Your Guide to Property Maintenance

A property maintenance worker repairs a furnace

Proper upkeep can prevent the need for expensive, significant repairs in the communities you manage.

Key takeaways:

  • A community manager should stay on top of routine maintenance.
  • Jobs are usually straightforward but keeping up with them is a lot of work.
  • Hiring professional contractors makes maintenance much easier.
  • VendorSmart can put you in touch with a variety of vetted, fully compliant vendors. 

It’s critical that community managers stay on top of routine maintenance because it ensures properties stay functional and in excellent physical condition.

Not performing this maintenance could leave you dealing with major repairs in the future, adding expenses for homeowners who won’t be happy with the job you’re doing.  But, what exactly does property maintenance entail for a community manager?

It’s surprisingly simple, as maintenance typically involves inspecting areas prone to deterioration and addressing potential problems before they do significant damage. The result is fewer major repairs popping up for homeowners.

Here’s a guide to property maintenance for community managers around the country. Don’t forget that hiring skilled vendors can make the job a whole lot easier. 

What to check during routine maintenance

One of the realities of being a community manager is taking care of property maintenance. Here’s what to check regularly to keep properties in good condition and avoid sudden, big repairs.

– Water damage

Few things do more damage to homes than water, so inspecting the properties within your community for water damage is essential. You can sometimes spot pooling water in obvious locations around the house, but it isn’t always that easy because water has a way of hiding in less prominent areas.

You’ll want to start your inspection by checking near water sources that could leak, including under sinks and around tubs. Checking the attic and basement or crawlspace is also advisable because these areas are prone to leaks from rainwater. Remember, if you notice any moisture where it shouldn’t be, you likely have a leak that you’ll want to repair as soon as possible.

– Roofs and gutters

You can begin your roof inspection in the attic while checking for water, as any moisture coming through the ceiling could signal a problem with your shingles. You’ll also want to climb onto the roof to look for damage to the shingles or signs of significant wear. Shingles tend to leak as they age, but keeping an eye on their condition allows you to address this problem early.

Cleaning the gutters is a relatively simple job that can save you headaches in the future. As leaves and other debris build up in your gutters, the gutters stop draining correctly. Scooping this debris out ensures drainage isn’t an issue and can reduce your fire risk if you live in a drier climate.

– Ceilings and drywall

Check the ceilings and drywall inside homes in your community for cracks and chips. While these issues aren’t dangerous for the home, they will spread if you don’t repair them immediately and they’ll become an eyesore.

Patching these cracks will take a professional contractor a matter of minutes. This saves more time-consuming and expensive repairs in the years to come.

– The HVAC system

It should be no surprise that the HVAC system requires maintenance, and you’ll want to complete these tasks regularly. 

The most straightforward maintenance job involves changing your furnace and air conditioner filters at least once every six months. At the very least, you’ll want to install new filters before you fire your furnace up for the winter and turn your air conditioner on for the summer, but changing them every three months is recommended.

If you allow your filters to get too dirty, they become clogged and force your furnace and air conditioner to work harder to heat and cool your home. From there, more components start breaking down, leading to expenses for homeowners. 

It also pays to have a technician inspect your heating and cooling units and perform a tune-up every year to address potential problems before they cause a service disruption.

– Safety features

Every home in your community should have primary safety devices like smoke alarms and carbon monoxide detectors, and ensuring they’re functioning is essential. This job might not be up to you as a community manager, but even posting reminders for residents to check their own alarms could help keep them safe. 

If checking these detectors is your job, it only takes a few seconds to test the battery. You’ll also want to ensure the devices aren’t expired, as most are only operational for about ten years.

Dryer vents are another safety hazard to regularly inspect and clean since clogged dryer vents are one of the leading causes of multi-family housing fires. Lint that builds up over time is like dry brush ripe for starting a fire. Hiring a dryer vent cleaning vendor that is trained in inspection and cleaning can take this repetitive task off your plate. 

– In the bathrooms

Bathrooms are a problem spot in many homes because water is so prevalent. You’ll want to check the caulk and grout around each fixture and tile for wear, ensuring water is contained to the proper basins and doesn’t begin leaking under your tubs or sinks. 

Checking for clogged drains is also recommended because these issues can cause problems near fixtures or further along in the sewer lines if you don’t repair them. A chronically-clogged drain could require the services of a plumber to ensure it doesn’t escalate into a broken or cracked pipe.

– Pest control

Look for signs of rodents and other pests as you inspect the properties throughout the communities you manage. While rodent droppings are the most unmistakable sign, chewed wires, nests, odd noises, and bad smells could also mean you have an infestation of some sort.

Insects are another common issue in homes throughout the country, as they can enter through small openings and rapidly reproduce once they get there. You might see a trail of insects when they’re present inside a home or some discoloration on the walls or floors where they’re hiding. 

No matter the pest type, immediately addressing the issue is essential because these animals won’t move out without some intervention.

Hiring maintenance contractors

While community managers and their staff can handle many of the routine maintenance jobs this guide covers, other duties will require the assistance of a professional contractor. For instance, you can probably change furnace filters without much trouble, but replacing other furnace components or dealing with a rodent infestation is best left to an expert.

VendorSmart is a vendor management platform that connects community managers with fully-vetted, compliant vendors. Once you’re aware of your community’s maintenance needs, you can use the platform to locate vetted service providers in your area. See how our platform works today.