Fundamentals to Property Maintenance: A Guide

Fundamentals to Property Maintenance: A Guide

Maintaining a property is a huge chunk of your work as a property owner or manager. It includes a wide range of items like the cleaning of common areas, safety checks, as well as routine and spontaneous repairs of appliances throughout a residential building. It is absolutely essential that this is not performed haphazardly in order to achieve the satisfaction of your tenants, which in turn improves your reputation – ultimately resulting in higher client retention and a more secure revenue stream. 

Property maintenance duties can be categorized into two main categories: routine and reactive. Routine maintenance duties, as the category suggests, are tasks done on a regular basis. This includes regular cleaning and HVAC filter replacements. Reactive duties deal with issues as they arise, like flooding and appliance failures. 

It goes without saying that the types and list of maintenance tasks vary by the size and type of the property – the work needed to upkeep a fourplex in a suburban neighbourhood is considerably different from a 30 story apartment complex in a bustling downtown district. Duties also vary with the seasons as well – the variation in the elements and weather conditions pose different risks to your investment property you should work to prevent. Scroll down below to read more about essential property maintenance items by season.


For many of us, the end of summer brings cooler weather, falling leaves, and seeing your breath as a cloud of vapor as you exhale. For property owners and managers, this often means the threat of ice storms causing safety hazards and frozen pipes. Below are a list of a few of the most important tasks you should bear in mind during this time of year.

  1. Prevention of frozen pipes. As mentioned earlier, frozen pipes pose a huge risk. Ice in your pipes can lead them to burst indoors and cause severe water damage if no preventive measures are taken. Make sure tenants understand the warning signs, what preventive procedures to follow, and steps to take in case of an emergency. It’s also not a bad idea to install pipe insulation for especially at-risk areas.

  1. Water heater servicing. An essential piece of equipment as temperatures lower, the water heater is a hefty cost to repair and even more so to replace. Working with a licensed technician to drain the unit and remove any sediment that builds up once a year should go a long way to prevent large-scale disasters.

  2. Reversing ceiling fans. Do the units of your property have ceiling fans? Changing the rotational direction of your fans can greatly improve energy efficiency – this pushes warm air down into the room and ultimately reduces heating costs. As an added bonus, this also reduces your carbon footprint.

  3. Checking for water damage. Water damage poses several health and infrastructural risks to your property – mold growth can result from this as well the deterioration of your building’s structural integrity. Check for leaky pipes under cabinets, in basements, and around water heaters. It’s also a good idea to check the interior seals around windows and doors, which can allow cold air and moisture into your building if compromised. 

  1. Cleaning the gutters. This is best done in late fall, as fallen leaves can build up on your gutters and prevent the proper drainage of water. When this happens, leaks and roof damage can result – which is why it’s especially important to do this before it starts to snow. If your property is situated in an area with evergreen tree species like pine, you may need to have your gutters cleaned every few months.

  1. Winterizing outdoor hoses and taps. If your property includes external hoses or taps, you should disconnect and drain them before the temperature drops. Make sure you also turn off the external water supply so that no remaining water can freeze and cause pipes to rupture.  

  1. Preparation for snow removal. In the case that the leases for your property don’t require tenants to take care of snow and ice removal, you as a property owner need to plan accordingly for these duties. It’s paramount that you secure a contract with a snow removal service provider as soon as possible – the most reputable and well-ranked companies will be fully booked up once winter arrives. Otherwise, you’ll be stuck with vendors that may not provide the best services and prices that fit your budget.


With warmer, more humid weather comes ideas of vacationing and sun tanning. But as a property owner, you’d likely have your mind preoccupied on the threat of infestations and HVAC problems. However, these issues are not unmanageable when you exercise a little foresight and due diligence. See below for the list of key items to keep in mind for the warmer seasons. 

  1. Emergency alarm testing. As smoke and carbon monoxide detectors save lives, this task is an absolute must-do. While each detector unit should have a lifespan of about 10 years, take your time to test each device throughout your rental one at a time. Don’t forget to check the detectors in your common areas!

  1. Pipe inspections. Colder temperatures have a high potential in causing significant damage to your pipes and plumbing systems. The warming of the weather presents a great opportunity to check on this infrastructure for unexpected changes, damages, cracks, and the like. Make sure all connections are sealed properly and that there are no ‘sweaty pipes’ – this may be a symptom of ventilation issues.

  1. Thermostat testing. You’ll want to make sure your thermostat is taking the temperature accurately – this will affect your tenants’ enjoyment of your units as well as your energy expenditure. As part of your HVAC preventive maintenance, check your thermostat. 

  1. Replacing or fixing damaged window screens. Generally, windows have a lifespan of 10 to 15 years, though damages may occur that shorten their life cycles significantly. As such, screens should be monitored on a yearly basis. This is especially important in the summer so as to prevent bugs from accessing your units and causing an infestation. 

  1. Cleaning exterior vents. Debris buildup in exterior vents can be easily overlooked. Make sure to inspect exterior outlets, range vents, bathroom and dryer vents to make sure proper airflow is sustained. This is one of the many vital steps to take for fire prevention and safety. 

  2. HVAC servicing. It’s a good idea to have a technician to service the HVAC systems before the weather heats up. They’ll make sure the filter for air conditioning systems are replaced if needed and the other involved apparatuses are up-to-date. This way, your tenants can come home to a fully-functional air conditioning system after spending time outside in the sweltering sun. 

  3. Security inspections. Statistically, burglaries peak in the month of June – this means that you should check to make sure doors, windows, and their locks are secure at the beginning of Spring to keep your property and tenants safe. Of course, security inspections can happen any time to adapt to the condition of the property and its surrounding environment as you see fit. 

The above list of tips is by no means an exhaustive list of all the important property maintenance items to keep in mind as a property owner. Every property is unique and requires different services to keep it in prime condition – ensure that you are aware of the needs of your investment property as a property owner. It’s also no secret that property maintenance can be quite costly on both a financial and mental scale. This means you’ll have to prioritize certain duties and balance your budget based on importance and frequency. 

All this can sound incredibly overwhelming for both new and experienced property owners – which is why you may consider hiring a property manager to take care of this for you. Property managers are highly skilled and well-versed in everything about running a property on a day-to-day basis, and are typically well connected to vendors and suppliers, reducing the effort needed to carry out many of these tasks. Want to learn more about our property management services? Click here to find out more.
Data is supplied by Pillar 9™ MLS® System. Pillar 9™ is the owner of the copyright in its MLS®System. Data is deemed reliable but is not guaranteed accurate by Pillar 9™.
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