What every Landlord needs to know about Rental Maintenance

For both landlords and tenants, proper maintenance is easily the most significant issue in a rental property. Landlords struggle to keep up with the home’s demands on their time and money. Renters often choose to leave a home they like because the owner fails to maintain it adequately.

But as challenging as rental property maintenance is, landlords can effectively manage the issues if they are more organized. Only a small set of maintenance problems in a rental come from entirely unpredictable events, and most come from overdue maintenance.

Landlords simply need a system that gives them a complete overview of the rental’s maintenance needs and offers a way to keep up with those issues. If they have that, landlords will usually avoid problems with tenants over their maintenance of the property.

This guide offers a simple framework for how landlords can handle rental property maintenance.

The ABCs of rental property maintenance

Every rental home has its maintenance “pain points,” which are most likely to occur and cost landlords the most in time and money. The best way to deal with pain points is through a program of preventative maintenance and routine inspections.

Regular maintenance and routine inspections

Standardized inspection procedures offer landlords a systematic way of inspecting a system or the entire home. It lists the step-by-step process for checking the item and reduces the likelihood of overlooking something important.

To get a handle on rental maintenance, landlords must first identify the property’s pain points, and then, for each of those areas, they should devise proper inspection procedures. Once this is done, they now have the basis for creating a regular maintenance schedule.

Regular maintenance means creating a checklist of items that must be checked weekly, monthly, or yearly. The program does two things:

  1. It reduces maintenance costs by preventing damage instead of simply repairing them.

  2. It ensures better living conditions for the tenants.

    A Sample Maintenance Check-List

    • Regular air filter replacement, water heater flushing, and inspection of the HVAC system

    • Plumbing checks to detect leaks and prevent water damage, especially after storms

    • Monthly or quarterly pest extermination

    • Cleaning of the gutter system and downspouts

    • Removal of tree limbs and roots that threaten the home or power lines

    • Testing smoke and CO2 detectors and fire extinguishers

    • Re-caulking shower and bathtub areas to prevent the growth of mold

    • Checking doors and window and their parts: knobs, screws, seal, and hinges

    • Checking the plumbing hardware for leaks and signs of wear

    • Inspection of the attic, basement, or crawlspace

    • Yearly roof inspection and cleaning

    • Repainting the interior and exterior of the home; usually done in 3-5 year cycles

    • Carpet replacement, depending on the rate of wear and tear on the carpets

    • Clear away any furniture that may have been left behind (outside or inside)

The correct procedure for requesting and doing repairs

Regardless of how diligent a landlord is at preventing problems, there will be unexpected issues that require urgent attention. Regular maintenance does not eliminate emergencies; it reduces their frequency and the cost of fixing the problems.

To keep emergencies from becoming problems that make the home unpleasant for the tenants, landlords should have clear protocols for handling emergencies. These should be explained to the tenants and must have the following:

  • Clear guidelines for how tenants request repairs; landlords should provide the telephone numbers and emails they want the tenants to use. They should also specify the cut-off hours for making non-emergency requests.

  • Landlords should help tenants understand the different ways they respond to emergency and non-emergency requests. Tenants should know the difference between the two types of repairs.

  • There should be a method for documenting repair requests and the date, time, and nature of the problem reported.

  • The method a landlord chooses should give the tenant enough room to explain the problem entirely. This procedure will help landlords take the proper steps and prioritize issues.

  • Once a repair request is received, landlords should give tenants an estimated date and time for the repair. If it is a low-priority issue that is not time-sensitive, this will ensure the tenant does not get dissatisfied when they don’t see immediate action.

  • Handle emergency issues with speed.

  • Landlords should always notify the tenant when they schedule workers to come to their home to do repairs. The tenant’s consent should be obtained, preferably in writing.

  • After completing a repair, the landlord should follow up with the tenant to ensure they are satisfied with the work.

  • As much as possible, landlords should avoid tenants making additional repair requests when a maintenance worker is doing a requested repair. All further requests must follow the proper process. This process will help landlords keep maintenance costs under control.

  • Before sending a worker to fix the problems in a rental, the landlord should ensure he or she understands the owner’s protocols for managing maintenance in the rental and the proper way to treat tenants.

  • The records for all repair requests and completed repairs should be kept in a maintenance master file.


There you have it, some tips on what you should know as a landlord for maintenance on your rental property. Are you ready to hire a professional handyman for the maintenance work at your rental properties? Contact Handyman on Purpose today!

This is a guest post, submitted by T.E. Johnson & Sons of Winston-Salem, NC.