Make Property Maintenance Prioritization a Breeze by Using Portals

by:
on October 14, 2019

Any rental property owner can tell you that successfully maintaining and running a property takes more effort than simply collecting rent checks each month.

When it comes to maintenance concerns, property managers have plumbing, appliances, HVAC, landscaping, and hot water to worry about, so knowing where to start can be a challenge.

With that in mind, we surveyed 75 landlords and property managers to find out their biggest rental property maintenance concerns as well as their monthly maintenance costs.

Here are some of the most important takeaways from our survey, followed by a deep dive into rental property maintenance tips:

Key takeaways:


  • A third found prioritization as the largest challenge, but managing incoming work orders, visualizing completed vs. incomplete tasks, and completing work orders on time were all considered the second biggest challenge.
  • Over 70% of property managers spend under $10,000 per month on maintenance with 40% spending less than $5,000.
  • The number of units managed doesn’t necessarily correlate with total monthly maintenance budget.
  • Property managers who don’t keep a close eye on trends in work order request types run the risk of missing on warning signs that A/C units, appliances, and other common maintenance issues are likely spending thousands of dollars replacing those systems instead of repairing at key moments.

Rental property maintenance expenses come from a variety of sources

You know the maintenance problems your property faces better than anyone, but here are some of the most common places property managers spend money on maintenance and some quick tips about how to properly maintain them in order to reduce costly replacements:

HVAC
  • Make sure air filters are replaced monthly
  • Flush the system before summer begins
  • Get a technician to service each unit at least once a year
Water heater
  • Drain the sediment at least once a year
Refrigerator
  • Replace the water filter in the refrigerator at least twice a year
  • In between tenants, clean the refrigerator coils
Dryer
  • In between tenants, make sure the dryer vent is completely lent-free by disconnecting it and vacuuming out the vent tube
Washer
  • Encourage tenants to run an empty cycle on front-loading washing machines once a month to reduce mold and mildew buildup

That’s hardly a complete list, but by keeping up with some of these low-cost preventative measures you’ll save thousands of dollars in the long run.

Also, be sure to keep a close eye on maintenance requests to see if there’s a growing amount of similar problems. By doing this, you won’t miss opportunities for preventative maintenance to extend the life of their assets.

If you’re seeing an uptick of water heater issues from units that are all about the same age, you might want to consider running a diagnostic on all of them to see if you need to repair or replace them before they cause property damage.

Prioritizing rental maintenance work is most challenging for property managers

While prioritizing work was the most pressing challenge, the fact that the remaining responses were so closely grouped suggests maintenance as a whole is a concern for property managers.

most challenging maintenance problem

Prioritize preventative maintenance first

Landlords struggle with figuring out how best to prioritize the rental property maintenance requests.

And we get it. Aside from emergency maintenance requests (which should be handled as soon as possible to avoid further property damage), it can be tough to determine which problem to tackle first.

Do you worry about appliance maintenance? Landscaping? HVAC?

The list of potential worries with maintaining rental properties is large, but if you’re looking for a place to start prioritizing, start with preventative maintenance.

For example, make sure the air filter is replaced every month. Even if you think it’s your tenant’s responsibility, you should routinely go in and replace every air filter for each unit to prevent air conditioners from malfunctioning.

In the end, what’s more appealing: Spending $15 to $20 on an air filter—or thousands on replacing an entire A/C unit?

Use property management software to help with maintenance challenges

Property management software makes it easy for tenants to submit maintenance requests any time of day or night.

When tenants submit a request, they can select how pressing it is, which helps you prioritize and manage incoming work orders. Tenants can even take photos or videos of the issue so your technicians know what to prepare before going to work on the unit, saving them valuable time.

Another benefit of tenant portals? They help your tenants pay rent on time. If used properly they can quickly become an integral part of an efficiently run property.

It’s important to keep in mind that every property management solution has different functionality, but if maintenance is one of the largest concerns your property faces, focus on finding a software vendor that prioritizes maintenance features.

And, as always, if you need any help finding the perfect software solution for your property management business, give us a call at (844) 688-1783 to chat with an expert advisor.

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