Free Property Maintenance Checklist
September 24, 2023
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Maintenance Checklist By Season
Prompt maintenance is the key to keeping your property in top condition year after year.
However, it takes attentiveness and thoughtful planning to maintain your properties and avoid consequences like expensive repairs or vacancies.
Landlords and property owners need an easy way to keep track of what needs done on their property and when. That’s why we made this comprehensive (and free) property maintenance checklist to help you monitor and manage your regular maintenance tasks.
What Are Building Maintenance Priorities?
When it comes to maintenance, there are a variety of aspects of any building that need attention—infrastructure, plumbing, electrical, heating, etc.
But what are the most important building maintenance tasks that you should prioritize above others? Below, we’ve listed the five maintenance concern areas you should prioritize first in your properties:
- Safety and security. All units should have working smoke alarms and carbon monoxide detectors, fire extinguishers, and safe appliances. Locks on doors and windows must be operational—broken locks count as a maintenance emergency, especially if the unit is occupied, as they can let unwanted people and animals inside.
- Habitability. Does the property have sufficient heating and operational plumbing? Do the sinks, showers, and toilets work? Is it free of pests? If not, it’s not livable.
- Minimum code standards. Does your property meet the basic requirements of all state and local health, building, safety, and housing codes? If not, and someone is currently living in the property, that person could bring a legal action against you.
- Cleanliness. Does the property meet basic standards of sanitation and overall cleanliness? Are there any strong odors, mold, or dust/dirt build-up that would substantially impact an occupant’s quality of life or health?
- Accessibility. Fair housing lawsuits are not a joke and can cost you thousands. If occupied, is your property accessible to the tenants who live there?
If the above five maintenance concerns aren’t addressed quickly (ideally before tenants move into your property) then you have bigger problems than maintenance. Faulty appliances, broken locks, and unmet code standards could easily result in accidents or break-ins, liability, and thousands of dollars in medical or legal fees.
What Are Second Priority Building Maintenance Tasks?
Once the above five areas are addressed, you can move on to other maintenance tasks, including those related to cosmetic appearance and curb appeal. Think of touching up the paint, installing new flooring or light fixtures, mulching, or planting trees and flowers. These tasks are lower priority because they most likely won’t result in someone getting injured or unjustly treated enough to sue you. However, cosmetic touches and curb appeal are still very important for filling vacancies and perfecting the presentation of your property.
Benefits of Regular and Preventative Maintenance
The benefits of preventative maintenance are substantial. Regular maintenance can:
- Lengthen the lifespan of your building and its systems.
- Help you avoid injuries and legal liability.
- Improve overall health and safety.
- Increase the efficiency of your property’s systems.
- Decrease energy costs and limit expenses.
- Lower the risk of unexpected maintenance emergencies throughout the year.
- Increase tenant satisfaction and retention.
Maintenance Schedule Template Based on Season
Now that you understand the importance of regular maintenance, here’s a maintenance schedule template by season you can use as a template, print, or adapt/modify to make it your own.
- Inspect and repair roofs, gutters, windows, and siding for winter weather damage
- Check that all safety and emergency signs are visible and in good condition (e.g., Exit and fire escape signs, traffic signs, etc.)
- Inspect and replace faulty light fixtures
- Check exterior lighting and replace bulbs if necessary
- Check property for water damage in rainier climates
- Mulch flowerbeds or hire landscaping contractors for larger projects
- Remove weeds, branches, debris, and excess dirt from the winter
- Examine sidewalks, parking lots, and driveways for cracks that need repaired
- Inspect and clean HVAC system just before summer
- Clean condensate drain pan and coils
- Verify airflow
- Inspect wires, piping, insulation, tubing/fittings, and refrigerant levels
- Secure any loose panels
- Ensure all electrical hardware and connections are safe and operational
- Inspect plumbing systems in early summer
- Check and repair leaks on indoor and outdoor pipes
- Test hot water heater
- Look for evidence of water damage, mold, or mildew and treat accordingly
- Replace air filters
- Check that the thermostat is working properly
- Ensure air conditioning is functional
- Assess and improve condition of interior cosmetics – paint, flooring, and lighting
- Execute any larger renovation projects, such as new sinks, bathtubs, cabinetry, or cupboards
- Clear leaves from gutters
- Reseal windows and doors
- Check the expiration date on fire extinguishers and replace if necessary
- Check batteries for smoke alarms and carbon monoxide detectors
- Verify sprinkler systems are operational
- Inspect and clean HVAC system again just before winter (verify that central heating is working properly)
- Clean and replace air filters if necessary
- Inspect and service fireplaces if applicable
- Clean chimneys
- Check that vents aren’t blocked by furniture or other belongings
- Pest-proof your property by sealing potential openings and setting traps if necessary
- Check for icicles and water in cracks, as these can freeze, expand, and cause cracking
- Inspect roofing for degradation due to snow or ice
- Test the property’s sump pump
- Check the furnace filter regularly, and change if needed
- Address any gaps around entry points (doors and windows) as quickly as possible to avoid drafts
- Remind tenants of winter property maintenance and accident prevention (e.g., keep the thermostat at least 68 degrees Fahrenheit to prevent frozen pipes, run faucets in freezing temperatures, etc.)
Building and Improving Your Inspection Process
Every property needs a consistent and thorough inspection process. Why? Without one, appliances will fall into disrepair, code violations may get overlooked, and small problems can grow into massive ones.
Inspecting your property regularly means more than giving it a drive-by every few months or completing a move-in checklist when a new tenant moves in. It means actively planning for the property’s gradual degradation and establishing routines to address the condition of each component of your property—before it falls beyond repair. This is called preventative maintenance, and it couldn’t be more crucial.
So how do you build your own inspection process? First, you’ll want to identify the current condition of each component of your property. You can use the list we provide above or create your own.
Next, decide what kind of upkeep is required for each component and how often those tasks should be done. Are they seasonal? Quarterly? Annual? By creating a schedule, you can successfully implement a system for maintenance and follow it each year to make maintenance simple and predictable.
Apartment Maintenance Checklist
Having an inspection and preventative maintenance plan matters no matter whether you’re simply a homeowner or if you own multi-family complexes. If your properties are occupied, it’s also a good idea to provide your tenants with an apartment maintenance checklist, as well as a set of criteria for determining what is and isn’t a maintenance emergency. Rental properties need special care due to the movement of tenants in and out of the property over time, so having an apartment maintenance checklist or rental property maintenance checklist is a must.
Performing regular maintenance isn’t the most exciting part of owning a property, but it is one of the most necessary. By using this checklist as well as other resources and professional advice you might seek, you can keep your properties in great condition and preserve the lifespan of their components.