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If you’re a rental property owner, you know that preventative maintenance is key to keeping tenants happy and the investment in good shape. But what exactly falls under the umbrella of preventive maintenance, and why is it so important?

What is preventative maintenance?

Preventative maintenance includes checking for potential problems, ensuring systems function correctly, and even performing system upgrades. And irrespective of whether you are managing the property, or it is managed by an external party, it is essentially taking a proactive approach to maintaining the property you rent out.

As a rental property owner, keeping up with preventative maintenance will help you save money and headaches in the long run, and when it comes to being a successful landlord, preventative maintenance is key: get ahead of problems before they start.

HVACs, air filters, and dryer vents

An HVAC system is like a car: you must maintain it regularly to run smoothly. And just like cars, when preventative maintenance on a HVAC system is neglected, small problems can suddenly become expensive repairs.

During a preventative maintenance visit, an HVAC technician will inspect the equipment, test for any issues, and make sure all the elements are clean and free from debris. They’ll also check refrigerant levels and ensure the unit is putting out enough air. And, of course, they will clean the air filter. It’s important to change these regularly – if not, you risk poor air quality due to dust build up in the vents. On top of that, if the air filter gets clogged with dirt and debris, the HVAC system will slowly ramp up its energy consumption and drive up the electricity bill.

While not every apartment has one, another element of the home that should be checked regularly is the dryer vent. If the dryer vent gets clogged with dust and lint, it will result in a less-efficient appliance and can lead to fires.

Power washing

How is power washing considered preventative maintenance? Having a rental home professionally power washed at least once a year is far more beneficial than just aesthetic. Paint quality and appearance is improved and any dust, mildew and even salt spray (for those living close to the ocean) is removed. Removing any slippery mildew from sidewalks is also important for ensuring everyone’s safety.

Smoke alarms

It is recommended you test your detectors at least once a month to ensure they are working properly. If your smoke alarms are powered by a nine-volt battery, the battery should be replaced every 6 months, while the alarm itself should be replaced once every 10 years.


If you’re fortunate enough to live in a property that includes a body corporate or property manager you probably don’t have to worry too much about the landscaping in common areas. What you may need to consider is any private garden linked to your unit. Having a well-planned, low maintenance type garden with manicured lawns, trimmed bushes and trees, and freshly mulched flower beds will attract better tenants and help preserve property value.

Another thing to keep in mind is the irrigation system. If your home has one, you should have it inspected at least once yearly (the beginning of spring is a good time) to ensure it’s ready for warmer weather.

Landscaping can be more than just an aesthetic issue. For example, if tree limbs are left untrimmed, they could easily fall on the home’s roof, creating a mess you’d rather not be responsible for remediating. Further, clogged gutters can lead to water pooling around the house and possibly getting inside.

Property inspections

Regular property inspections are like a doctor’s visit to your rental property. By inspecting the premises, landlords can address any small maintenance issues before they turn into expensive problems. Small electrical and plumbing issues may be identified and dealt with, and it permits landlords to ensure that their tenants are keeping the place clean. Overall, inspections are an invaluable practice – they help landlords make sure everything is shipshape and allow them to spot any problem areas early.

Work with a professional property management company

Working to an annual maintenance schedule is the easiest way of managing regular maintenance of investment properties, or the responsibility can be delegated to professional property managers. Experienced property managers have close relationships with reputable local vendors with proven records of excellent work whom they can send to your home. Further, they can help you get on a regular preventative maintenance schedule with HVAC companies, landscapers, and more.