Why is scheduling regular rental property maintenance and using a template is a good idea.
New landlords ask me all the time how to go about getting in to perform regular maintenance on their homes while the tenants are living there. I love this question because it lets me hit on the importance of communication with your renters. I feel strongly that letting your renters know what to expect up front is very important to have a healthy and happy relationship with your renters. When a new landlord asks me the question I usually tell them that in their contract they typically have already given the the renters notice that they can come into the home at any time with 24 hours notice. Having said that I will often go into my spiel about scheduling regular maintenance ahead of time and presenting the renter with a schedule when they sign the lease. I’ve found that when I do this with tenants they are much more apt to keep the place tidy, and also be much better about making plans for me to come over. Lastly, over the years I’ve noticed that when I show this schedule to potential renters (and they can see from the schedule that I plan on being over every month or so) the bad renters tend to move on to the next landlord that isn’t so actively involved and I’m left with the good ones! I’ve made this rental property maintenance schedule into a template that I’m providing you with for free.
Using the Rental Property Maintenance Schedule
The template itself is really easy to use. It has the following five columns:
- Maintenance Item: In this column I just put 1 to 2 words describing what I’ll be performing maintenance on (like Hot Water Heater, Granite Counter Tops, etc.)
- Maintenance Description: In this column I will detail out a bit about what I will be doing in performing the rental property maintenance and about how long it should take (this helps when scheduling with the Tenant when they want to be there).
- Reoccurance: In this column I will specify how often the rental property maintenance needs to be performed. For example draining the hot water heater needs to be done yearly while changing the air conditioning filter needs to be done monthly.
- Month of Service: This helps the renters to know when to expect my call to schedule and gets them mentally prepared for the fact that I’ll be visiting with them. In this column I typically just put the Month because as you’ll see in the last column I get more specific. Note: If the service is performed weekly or monthly I just put that (“Monthly” for example) in the field itself.
- Date Scheduled: This is where the renter can keep track of the rental property maintenance date specifically. They would pencil this in when I call them and schedule or when they call me to schedule.
The rental property maintenance schedule is something that I fill out and give to my tenants at prior to signing the lease. I have them keep the template and tell them to update it as I check in each month or so. I’ll also add to it as new rental property maintenance issues come up I need to maintain something new or something I wasn’t aware of needing to perform maintenance on presents itself :).
Other Rental Property Maintenance Tips / Tricks
- I like to create a google calendar to keep all my property maintenance in one location and keep tabs on it in a visual way on the calendar. So I use the template to communicate with my renters and give them a tool to keep on task with but I use Google Calendar myself to schedule the actual maintenance and add reminders for myself etc.
- You can schedule a reminder for yourself in Google docs that will send you a text message, email, or pop up. This is a great way to remember you need to call the tenant and schedule time to perform the regular rental property maintenance.
- An even better way to remember to schedule things or remind your renters (especially if you live in email like i do) is to use a service called “Follow Up Then”. You can check out their services at followupthen.com. This is a free service that will send you follow up reminders through email whenever you like. It’s so simple to use, you just sent an email to the service with the text of what you want to follow up on and when you want to follow up. So if I wanted to send my renters and myself a reminder note 90 days in the future I would just send an email to email@example.com and CC my renters. I would put the actual reminder in the subject line (Something like “need to talk about lease renewal”). Ninety days later I would get an email back from followupthen.com with my reminder.
- If your renters are new and you aren’t sure if you trust them yet or not you can tell them that you’ll be performing some regular property maintenance in a surprise visit with only the 24 hours notice some time over the course of their lease.