappy tenants, costly repairs, and legal liabilities. Therefore, landlords need to perform regular maintenance checks and inspections.

Here are some property maintenance examples that should be included in your rental property maintenance checklist:

  1. HVAC system: Check and replace air filters, clean ducts, and inspect for leaks or malfunctions.
  2. Plumbing: Inspect pipes, drains, and water heaters for leaks, clogs, or damage.
  3. Electrical: Test smoke, carbon monoxide detectors, and electrical outlets and switches.
  4. Roof and gutters: Check for any damage or leaks and clean out gutters to prevent water damage.
  5. Appliances: Inspect and maintain all appliances in the rental unit.

Why is Rental Property Maintenance Important?

Regular property maintenance helps landlords avoid major repairs and costly replacements. A well-maintained rental property attracts more tenants, and happy tenants are more likely to renew their leases. In addition, performing regular maintenance checks can identify potential safety hazards and prevent accidents that could result in legal liabilities. 

Landlords should perform regular maintenance checks and inspections at least twice a year. Inspections can also occur when a tenant moves out or before a new tenant moves in. Additionally, landlords should inspect the property after severe weather conditions or natural disasters.

Before we dive into the checklist, let’s first understand the importance of rental property maintenance. Regular maintenance helps to:

Why Landlords Should & Need to Perform Regular Maintenance

As a landlord, regular maintenance should be a top priority for several reasons. Here are some main reasons landlords need to perform routine maintenance on their rental properties:

  • Prevent Safety Hazards & Legal Liabilities

Regular maintenance checks can identify potential safety hazards such as faulty wiring, broken locks, or leaking pipes before they become serious problems. By addressing these issues promptly, landlords can avoid accidents and legal liabilities.

  • Avoid Costly Repairs & Replacements

Regular maintenance can help landlords identify and address minor issues before they become major ones, saving them money in the long run. For example, fixing a small leaky faucet can prevent a last major flood that could require costly repairs and replacement.

  • Attract & Retain Tenants

A well-maintained property is more attractive to potential tenants and can help retain existing ones. In addition, happy tenants are likelier to renew their lease and recommend the property to others.

  • Increase Property Value

Regular maintenance increases the property’s value over time. This is especially important for landlords who plan to sell their property.

Rental Property Maintenance Checklist

Now that you understand why maintenance is essential let’s look at the complete property management checklist:

Monthly Maintenance Tasks

  1. Check and replace HVAC filters: Dirty filters can reduce the efficiency of your HVAC system, leading to higher energy bills and potentially costly repairs.
  2. Inspect and clean gutters and downspouts: Clogged gutters and downspouts can cause water damage to your property and create safety hazards.
  3. Inspect fire extinguishers: Ensure that fire extinguishers are in good condition, charged, and easily accessible.
  4. Check for pest infestations: Regular pest control can prevent infestations and minimize damage to your property.
  5. Inspect and test smoke and carbon monoxide detectors: Ensure that detectors are in good condition and have fresh batteries.

Quarterly Maintenance Tasks

  1. Inspect and clean dryer vents: Lint buildup can cause dryer fires and reduce the efficiency of your dryer.
  2. Inspect plumbing for leaks: Identify and address leaks before they cause water damage or lead to costly repairs.
  3. Test garage door opener: Ensure the door opener functions correctly and has no safety issues.
  4. Inspect and repair window screens: Replace damaged screens to prevent pests and insects from entering the property.
  5. Check exterior paint and siding: Touch up any chipped or peeling paint and repair any damaged siding to protect your property from the elements.

Annual Maintenance Tasks

  1. Schedule HVAC maintenance: A professional inspection and maintenance can help to identify and address any issues before they cause problems.
  2. Inspect and repair roof: Check for any damage or leaks and repair as needed.
  3. Inspect and clean chimneys: Hire a professional to inspect and clean chimneys to prevent fires and ensure proper ventilation.
  4. Inspect and service water heater: A professional inspection and maintenance can help extend the life of your water heater and prevent costly repairs.
  5. Inspect and service septic system: Regular inspections and maintenance can help prevent costly repairs and ensure proper functioning for properties with a septic system.

How to Calculate the Cost of Property Maintenance? 

Setting a realistic maintenance budget for your rental property is crucial to ensure it remains hazard-free and safe for your tenants. Here are some ways to estimate the cost of property maintenance:

  1. Use the 1% rule: According to this rule, you should allocate 1% of the property’s value for maintenance expenses each year. For example, if your property is worth $250,000, you should budget $2,500 per year for maintenance costs.
  2. Use the 50% rule: This rule states that maintenance and repairs will be equal to 50% of your total operating costs, which include expenses such as mortgage, taxes, insurance, and utilities.
  3. Use the 5x rule: This rule estimates that maintenance costs will average 1.5 times the monthly rental income. For example, if your monthly rental income is $1,500, your estimated annual maintenance costs would be $22,500 (1.5 x $1,500 x 12).
  4. Use the square foot formula: According to this formula, maintenance costs will be about $1 per square foot, per year. For instance, if your rental property is 4,500 square feet, your estimated maintenance costs would be $4,500 per year.

It’s important to note that the actual cost of property maintenance can vary depending on the age and condition of the property and the type of maintenance needed. However, by estimating maintenance costs using one or more of these formulas, landlords can ensure that they set aside enough money to keep their rental property in good condition and avoid unexpected expenses.

Regular rental property maintenance is essential for the success of your investment and the satisfaction of your tenants. Landlords should create a comprehensive maintenance checklist, perform routine inspections, and address maintenance requests promptly. By doing so, landlords can avoid costly repairs, keep their tenants happy, and maintain the value of their investment property.

The Power of Mindfulness: How BFPM Can Help In Property Maintenance

By partnering with BFPM, you can ensure that your rental properties receive comprehensive and reliable maintenance services that meet the highest industry standards. BFPM’s skilled professionals can handle everything from routine inspections and cleaning to emergency repairs, giving you peace of mind and helping you stay ahead of the competition. 

With BFPM on your side, you can focus on growing your rental property business while providing tenants with a safe and comfortable living space they will want to call home. To know more, schedule a quick 15-minute consultation call with us.

Check our related blogs on:

The Importance of Property Maintenance for Multifamily Properties: A Comprehensive Guide


Understanding SB 326: California’s Balcony Bill and Inspection Laws




Trevor Henson

Trevor Henson is an experienced entrepreneur (10+ highly-successful start-ups) and property investor with a demonstrated history of building and leading teams in investment property management environments, maximizing returns for property owners, and optimizing properties through construction management and re-positioning. He…
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Frequently Asked Questions(FAQs)

To calculate maintenance costs on a rental property, consider the maintenance tasks needed and their associated costs. This can include regular tasks such as lawn care, cleaning, minor repairs, and larger projects like roof replacement or HVAC system repairs. You can estimate these costs by researching local prices for services and materials and factoring in the age and condition of the property.

Routine maintenance on a rental property refers to regular tasks to keep the property in good condition and prevent significant problems. This can include cleaning common areas, replacing air filters, testing smoke detectors, and inspecting plumbing and electrical systems. Routine maintenance can also include: Seasonal tasks like gutter cleaning, Winterizing the property, Preparing outdoor areas for summer.

Maintenance expenses for a rental property can include a wide range of costs, from minor repairs to major upgrades. Common maintenance expenses include cleaning and landscaping services, HVAC system repairs, plumbing and electrical repairs, roof and gutter maintenance, and pest control services. Landlords may also need to budget for routine maintenance tasks like painting, replacing flooring, and replacing appliances.

A great preventive maintenance checklist should include all the routine maintenance tasks that must be performed on a rental property and any larger projects or upgrades that may be required. The checklist should be organized by frequency so landlords can easily see which tasks must be performed daily, weekly, monthly, quarterly, or annually. It should also include detailed instructions for each task and any necessary safety precautions or equipment to complete the job. Also, landlords may consider property management software to automate reminders and track maintenance history.