Rental Property Maintenance: The Ultimate Guide

Cody Cromwell
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Routine and Preventative Rental Maintenance

If you want to increase your daily rental income, then taking care of your rental property on a regular basis is always a good idea. Take the time to clean the unit and make sure it's clean and tidy when the next tenant arrives. Keep the utilities working, make sure the appliances are in proper working order, and secure the balconies and patios.

The most important part of any rental property maintenance is being sure the rental unit is in good enough shape for the next tenant to enjoy their stay. By making sure the basic maintenance is taken care of, you will ensure your rental properties are ready for any interested tenant.

It's important to remember that while a temporary resident is likely to be staying in your unit for the length of their stay, they are the least likely to be responsible for taking care of the unit. Regular maintenance is crucial to ensure they will have a good place to stay during their stay.

Be sure to account for these specific maintenance responsibilities, as well as pocket book, when hiring a tenant. If you have any maintenance issues during their stay, the tenant is responsible for assisting you with the repairs.

The following section describes a few simple and effective steps that you can take to make your rental unit ready for the next tenant to enjoy.


Clean and tidy the unit at the beginning and end of each rental period.

Use an all purpose cleaner for general cleaning needs.

Routine Interior Maintenance

Do it on a sunny, dry day. If you have plastic window treatments, give them a good wash on a drill or a machine; they’re tricky to clean and their cleaning instructions tend to be inadequate.

If you have old curtains use a brush to help remove dirt and dust from the pleated edge. If your curtains are hooked together, try not to pull them apart too much or openings may let in too much light.

Wipe the furniture with a sponge and soapy water. Use a spray bottle to apply a solution of one part vinegar and three parts water to stains on fabric.

Having Your House Cleaned

If possible, book a professional cleaner who can do a truly thorough job, especially on the grout around floor tiles, walls, and floorboards.

After a thorough deep clean on the first day of the month, book a second cleaning the next month.

After a thorough deep clean on the first day of the month, book a second cleaning the next month. Some cleaning products that work well as general household cleaning agents include borax, which can kill bacteria, and hydrogen peroxide, which kills mold.

Interior Preventative Maintenance for Rentals

Drying Laundry Drying clothes yourself means thoughtfully using the drying machine. It also means vacuuming carefully, removing any residue and using the correct detergent. This is especially important when air drying because dryer sheets and fabric softener could clog the heating element.

Vacuuming Drapes and Upholstery One quick way to get a maintenance discount on a rental is to keep the place looking nice. You can quickly clean the drapes and upholstery with a simple vacuum. This won’t only make the place look nicer (and maybe even readjust the rent to make the landlord happy) but it’ll help cut down on dust. Dandelions outside the window while your guest is having dinner could be a sign of potential health problems if you don’t get it taken care of.

Clean the Inside Carpet If you have to have a carpet, make sure it is thoroughly cleaned before you put it into service.

Caulk Shutters and Flashing Flashing should be inspected, where possible, for water leaks.

Air Conditioning As you are cooling the home down, be careful not to over-cool it. You should try to keep the temperature at an even seventy degrees; in other words, use your thermostat.

Routine Exterior and Grounds Rental Maintenance

One of the most important things you can do in a rental property is to keep your tenants happy … not only happy with your facilities and services, but also happy with the condition of the property. The first thing you should do once you’re starting maintenance work on rental property is to write a maintenance log. This log should tell tenants what you’re doing and when you’re doing it.

Of course, there’s not much you can do about obvious damage like weather-related damage and accidents, but you’ll definitely want to mention any maintenance-related issues in your log. This log could also be a list of things to do that tenants often overlook.

Beyond routine maintenance, you’ll also need to take care of repair and replacement of common items in the rental property like light bulbs. You should also make sure that your tenants can easily contact you whenever they need assistance.

Routine Exterior Maintenance for Rentals

Bead and polish exterior surfaces. Metal-based paint can be worn off over the years by sun, wind and rain, even in the best maintenance practices. Since renters tend to be less conscientious than homeowners, it’s important to have your exterior surfaces coated every few years.

Drain and pressure-wash gutters and downspouts. Gutters and downspouts are natural areas for mildew to grow. The only way to keep them free of the mold is to have them cleaned at least once a year.

Mow lawns and landscape beds. Mowing grass requires water, fertilizer and pesticides, and that’s just the beginning of the costs. Mowing helps deter most pests, but it doesn’t eliminate them, so you should still be diligent when handling garbage and make sure you get rid of organic materials before they decompose and provide nutrients for mold.

Azaleas, rhododendrons, hydrangeas and roses are in full bloom now, so if you have those in the landscaping, make sure you prune them and remove weeds.

Test smoke alarms once a year to make sure they’re working and ready for the new tenants.

Move-In/Move-Out Maintenance

Move-in/move-out period is a day, if you are lucky, or several weeks, if you are unlucky, that you will remember for the rest of your life. It will be the day that you bring your new home into your care, and then the day that you take it back to your realtor and close the sale. Congratulations! Your new home will be your home in a month or less thanks to these simple but tedious chores.


Make sure the house is secure: You are required to ensure the security of the house prior to the time your renters move in. You may need to hire a locksmith to get the doors working properly, or hopefully upon arrival, you will find a student from your neighborhood who is willing to come by and fix the locks.

Next, you should check the house for any damages that may occur during the move. If you notice that dirt is getting everywhere, or windows are broken, you should call for help.

Find the right cleaning and rubbish removal company to come in, sweep up the dirt, empty the rubbish, wash the floors over and over again, and take care of the mess that the renters left behind.

In case you don’t have any experience with cleaning, or do not know what to expect, you should hire a professional cleaning company to get that perfect feeling after your move-in.

Tenant Screening

Tips: Your First Line of Defense

Once you’ve found tenants that seem like a good fit, it’s best to learn more about them before allowing them into your property. The best way to do this is through a background check, which can be an effective way to weed out potentially bad tenants.

In order to run a successful tenant screening, you’ll need to first conduct a thorough background check on the person applying for the apartment. Know what the ideal tenant’s background is before you start asking them questions.

This is especially important for disabled tenants, who may face unique challenges that you’ll need to take into consideration. But the good news is that while you may need to learn about more than just their employment and rental history, tenant screening is still relatively affordable and you can do it yourself with the help of a professional tenant background check company.

Take a look at our post on tenant screening tips for a more comprehensive guide to tenants.

Statement of Condition

A Statement of Condition is a document that you complete and use to notify your tenant of a few things regarding your rental property.

As someone who provides renting services, it’s important to have a Statement of Condition template. A Statement of Condition is a document that you complete and use to notify your tenant of a few things regarding your rental property. It’s a great tool for landlords to ensure that rental properties are cleaned thoroughly before new tenants move in and that current tenants leave the home in the same condition it was in when they moved in.

The Statement of Condition is a little document that contains your tenant’s information, the Section 8 agency name, and the property’s address. Below the form, you’ll have space to list any existing damage that you’re aware of to the property.

You can also include a list items that you think should be included in your rental agreement, such as disclosures. A statement of condition template is great for both landlords and tenants, but it’s a little more helpful to landlords.

Mandatory Lead Paint Notification

Properties with housing built before 1978 must be secured against lead paint before renting the property to tenants under the Renovate America program and the HOPE VI program. The State and HUD have notified landlords, property owners and prospective tenants about this program.

Lead-based paint has been banned in the U.S since 1978, but it can still exist in consumer products (primarily non-residential buildings built before 1978), which means that homes and apartments built before 1978 may still have lead paint in them … but not necessarily. To avoid liability, it is important to inquire about the use of lead-based paint in order to make a safe decision.

In regards to lead-based paint, inspections should be conducted before rental properties are put up for rent, since the potential health risks may not be known. When a property is built in the late 20th century, a simple rubber glove test is sufficient to determine whether any given room contains any lead-based paint. If the glove comes back tainted, it is safe to conclude that there are elements in that room (wall, window, or floor sills) that store lead.

If the property is determined to have lead-based paint in it, the landlord must either:

Remove the lead-based paint (which is much more cost effective than replacing the entire structure)

Security Deposit Statement

This is provided at the time of the rental agreement. It should also be available to you as a record of the rental agreement, if requested.

This is a formal document detailing the terms and conditions of your tenancy. It should clearly state the amount of rent, amount of security deposit and whether or not the security deposit can be used to cover the cost of damages to the property.


You should always run a move-out check list when you’re leaving a rental property.

It’s a great way to ensure that nothing is left behind and you aren’t forgotten. A move-out check list can also help you keep on top of the required paperwork, reducing your risk of penalties for not completing necessary requirements.

Inventory All Items that You Want to Take Home along with You

When necessary, empty the trash.

Tenant Calls and Issues

Always answer your tenant’s calls in a timely fashion. If you don’t have time then tell them that and make sure you have the information they’re looking for in your electronic file.

A tenant who feels neglected may consider leaving. Our landlord tenant checklist can help guide you.

Start visiting your property with your cleaner a week or two into the tenancy. At that time, take a detailed note of what needs to be fixed … what actions can be taken. Be sure to do this with all aspects of the property, like the exterior, interior walls, floors and function of appliances.

Be honest with your tenant if something is broken or in need of repair. Be specific and think about each problem on a case by case basis. List what things you do not find in good repair and mention the negative impact that defect will have on the tenant. Be fair and reasonable.

If something does need fixing be sure to do it as soon as possible. Tenants like to think that their landlord will always mow the lawn, fix the leak and a fence and generally do things right. If you can’t do something right away consider having a reliable contractor take care of it.

Withholding Rent

As an owner, property manager, or property manager. taking care of a tenant’s rental property is your responsibility. If your tenant has not fulfilled their contractual obligations, you can withhold rent. You can also terminate the rental agreement, citing breach of contract.

If a tenant has been responsible and has not violated any of the terms outlined in the rental agreement, you have an obligation to continue paying the rent. In order to not lose money due to lack of payment, you should negotiate with the tenant(s) and try to find a resolution among the parties. Once you have come to an agreement, you must follow the terms in the agreement and send a written notice to the tenant. Being one of the most common conflicts you will experience as a property manager, understanding your rights and responsibilities will keep you out of trouble and save you time and money.

Sometimes landlords can take advantage of their position by withholding rent from a delinquent tenant. If the tenant has any type of lease, the landlord has the right to withhold rent until there is a judgment of rent. In many states there are no laws regarding landlord tenant relations. Renting means you take care of the property, including dealing with the property’s repairs and maintenance.

Outsourcing Rental Maintenance

Pros and Cons

If you rent a property in a major city like New York, Chicago, or Miami, you’re among the lucky few who can freely afford to take advantage of the city’s high rental prices. Thanks to the substantial increase in housing costs in major urban areas, most renters have to spend a significant amount of money on maintaining rental property.

When you rent out your property, the entity taking care of the property has to keep it clean and safe. The landlord has to make sure that the utilities are functioning, that the building is structurally stable, and that the building is being managed properly. A landlord also has to be aware of the various regulatory requirements that apply not just to rental properties but to any business.

If you’re the kind of person who likes your schedule to free up as much of it as possible, you may want to consider hiring out the above-mentioned tasks. You can then focus your time on the most important jobs … ones that will contribute to the growth of your business.

Rental Property Maintenance Costs

Renting a house can be a great way to earn a steady income, to save money or to live in a nice place, according to Brian McArdle. However, it can also be a costly venture. Make sure you protect the investment you’ve made in your property; live and let live accounts for a good rental system, but tenants should also understand that a rental property is not a hotel.

There is a lot more to property maintenance than just the price of the item you need: materials, production cost, shipping costs, startup costs, profit margins, etc. Try to find the necessary tools for rental property maintenance: … That way, you can negotiate the one or many tools that you need for the job.

Some of the materials involved are:

  • Energy efficient light bulbs are required for some household chores.
  • Renters need to understand their rights and obligations as a tenant.
  • Having a gas-powered outdoor lawn mower makes gardening so much easier; it also helps you save money.
  • An air purifier, essential for preparing your rental property for rentals.
  • Go out to a department store and grab some cheap carpet shampoo.

Cash Flow and Planning

If you’re pointing your web browser at this page, you’re interested in investing in Rental Properties as a means to build your portfolio and hopefully build a good cash flow. Or you’re thinking of building your portfolio and do have some cash to invest.

Either way, there’s a lot that goes into building a Cash Flow generating portfolio of properties. Investments in real estate are not for everyone, but the mistakes of the past are not being repeated today.

It’s important for beginner investors to read and understand the basic concepts of Investing and Property Investing.

Here is a basic flowchart which describes the four basic steps of Investing in property and the reasons for those steps.

It’s a great start to understanding the basics of Investing in property.

Understanding the basics of Investing in property is only half of the task.

The other half of the equation is learning the basics of cash flow for properties and determining what you can afford to borrow from your bank.

To do that, you need to understand some basic financial concepts.

These Are Some Basic Financial Concepts regarding Cash Flow

Cash Accounting vs. Cash Flow

The chart below shows the difference between Cash Accounting and Cash Flow.

Budgeting for Rental Property Maintenance

Keeping an investment property in top shape is a big responsibility, especially if it’s a rental property. The costs can add up quickly, and if you don’t plan ahead and invest a little – now – you’ll find yourself facing expensive and unexpected requirements later on.

Below you’ll find a list of things you need to include in your budget to make sure that your rental property is ready for the next tenant when they move in.

If you’re setting aside money for home maintenance, check to see what other maintenance expenses you may have in addition to your rental property. This will help you make sure you’re set for everything.

If you don’t have the budget set aside for these expenses, consider looking into a rental mortgage or lease options that include these items in the cost of the home or monthly rent.

A thorough cleaning of the property. Since you’re responsible for both the safety and cleanliness of tenant’s who live there, the last thing you want is to have a place where people can’t live because it’s filthy.

Managing Finances for Rental Property Maintenance

The costs of managing rental property can be quite significant. Both building maintenance and regular maintenance are part of the landlord responsibility. Before you invest a bunch of money on a property, it’s important to understand the costs and to make sure you have all the tools you need to manage your investment.

When it comes to managing maintenance expenses for a rental property, there are several areas that you will want to track and manage. Most maintenance can be classified as either minor or major. Minor maintenance may include plumbing problems that you can handle on your own. Major maintenance refers to an emergency or significant repair, often requiring your assistance. Ongoing repairs are considered to be minor.

Managing maintenance costs is one of the most important responsibilities of a landlord. It’s good business practice to keep track of what kind of repairs are being made and by whom, so you can avoid having to spend too much money on minor repairs.

It’s important to know what types of repairs will wear down your rental property. Some building maintenance, such as painting, is more time-saving because it’s a one-time cost. If you have invested a significant amount of time and money in building the property, you want to make sure that your rental property will stand the test of time.

Rental Property Maintenance Tax Deductions & Insurance

Tax Deductions and Depreciation

The Ultimate Guide

Every year, many rental business owners take pages and pages to write out an itemized list of all of the expenses they paid on their rental property. Perhaps you are one of these landlords. You need to do this because if you don’t document each and every expense, you may be required to prove to the IRS that you actually spent the amount you claim on your rental income tax return.

This is a major headache for the vast majority of rental property business owners. And yet, it doesn’t have to be.

We’re going to show you an insider’s guide that will show you how to figured out all your deductions and depreciation for your rental property.

Rental Property Insurance

Your property is your life’s work. Therefore, it is important to protect that property with adequate insurance coverage. You can obtain rental property insurance by purchasing a small business policy or by obtaining a renter’s policy through your homeowners’ insurance policy.

You can purchase a standard policy for a single-family rental property, securing insurance on the building, the furnishings and personal items inside, and liability coverage for bodily injury and property damage.

Coverage options are also available for multi-family properties, covering multiple tenants. Personal liability, additional living expenses, and medical benefits are other coverage types available for residential rentals.

If you are renting to more than one tenant, you should consider insuring against multiple perils, which provides an insurance umbrella against a variety of potential dangers that might occur on the property, such as fire, burglary, storms, and even vandalism.

If you want your property to be fully occupied throughout the year, consider purchasing an occupancy endorsement to your homeowners’ insurance policy. The rental building can become your suite of offices, and the insurance deductible will serve as a business expense.

Chances are that your tenants will have some sort of break-in and vandalism insurance, so they might not want to pay an extra premium on top of any insurance protection they already have.

Bottom Line

A property management company's job is to oversee the maintenance of every building and piece of equipment in their portfolio. They’re there to address any issues and make sure everything is in working order, or they’ll make sure everything is in working order.

If things aren’t up to par, you’ll receive a bill. You’re expected to pay the bill or you’ll be in violation.

But you don’t want to be in violation. You prefer to have a relationship with the property management company for life…a long, profitable relationship.