Each time the seasons change, it is a good reminder for landlords to conduct seasonal maintenance on investment rental properties. Performing seasonal maintenance is a sure way to keep maintenance costs low, keep tenants happy, and keep an investment property performing to its fullest potential. But with the heat of summer often comes heat from tenants with more maintenance requests. Tenants are known for complaining about malfunctioning air conditioning units, sprinkler failures, landscape clean up requests, and more during summer. For more than 30 years, Specialized Property Management in Orlando has helped rental property investors by performing routine and seasonal property maintenance, so that landlords don’t have to take the heat from tenants. Orlando rental property management companies know that maintenance requests do not take a summer vacation. Give yourself the gift of a summer vacation from seasonal maintenance by entrusting the SPM team to safeguard your rental property and conduct the maintenance for you.
Exterior Maintenance For Summer
Summer is in full swing across America and for some, it started as early as March with the news of the COVID-19 pandemic shutting down in-person schooling. Nevertheless, it is not too late to inspect and perform summer maintenance on your rental property. Better late than never.
- Curb Appeal: Any homeowner knows that keeping up with the landscape takes time and work each week. Unfortunately, failure to stay on top of landscape care can quickly turn a beautiful yard into an unsightly mess. To keep your yard looking lush and clean, mow the lawn, trim the trees and shrubs, check for dead tree branches, fertilize and inspect the sprinklers. A malfunctioning sprinkler can easily turn portions of healthy grass into dry, dead areas that can be difficult to revive. In addition to landlord and Orlando rental property management summer check ins, a lease agreement can state that the current tenants are responsible for caring for the landscape, including mowing the lawn weekly. This can cut down on yard maintenance for landlords and save them money by not hiring a gardener. It would be wise for a landlord to leave a few inexpensive and basic yard tools in the garage for the tenants to use and keep up with landscape care.
- Plant Appropriate Flowers and Shrubs: If landscaping a rental property for the first time or updating the current landscape, aim for low maintenance and drought-proof bushes and shrubs. In Florida, some of these include African Iris, various Agave plants, Bird of Paradise, Bahama Strongbark, and Bougainvilleas. Fill the garden beds with stones or bark to cover the dirt. Doing so gives the landscape a more complete and enhanced look.
- Decks and Patios: Wooden decks and patios get extra use during summer months with barbeques and play time. Orlando rental property management teams suggest that patios and wooden decks are inspected for rotting wood, risk of splinters, and securely fastened safety railings. Examine the stain job on wooden decks to determine if a new coat of stain should be applied. Wood stain only lasts for approximately two to three years, depending on the use and wear and tear. A contractor on Angie’s List states that a high amount of ultraviolet rays can cause wood deck stains to wear off more easily. Florida’s high intensity sun almost year round can quickly fade a wood stain.
- Window Screens and House Exterior: Examine all window screens to see that they are not bent or torn. If a tenant accidentally locks himself out of the house, climbing in through the window is usually a quick fix. However, window screen frames generally take a beating doing this and can be bent out of shape. Orlando property management services should see that the screens are not torn so that they can continue to keep bugs and rodents out. Pressure wash the exterior of the house and clean off cobwebs.
- Storm Cleanup: Orlando and Orlando rental property management companies are no strangers to natural disaster cleanups. Hurricanes, tropical storms, tornadoes, wildfires, and floods regularly affect Florida’s residents according to Florida Disaster. The City of Orlando has provided an Emergency Preparedness page on its website to educate residents about what they can do before, during, and after each type of disaster hits. Landlords can do their part by keeping their homeowner’s insurance information handy, taking pictures of the property before and after damage, and replacing damaged items. Take caution when clearing away broken tree limbs to avoid additional liability or insurance problems.
Interior Summer Checklist:
Interior seasonal maintenance checks provide an opportunity for landlords to catch small repairs before they turn into big, expensive ones. It also gives the property owner a glance into tenant lease compliance and the general cleanliness and well-being of the house. After posting a proper Entry Notice, landlords and Orlando rental property managers can legally enter a house and conduct a seasonal inspection. Nolo states that under Florida law, landlords can enter a property with as little as 12 hours’ notice, and possibly sooner if the tenant agrees. However, a landlord must only enter at reasonable times, defined as between 7:30am and 8:00pm. Once inside, have your checklist ready to go to make sure you do not miss any of the following stops while inside the property:
- Air Conditioner: If you have ever had your A/C break during the heat of summer, you know just how upsetting it can be to crank that thermostat down, only to have it do little to nothing in return. It is maddening and unless you are a Mr. Fix-It, you feel helpless. Orlando rental property management teams know that HVAC tune ups can assist with keeping an air conditioner performing to its peak. During the seasonal inspection, landlords should replace filters on A/C units, remove built up and dust on fans, and check and empty basement dehumidifiers.
- Appliances: Turn on and off all appliances. If any part of an appliance is not working, make the repair. It is more cost effective to make a repair than to replace the entire appliance when it breaks. Pull out appliances and dust or sweet behind and under them. This will limit the risk of a fire hazard.
- Signs of Mold or Water Damage: The most common place to look for signs of mold or water damage is the bathroom in Orlando. Rental property management experts want to educate private landlords on signs to look for to know if there is water damage. Keep an eye out for bubbling of the paint on the wall, softness to the touch on the wall, bubbling or softness of the flooring, or even eroding and soggy baseboards. Check under the bathroom vanities and kitchen sinks to make sure all is dry. Look for condensation on the interiors of windows or signs of water damage along the window sills.
- Smoke and Carbon Monoxide Detectors: Perhaps the most important item to check while inside of a rental property is the smoke and carbon monoxide detectors. Ensure that they are working properly and change batteries as needed. If a tenant has removed a smoke detector or the batteries, notify them of your findings and re-install it while on the premises. Check back in with the tenants a few weeks later with a proper Entry Notice and see if they have continued to comply with your request for them to leave the detector reinstalled. A working smoke detector and carbon monoxide detector can significantly limit a landlord’s liability in Orlando rental property management.
- Pests: Finding a sign of pests is a landlord’s nightmare. Whether it is ants, bed bugs, cockroaches, rats and mice, spiders, or termites, they are difficult to exterminate and come with a hefty price tag. Though some are more difficult to get rid of, for example bed bugs and cockroaches, landlords and tenants must work together to resolve the infestation. Look for insect frass or feces and dead insect bodies to determine if there is a pest control issue. Orlando property management services can and should state in the lease agreement that tenants must notify them if pests enter the premises. Tenants must also comply with treatment and additional recommendations to rid the house of the pests. Some of these recommendations may include wiping down food grease from all appliances to assist in cockroach treatment. Or requiring tenants to purchase a bed bug encasement for their mattress.
- Lease Compliance: The last thing to inspect for while inside your rental property is Orlando rental property management lease compliance. Take a mental note of the amount of beds, furniture, dressers, and belongings inside of the home to determine if there are unauthorized tenants living at the house. If your property has a “No Pets Policy”, look for signs of pets like dog feeding and water bowls, a litter box, pet beds, or pet food if it is located in a visible location. See that the property is picked up, tidy and clean.
Why You Need Orlando Rental Property Management with Specialized
If you have not already noticed, seasonal maintenance checklists consist of a lot of work. But do not let that deter you. Failure to conduct regular maintenance inspections can create more work and a decrease in rental property revenue from expensive repairs. Be honest with yourself and if conducting a seasonal maintenance inspection is not in the cards for you, let the experts at Specialized Property Management in Orlando help you. We conduct inspections daily across the United States and have meticulously trained staff that knows exactly what to look for and how to make the repairs if needed. Let us save you time and money. Contact us today.