Many property owners approach maintenance and repairs on an ‘as-needed’ basis – often waiting until something breaks, jams, leaks, or just colossally fails before making a fix.
Others, simply have a twice a year go at the tasks, usually in autumn and spring.
But the prudent rental property owners know to take preventative measures all throughout the year, in preparation for wear and tear issues that aren’t as anticipated during the changing seasons.
In other words, the warm, hot, cool, and cold seasons can bring about new and unexpected maintenance issues in your property, so, it’s important to keep it in check throughout the year and maintain it as per each season’s requirements.
If you’re not sure where to start, we’ve constructed a seasonal home maintenance guide for you to refer to, to help keep your property in the best possible condition, no matter the weather.
Why do owners need to do preventative maintenance in their rental property?
As the old saying goes, an ounce of prevention is worth a pound of cure.
After all, it’s easier to stop something happening in the beginning rather than trying to repair the damage after it’s happened; helping stay away from emergency repairs.
Preventative repairs are also a great way for landlords to conduct safety checks, regular cleaning, repairs, or general maintenance of the property – particularly during routine inspections.
And no matter the season or weather, smoke alarms should be regularly tested to ensure they are in working order, at least every six months.
Why? According to NSW alone, 56% of fatal house fires occurred in homes where no smoke alarm was present.
So, it’s pretty important (aside from a legal requirement) to make sure conditions are liveable for your tenants, and you minimise the risk of unexpected costs or liabilities later down the line.
Because if you spend $6,000 on preventative maintenance, you can save around $40,000-$50,000 later down the line on bigger damages.
Spring home maintenance tips
Once the ground has thawed and the trees begin to bud, it’s time to prepare your property for spring.
After all springtime and cleaning go hand-in-hand – so let’s get spring cleaning!
Here are some of the things you’ll need to consider when preparing your property for the warmer weather.
- Keep on top of mould/mildew
If mould continues to grow, that can result in unhealthy living conditions for your tenants – which goes against your responsibilities as a landlord.
It’s important to keep on top of mould and mildew, particularly after the wet, winter weather in preparation for the warmer, springtime weather. A new exhaust fan is a great way to keep out mould, which should only cost you around $100 to install (and end up saving you thousands down the line).
- Inspect pipes for damage
The harsh winter weather can freeze or damage your water pipes and lead to costly repairs.
It’s important to check if there are any cracks or leaks in the pipes – particularly to avoid any excess water press and burst pipes.
- Check the gutters and roof for damage
You should check the gutters for any build-up of leaves, sticks, or debris as this is a potential fire hazard and can cause internal leaking and flooding
It’s also a great way to identify any leaks or holes in both your pipes and roof, to identify and avoid any future damage and costly repairs.
- Check the landscape
By checking the landscape and garden after the cold, wet weather you can identify whether it has been looked after or maintained properly
Winter weather can damage your garden, weeds, or veggie patch, so checking your landscape once spring comes around is a great way to make sure there’s no build-up of any issues or costly maintenance and repairs.
Summer home maintenance tips
When the sun comes out and swimmers get put on – the last thing you want to worry about is property maintenance.
But don’t worry – this summer home maintenance checklist is similar to spring, so as long as you’ve kept on top of your spring maintenance spring-cleaning, you shouldn’t have much to do.
- Pest control
Unfortunately, summer and pests seem to go hand-in-hand, with them being particularly reproductive during the hotter seasons. It’s best to have your property checked by professionals when it comes to pest control; after all, termites alone can devalue a property by more than 25%.
- Clean the fireplace/chimney
As summer rolls around - provided you have a fireplace and/or chimney in your rental property, it’s a good time to do a thorough clean to remove any debris or build-up. Creosote is a type of residue that can build up over a long period of time which can become highly flammable, so, a thorough clean and removal of build-up are vital to your tenant’s safety.
- Keep on top of mould/mildew
Similarly to our springtime maintenance checklist, keeping on top of mould and mildew is just as important in summer as it is in spring. The reason is - it can build up at any time and can result in a health hazard for your tenants so it’s important to stay on top of it to make sure it hasn’t built up during the warmer weather.
Autumn home maintenance checklist & tips
In many places, autumn is the perfect season to tackle rental property maintenance tasks due to the dryer weather and mild temperatures.
- Check the landscape
Similarly to spring, yard maintenance and upkeep is important to keep away vermin and unwanted pests that can eventually make their way into your property.
- Check the furnace and adjust flues for winter
In order to have your rental property prepared for winter or a sudden cold spell, it’s best to ensure your property is fully prepared for winter, your furnace is in full working order, and flues are properly adjusted.
- Clean or replace HVAC filters
With the freezing winters and sweltering summers, cleaning and replacing your heating, ventilation, and also rental air conditioning units is a task that should be done every year - ideally in your autumn house maintenance checklist.
The reason being: your central heating systems will be working essentially 24/7 during the colder months, and it may come without saying that they run more efficiently when the filters are clean.
Winter home maintenance tips
The chilly winter weather can be harsh on your rental property. Meaning the sub-zero temperatures, heavy rainfall, and severe storms can wreak havoc on your property.
But, although you can’t control the weather, some proactive winter home maintenance can help reduce the risk of your investment suffering.
- Declutter your gutters
We’ve previously mentioned the importance of cleaning your gutters and the risks that may come with blocked gutters. Including a build-up of leaves, fire hazards, or internal leaking or flooding. As trees shed their last leaves during autumn, it’s even more crucial to take some time to declutter your gutters during winter home maintenance. FYI: one of the four most common reasons for water entering homes during storms is overflowing gutters.
- Service your air conditioning units
As mentioned in our autumn maintenance checklist, servicing your air conditioning units is important during the colder months when they’re not being as used as much. Setting aside time to have them cleaned to remove any build-up of dust, mould, or allergens is crucial to the well-being and longevity of your tenants.
- Ensure there is adequate ventilation
Although part of your legal responsibility as a landlord is to ensure your property has adequate ventilation, lack of can means your property getting stale, musty, and having a rise in mould growth. Ventilation is the best way to bring in the fresh air and ensure there is no trapped air inside any rooms which typically are closed up for days on end.
- Show your tenants where the stopcock is
If, in the harsh winter weather, your rental property’s pipes freeze, pressure can build and cause them to burst. Although rare, it’s handy to have your tenants be able to locate the stopcock to turn off the water mains in an emergency.
Staying on top of maintenance and repairs can be a mammoth task, especially while trying to make sure your property stays within compliance at the same time.
But with that being said, there are a few maintenance and repair duties that stay consistent all throughout the year, regardless of the season, such as:
- Testing smoke alarms and carbon monoxide detectors
- Keeping on top of mould growth
- Decluttering your gutters
- Checking the landscape
- Servicing your HVAC units
These are all duties that can and should be performed all throughout the year, wherever possible, particularly during inspections.
And while you, as the landlord, are generally responsible for the majority of the repairs, duties and responsibilities should be clearly outlined in the tenancy agreement prior to the tenant moving in, to identify who is responsible for maintenance from the get-go.
28% of owners we surveyed said that property damage was one of their biggest fears during leasing, which is why investing in a good property manager can be invaluable.
Because property managers can not only find great tenants for your rental property but can provide transparent, hassle-free property maintenance for your property. Ensuring your property not only stays well maintained but always meets compliance.
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