With summer right around the corner, what steps can you take to ensure your rental property is running smoothly? Summer maintenance, both inside and out, is an important part of our Atlanta property management services. Find out why we recommend routine maintenance, and which maintenance you should prioritize in the summer, by reading our summer maintenance guide below.
Why You Should Perform Regular Maintenance
Why do our property management experts recommend routine maintenance? According to the Georgia Landlord Tenant Handbook, property owners are responsible for structural maintenance such as the roof, the plumbing, and the electrical system. Regular maintenance is always cheaper and easier than addressing emergency maintenance issues. Inexperienced property managers may tell you it is okay to skip tasks such as a yearly AC system check-up, claiming you can cut costs by $100 per year or more. However, neglecting this task means your AC will have a shorter lifespan, and you will end up paying thousands of dollars to replace it early.
But what about maintenance issues that fall under the responsibility of the tenant? Most lease agreements leave basic maintenance like lawn care and cleaning to the tenant. However, if your tenant does not keep up with basic home maintenance it may lead to hazardous conditions such as:
- Overgrown landscaping that attracts pests
- Mold growing in wet areas
- Items blocking vents or furnace intake
In hazardous situations, it is the job of your Atlanta rental property management to speak with your tenant and come up with a solution. An expert property manager should be able to clearly communicate expectations and help your tenant do their part when it comes to rental property maintenance. For more information about dealing with untidy tenants visit this post.
Low-Maintenance Curb Appeal Tips
What do potential tenants think when they first see your rental property? Even when you take great care of the interior of a home, an overgrown lawn will make your property look drab. First impressions matter, which is why we recommend spending time sprucing up the exterior of your rental home before putting it on the rental market.
Don’t forget, however, that any landscaping you install your tenant will likely need to maintain. Make seasonal maintenance easier before you list your house for rent by choosing low-maintenance landscaping. While lush, green grass, and perfectly manicured flower beds make for a beautiful first impression they are not easy to maintain. So, unless you are willing to offer landscaping as part of your Atlanta property management services, we recommend low maintenance yards. Here are some ideas to get you started:
- Plant native plants that grow naturally in the Atlanta area. Native plants will be easier for your tenants to take care of. For recommended plants visit this post.
- Xeriscape your lawn. Xeriscaping replaces existing landscaping with water-conserving landscaping such as rocks and drought-resistant plants. Learn more about xeriscaping here.
- Plant drought-resistant grasses, shrubs, and flowers such as bermuda grass or yucca plants. For more drought-resistant Atlanta plants visit this post.
When you are making your “rent-ready” checklist, make sure you add low-maintenance curb appeal.
Review Tenant Maintenance Dos and Don’ts at Move-In
Let’s face it, even low-maintenance isn’t no-maintenance. Even if your rental property is easy to care for, your tenant will still need to be aware of their responsibilities. As we mentioned above, hazards can be caused by neglecting regular maintenance. However, poor tenant communication can exacerbate the problem. As an expert Atlanta rental property management company, we recommend reviewing tenant responsibilities at move-in. For example, if your tenant is responsible for changing out the AC filter, show them where it goes and tell them what size to purchase. If your HOA requires the lawn to be cut and weeded, make sure you tell your tenant before the HOA sends a fine.
Just as important as telling your tenant what they are required to do, you must make clear what your tenant cannot do. An overzealous tenant may try to be “helpful” by replacing a water heater or other big-ticket item, then send you the bill. While a tenant is legally allowed to “repair and deduct” maintenance costs, there are specific parameters when they do. Typically, it is easier and less expensive for a property owner to take care of these maintenance issues. Avoid an awkward, and potentially expensive, situation by clearly stating tenant and landlord responsibilities. Make it even easier for your tenant by providing an online maintenance request form, and always responding promptly to requests.
How Atlanta Property Management Services Provide Lawn Care Tips
If your tenant has not owned or rented a single-family home with a lawn, they may not know how to take care of one. After your tenant moves in, it is a good idea to provide tips and gentle reminders of their responsibility when it comes to seasonal lawn care. We recommend sending your tenant a quarterly email with seasonal lawn care tips such as:
- When is it time to dust off the lawnmower? Some grasses are dormant during the winter and do not need to be cut. Remind your tenants to start cutting the grass again in the springtime.
- How do you get rid of weeds? If your rental property has a problem with weeds, recommend an eco-friendly weed and feed in the spring and fall to keep the yard looking its best.
- What do you do in a drought? If Atlanta is experiencing a drought, remind your tenants to water their lawns sparingly. To check the current watering restrictions in the City of Atlanta visit this page.
Atlanta Rental Property Management Summer Maintenance Recommendations
Lawn care is important, but summer home maintenance does not end there. Atlanta gets hot during the summer, but preventative maintenance can help your tenant keep cool. Encourage your tenant to take a walk around the rental home and check the following items:
- Ceiling fans: Make sure all fans are balanced and switched to their summer setting (air flowing down).
- Electrical Outlets: A hot electrical outlet is a sign of danger. Ask your tenant to check outlets periodically and report any that feel warm to the touch.
- Windows and Doors: Check the sealing on windows and doors to make sure they are airtight. Improper sealing will allow cool air to leak and increase electricity bills.
- Central Air: Change out dirty air filters to improve air quality and AC performance.
- Siding: Clean the siding and take note of any damage or rot that needs to be addressed.
- Gutters: A leaky gutter can cause damage to your rental property. Ask your tenant to report any leaks, and make sure water is draining away from the foundation.
- Pool: If your property has a pool that was winterized follow all professional guidelines to prepare the pool for summer use.
Atlanta Property Management Services: Regular Property Inspections
Are biannual or quarterly property inspections part of your property management routine? Some property managers only inspect their rental homes at move-in and move-out. However, after nearly 30 years in property management, we have learned that regular property inspections are worth the time and effort. Here are our best tips for performing a summer property inspection.
- Give your tenant plenty of notice that an inspection is coming. It is never a good idea to “drop in” for an inspection.
- If your rental property needs professional services, such as an AC tune-up, try to schedule it around the same time as the inspection for efficiency.
- Walk around the exterior of the property and take note of any broken gutters, torn window screens, standing water, and damaged siding. Catching these issues early leads to less expensive repairs.
- Inside the rental home, check for common hazards such as loose balcony and stair railing, buckling carpet, hot electrical outlets, and leaking pipes or hoses.
- Test all smoke and carbon monoxide detectors and replace batteries as needed. Check that fire extinguishers are not expired.
- Take note of any lease violations such as unapproved renters or pets.
Before you or your Atlanta rental property management company complete an inspection, ask your tenant if they have any issues that need to be addressed. It may surprise you to learn that many tenants don’t report minor maintenance issues. Access to a tenant portal, where your tenant can easily submit maintenance requests 24/7, can help this issue. However, some tenants are simply forgetful or busy. Regular property inspections are a good time to fix minor issues like dripping faucets or leaky gutters. While they may not bother your tenant, these issues can lead to expensive maintenance costs down the road.
What Makes Specialized Property Management Atlanta Stand Out?
Why do smart property owners turn to the experts at Specialized Property Management Atlanta? Property management is a full-time job, and small mistakes can cost you thousands of dollars. We offer a full range of services to meet every property owner and tenant’s needs. Our experts are there at every step of the journey to make sure your home and tenants are well cared for. The only thing left is to sit back and enjoy your investment.
To learn more about our full range of Atlanta property management services, visit our services page. To schedule a professional property management quote, call us today at 404-862-8980.