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Good maintenance keeps your tenants happy in your rental homes. It also might just make the difference between things running smoothly at your rentals and expensive repairs or replacements.

When you’re out doing your rental inspections or just touching base with tenants, make sure all the relevant items are checked off of your fall maintenance to-do list!

Water and Air: Disconnect, Check and Clean

If you have garden hoses at your rentals, make sure they are disconnected. Any pond pumps you have should also be disconnected and stored in a bucket with water to keep the seals from drying out completely.

You will also need to drain any exterior faucets you have that are not frost-free so they don’t freeze. Lawn sprinkler systems must be drained and blown out using compressed air.

Clean make-up air intake and combustion vents and the parts of any air exchange system you have, such as a heat recovery ventilator. The clothes dryer duct is another spot that needs cleaning but is often overlooked; your damper should both move freely and close properly.

Look for wasp nests in your kitchen and bathroom exhaust dampers. If you have nests in these terminals, the dampers won’t open properly.

Roof and Exterior: Inspect and Correct

You will find soffit vents under your roof overhangs, and these need to be cleaned. They can get clogged by insulation, paint, dust and lint. Be sure to also check your roof vents for any bird nests, and clean your gutters once the leaves are done falling.

If you have sump pumps or downspouts that are draining into an underground system, consider re-directing them so they drain to a ground surface if possible.

When it comes to the exterior, check for and seal any gaps. Take a close look at caulking in areas where it may need to be refreshed, such as around faucets, pipes and ducts. Replace worn or damaged weather-stripping around your doors and windows.

Furnace and Air Conditioning: Ramp Up and Wind Down

You don’t need an outdoor cover that drapes over your outside AC unit; just find one that covers the top if you are concerned about debris on the machine.

For the furnace, have a professional come in to perform a tune-up. Replace the batteries in the thermostat because you don’t want to have frozen pipes if your tenants decide to go away for a while during the winter months. Replace or clean your furnace filter every one to three months depending on the filter type.

If your rentals have a fireplace, get the flues regularly cleaned in accordance with use. Make sure your tenants do not burn wood unless it is hard and dry, and make sure they are cleaning the dust out of any fireplace insert bottoms in use.

Encourage your tenants to perform maintenance as needed, but only ask them to do what you feel is in line with their responsibilities and capabilities. Ask your tenants to always report any issues with their rental to you immediately so you can get minor problems fixed before they become major issues.

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