Why Landlords Should Commit to Yearly Apartment Building Maintenance

Apartment Maintenance

As a landlord, your property portfolio is your livelihood. Regular maintenance of your multi-family property or apartment building reduces tenant turnover, extends the lifespan of your property, enhances curb appeal, helps you justify market pricing, and identifies issues before they become major.

It’s your responsibility to maintain specific health and safety standards for your tenants and ensure that your building meets local municipal building codes or terms spelled out in your rental agreement, such as lawn management or snow plowing.

To avoid costly and damaging emergency repairs and keep your property looking great, routine maintenance is a must.

Your Multi-Family Building Annual Maintenance Checklist

While multi-family and apartment buildings have varying maintenance needs depending on age, composition, and location, plenty of items apply to almost all properties. Try this handy checklist for staying on top of your annual maintenance.

  • Perform annual walk-through. Make an appointment for an annual property inspection to identify problems and future repair needs. Provide tenants with adequate notice prior to the inspection.
  • Check apartment numbers. The property number and individual apartment numbers should be visible from the street and in contrasting paint or signage. Repaint, repair, or update as required.
  • Check paint and siding. Peeling paint or damaged siding looks unsightly and can cause problems down the track. Repaint and repair damaged areas every year.
  • Check roof and foundation. Foundation should be in good repair, and the roof should not have missing tiles or flashing. Assess the lifespan of your roof and plan for replacement as needed.
  • Check seals and gaps. Gaps around fixtures or siding can affect insulation, cause leaks and facilitate rodent infestations. Repair and seal any gaps.
  • Check smoke and carbon monoxide detectors. Check batteries, replace older units and install new units if required. Enlist the fire department’s help if local laws require it.
  • Check walls and ceilings. Check interior areas for holes, water damage, chipping or peeling wallpaper. Repaint, repair, or replace as necessary.
  • Check chimneys. If your building has chimneys, check that they’re structurally sound. Have them cleaned on an annual basis as well.
  • Check floors. Uneven areas, holes, or trip hazards such as risen floorboards or carpets can be a major safety issue. Check floors are sound and make repairs as needed.
  • Check doors and windows. Doors and windows must close and lock completely. Check doors to the complex or shared areas are secure. Ensure locks are replaced when new tenants move in, and repair or replace cracked, broken, or loose doors, windows, or frames.
  • Check kitchens. Make sure appliances are clean and functional, and that tiling, counters, cabinets, ventilation systems, and hot water systems are in good repair. The water should be hot.
  • Check bathrooms. Check tubs, showers, and sinks are properly installed and draining properly. Check for leaks, cracks, and issues with lighting or ventilation. Check cabinets and counters are in good repair. The water should be hot.
  • Check outlets. Outlets should be functioning, properly wired, and not overloaded. Ensure appropriate outlets are installed in areas with running water or with large devices such as dryers.
  • Check electrical panel. Check panel is up-to-date and not overloaded. Ensure that plates are covered, wiring is protected, and permanent wiring is being used – not extension cables.
  • Maintain HVAC systems. HVAC is a major source of tenant emergency repair requests. Inspect, flush and clean heating and AC units and ducts, and update or replace old systems. Make this a biannual effort – once before winter kicks in and once before summer hits.
  • Check plumbing. Make sure plumbing is properly installed, with no leaks or drips, and that mitigation options exist for extreme weather.
  • Check the water heater. Twice yearly, flush the water heater and check for damage. Water heaters are expensive to replace, so preventative maintenance can save you money.
  • Clean gutters and downspouts. Leaf-filled gutters can cause leaks and structural damage. Clean gutters once or twice a year – more often if large trees surround your property.
  • Prune and maintain trees. Overgrown trees impact tenant enjoyment of shared outdoor spaces while falling branches can damage power lines and roofs and make outdoor areas unpassable. Trim and prune trees and clear any leaf debris. Remove dangerous branches or dying trees, especially if high winds or snow are a concern.
  • Check yard areas. Even if you have a regular gardener, check your yard area for grading, flood issues, overgrown areas, debris, and litter.
  • Manage pests. Insect and rodent infestations cause damage and health issues. Have an inspector check for signs of infestation and handle the issue as required.
  • Check garbage cans. If garbage is your responsibility, ensure enough cans are provided and that they’re being collected in a timely manner. Choose cans with lids and locks to deter vermin.
  • Check fixtures. Lighting fixtures, handrails, stairs, and elevators must all be in working order.  All stairways with more than four steps should have functioning handrails constructed to current safety standards. Repair or replace damaged items and clear any debris.
  • Check laundry areas. Confirm machines are functioning and that vents are clear and unobstructed. Blocked vents are a fire hazard.
  • Check for unauthorized use. Unauthorized or dumped cars, building additions, or occupancy limits can affect your property, insurance liability, and individuals’ ability to enjoy their homes. Make sure any updates are approved, abandoned cars are removed, and occupancy laws are adhered to.

Call An Expert to Help with Your Maintenance

Need some help working through the above checklist and making the required repairs? At Manders, our team of licensed and bonded maintenance experts can assist with everything from repainting to clearing debris. Talk to us today about doing your annual building maintenance inspection walk-through with you – and ensuring that nothing gets overlooked.