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Rental Maintenance Checklist for New Landlords

Being a landlord is not easy, whether it’s your primary job or an extra source of income. When you’re just starting out in this line of business, it’s important to treat it as such — business.

Every business person wants their business to be in order, and so should you want for your property. Everything needs to function properly, and the place needs to be in a perfectly livable condition.

You don’t want your tenants calling you in the middle of the night to tell you their bathroom is flooded. That’s why it’s best to act before any damage occurs.

Preventative vs. Corrective Maintenance

home improvement

If you don’t want to pay for costly repairs and subsequent damage control, it’s better to be safe than sorry. Any experienced landlord knows that preventative maintenance is much better than the corrective kind. After all, there are some basic minimum standards that are the landlord’s responsibility, and tenants should not have to worry about them.

So before your tenants move in, you need to make sure that everything is in order. Then, you should plan for periodical maintenance checks and notify the tenants well in advance so that they can prepare. This way, both you and your tenants will have peace of mind.

Here are the basic maintenance tasks you need to do.

Check for Any Water Damage

Plumbing issues and water damage can become a true nightmare if you don’t discover them on time. Something as small as a slow-flushing toilet could easily turn into an overflowing bowl if you ignore the problem.

Inspect all the water sources on the property carefully, and call a plumber if you see any drips or leaks. Also, check the walls and ceilings for any rainwater damage. If the place smells damp or moldy and you can’t identify the problem, call a professional because there is a hidden leakage.

Make Sure the Cooling and Heating Systems Work


You should make a point of checking the HVAC and AC systems at least once a year. Heating is necessary for your property to be legally rentable, so you want to keep it in check. It may work fine now, but if you don’t call in a technician every once in a while, you could wake up to an emergency call one winter morning informing you your tenants are freezing.

A technician will change all the filters and make sure everything works like a well-oiled machine. If you want to know more about HVAC filters, read my post on the differences between MERV 8 and MERV 13 filters.

Don’t Forget About the Water Heater

You’ve probably heard stories of people’s water heaters exploding and causing a lot of damage and even physical harm to someone. Maybe this has happened to you as well. If you don’t want to be responsible for such a horror scenario, you need to make sure that the water heater on your property works well.

Is your water heater making a noise? It might be time to replace it. Those who are in the market for a new water heater, read our comparison if you are not sure about choosing a gas or electric water heater.

These should also be drained occasionally to remove any built-up sediment.

Pest Control Is Essential

Your tenants should be the only occupants of your property — they shouldn’t be forced to share it with any pests. Insect invasions can be dangerous. Some especially sneaky pests, such as bedbugs, can make the property unlivable if the infestation goes out of hand.

Make sure you take all the precautionary measures to prevent this from happening before it grows into a huge problem.

If you are renting out a vacation home, check out the best vacation rental improvements.

Smoke Alarms and Carbon Monoxide Detectors

smoke detector

Smoke and carbon monoxide detectors are a must in every rental apartment and house. If the property you’re renting has several units, they should all have these detectors. Call in a professional to check them once a year.

These devices can save you and your tenants a lot of trouble and prevent your property from burning down to the ground in case of fire.

Provide Adequate Security Measures

Your tenants need to be safe, and in many countries, providing the appropriate security measures is a landlord’s responsibility. This means that the doors and windows should lock. Check if all the windows close completely and if their seals are broken.

Another thing you mustn’t forget about is that you should always change the locks when new tenants move in. You don’t want everyone who’s ever lived in your rental space to be able to enter it at all times.

Inspect the Gutters

We don’t often think of gutters, but if they get clogged, your property could suffer serious damage from the trapped water. Before you or your tenants even notice it, the very foundation of the house could be harmed.

It would be ideal to clean the gutters twice a year. As leaves and other objects can clog your gutters, you may even want to do this more often if there are many trees around your house.

Exterior Home Maintenance

install lights

If you’re renting an apartment you likely won’t have to worry about the exterior of the building. However, if it’s a house with a yard and some trees, you may be responsible for maintaining these.

Of course, you won’t have to mow the lawns for your tenants, but pruning trees and other larger projects are your responsibility. This may seem unimportant, but unstable branches could crack under the burden of snow and even hurt your tenants.

Participate in Maintaining Common Areas

Your property may not have a yard, but it could be part of a building where you’re responsible for maintaining the common areas. You should make sure that there’s proper lighting in the hallways, that staircases and railings aren’t in dangerous conditions, etc.

If some neighbor makes a mess in common areas on a regular basis, you should be the one to send notice and make sure they stop.

Fix Any Cracks in Walls

Go around your property and inspect all the walls and ceilings. If you notice any cracks, inspect them carefully and patch them up. You need to make sure that the cracks are not part of a bigger issue, such as a structural problem or the collapse of the supporting pillars due to termite damage.

If the cracks return after you fix them, call professionals to inspect your rental house and how safe it is for living.

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