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  27 Aug 2021
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Property Maintenance: Essential For Higher Rental Profits


What is Property Maintenance

Property maintenance is the application of cleaning, safety checks, and repairs throughout residential buildings.

Some forms of routine are used to maintain properties but most of it is reactive. Routine maintenance includes building walkthroughs, regular cleaning, and HVAC filter replacements.

What is Rental Property Maintenance

Routine maintenance includes monthly costs associated with maintaining the exterior curb appeal and interior common areas of the property if it applies.

The property owner should include landscaping, regular exterior, and interior cleaning, garbage, and recycling collection to his monthly maintenance costs as well.

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Follow the International Property Maintenance Code (IPMC)

It is a set of regulations that specify the minimum maintenance requirements for existing buildings.

Its purpose is to establish minimum standards for maintaining building components like the structure’s exterior, plumbing, mechanical, electrical fixtures, sanitary installations, and fire fighting equipment.

The international property maintenance code covers the following:-

  1. Scope and Administration
  2. Definitions
  3. General Requirements
  4. Light, Ventilation, and Occupancy Limitations
  5. Plumbing Facilities and Fixture Requirements
  6. Mechanical and Electrical Requirements
  7. Fire Safety Requirements
  8. Referenced Standards

The IPMC is renewed every 3 years and is available for adoption and use by jurisdictions internationally. You can check full details of what the IPMC covers here

What Does Property Maintenance Include

In order to prevent unplanned downtime, proactive maintenance must be done by property management. 

Proactive maintenance is a maintenance strategy that works by identifying possible problems and fixing them before equipment breaks down.

Here are the types of proactive maintenance:

Preventive Maintenance (Planned Maintenance)

Preventive maintenance is the practice of doing routine maintenance on a regular basis to keep equipment and assets running in optimal condition and preventing significant damages before they actually happen.

Preventive maintenance can be done often at an affordable price, by conducting checkups and replacing defective parts.

Predictive Maintenance (Condition-Based Maintenance)

Predictive maintenance, also known as condition-based maintenance is a technique that uses data, both historical and real-time to analyze the condition and possible anomalies on the equipment and assets so maintenance can be performed in a timely manner before a failure happens.

Predictive maintenance is scheduled as needed based on the estimation from data instead of a regular interval. This helps to keep the maintenance cost low.

Why is Property Maintenance Important

When property maintenance is done right, it helps to increase the market value and desirability of your property.

Aside from that, doing maintenance inspections on a regular basis can also prevent your tenant from renovating the property without permission.

While property maintenance may not seem as high-priority as other maintenance tasks, there are many benefits to investing in this.

It is important that you invest in property maintenance, but choose the right time when doing so. You want to make sure that your building will be able to stay in good shape without needing any major repairs or replacements.

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Benefits of Property Maintenance

Reduction of Equipment Breakdown and Failure

Property maintenance is crucial as it ensures that your building or property will suffer fewer downtimes. As they say, prevention is better than cure.

The same goes for your property assets, especially the major ones as they could be very costly to replace. Make sure they are periodically inspected and fixed as soon as possible for safety and cost-saving.

Avoidance of Liabilities

One of the most effective ways of reducing the likelihood of accidents (which could lead to a lawsuit) in your building or property is by having routine property checkups performed on a regular basis.

Increased Property Value

A well-maintained property retains its market value. A property that suffers from neglect will inevitably decrease in value and detract from rental prices over time.

A neglected property will surely depreciate in value and suffer from lower rental rates over time. This is why a property needs to be well-maintained in order to retain its market value. 

Happy Tenants

If you keep your tenants satisfied, there's a greater likelihood that they will continue to rent from you or even recommend your properties to others.

Some people are also willing to pay more for a place where they are happy.

Less stress from the unexpected repairs

Being a landlord is definitely not an easy feat.

Imagine getting a late-night call from a frustrated tenant about an unexpected breakdown that needs immediate repair.

You can’t fully prevent this from happening, but doing proper routine maintenance will help to reduce the likelihood of this situation from happening.

How Much is Maintenance on a Rental Property

As a landlord, you need to know the ins and outs of your property maintenance. A lot of this maintenance will cost you money.

It is important to know how much maintenance is on your rental property, so you can budget accordingly.

According to the 5x Rule, maintenance will cost 1.5 times the monthly rental price.

For example, if the monthly rental is $1,500, it will cost you an estimate of $2,250 annually on maintenance costs.

How Much Should You Set Back for Maintenance of a Rental Property

To create a maintenance reserve for a rental property, the 50% Rule states that a property’s yearly operating expenses will be estimated at 50% of your gross rental income.

These expenses include maintenance charges, property taxes, insurance, repairs, owner-paid utilities, etc.

For example, if you earn $1,500 a month, then you should set back $750 for maintenance costs.

What is a Property Maintenance Company

A property maintenance company is usually hired by landlords to help them care for and improve the condition of their property by doing regular maintenance and repairs.

Property maintenance companies are often hired for their professional knowledge, speed, and reliability.

If you own a number of properties, you may find it overwhelming to manage them on your own.

Engaging the services of a property maintenance company can help you greatly in taking these responsibilities off your shoulders.

How Much Do Property Maintenance Companies Charge

As an estimate, the cost to manage a residential property by a property management firm is between 8 – 12% of the gross monthly rental fee.

Some property maintenance companies may charge a flat fee per month especially if your property is vacant.

You need to also take note that these fees might not be all-inclusive. You could be charged an extra fee for additional services.

Is Hiring a Property Management Company Worth It

Everyone has a different perception when it comes to value.

You may think that a management fee of 8% is a lot, but when you think about the time you saved and the stress you avoided, it's probably a smart investment.

Here are some examples of services a property maintenance contractor may include:

  • General cleaning and sanitization before move-ins
  • Snow removal/snow clearing
  • Storm cleanup
  • Lawn maintenance includes lawn mowing, watering, weeding, clearing of dried leaves, tree pruning, and more
  • Carpentry, furniture, flooring, and door repair
  • Power washing/pressure washing
  • Plumbing and electrical (to be conducted by licensed technicians)
  • Sign installation (new and replacement)
  • Pest control
  • Testing of fire alarm and inspection of fire extinguishers
  • HVAC (heating, ventilation, and air conditioning) system maintenance
  • Refuse separation and removal
  • Painting
  • Drywall replacement
  • Graffiti removal
  • Swimming pool maintenance
  • External repairs (façade, sidewalks, windows, doors, roofs)

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How to have a Maintenance-Free Property

Unfortunately, a maintenance-free property is just a dream. You may, on the other hand, make your home as low-maintenance as possible by following these tips.

Choose the Right Finishes

In order to build a low-maintenance home, it pays to choose low-maintenance finishes such as

  • Choose quartz that can withstand stains, scratches, and high heat for kitchen countertops instead of marble and granite
  • Choose matte black stainless steel for kitchen appliances instead of traditional stainless steel to avoid smudges
  • Choose vinyl instead of wood for siding
  • Choose metal roofs (lightweight steel panels) instead of standard roofs

Read more about the different finishes for a low-maintenance home

Pay for Quality

The concept is simple: Pay the price of a higher quality product or pay the price of repairing or replacing a cheaper quality product that you’ve bought.

However, do bear in mind that a higher price doesn’t always translate to higher quality. Hence, it is best to do your research and compare the options that you have.

Investing in quality will save you from headaches and your wallet from bleeding.

Automate Maintenance Management

When you have more properties than you can manage, it could be very stressful and challenging to handle so many maintenance tasks.

Furthermore, you will also waste a lot of time and effort to keep track of records manually.

Many landlords have turned to automating their maintenance management using maintenance management systems to make their lives easier.

These systems can help to organize and improve every element of maintenance, manage time-consuming administrative duties, track safety, assess performance, save maintenance costs, and much more.

Regular Property Audits

It helps to schedule a regular Facility Condition Assessment (FCA).

During the inspection, the team will check the current condition of the property and assets. Then, they will identify any safety hazards and highlight areas that need improvements.

In the FCA report, you will find thorough estimates of the material components for repair or replacements of each system and equipment to help with long-term capital expenditures and maintenance costs planning.

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Conclusion

Property managers and landlords have a responsibility to maintain the property in order to make it more attractive and appealing to potential renters. It is also regulated by law in most jurisdictions.

From this article, you would realize that property maintenance has a lot of advantages, be it for residential property or commercial property.

If you’re worried about the costs of doing repairs, they can be reduced by hiring maintenance providers.

If you are a landlord who is unable to spend time on routine maintenance, there are other ways to get help.

For example, you may want to consider hiring a property management company or turn to the help of a property management system that offers to help you automate your property maintenance.

More Resources:

What is a property management system

References:

“2018 International Property Maintenance Code (IPMC)”, ICC Digital Codes, April 2018

https://codes.iccsafe.org/content/IPMC2018P2/preface

Accessed 20 August 2021