Why is the off-season a good time for maintenance?
The slower off-season provides a good opportunity to perform maintenance that may be more difficult to coordinate during the busy season. Additionally, for short term or vacation rentals, if you expect your unit(s) to be vacant during the off season, you do not have to worry about not being able to rent out units due to the work being performed, or having to cancel reservations due to a delay.
Another perk of performing off-season maintenance involves the availability of contractors who can help. For example, getting your furnace serviced or replaced before the fall season can save money and be easier to schedule.
Making an off-season checklist can help you target priority tasks during your seasonal slow periods.
What maintenance tasks can I add to my checklist for the off-season?
Since every property is unique, developing a checklist that is unique to your property can help make sure you are keeping up on the maintenance and repairs that will keep your property desirable.
One overlooked area of building maintenance is energy efficiency. These cost effective repairs can make a big difference:
- Check the caulking and seals around windows.
- Replace worn weatherstripping around doors.
- Repair any gaps that make heating and air conditioning systems less efficient, create drafts, and allow water intrusion.
Bathroom and kitchen
The bathroom and kitchen can be subject to a lot of wear and tear by tenants as the appliances and fixtures are not frequently replaced. To help extend the life of these vital rooms, you may want to:
- Inspect and replace the caulking around sinks, toilets, tubs, and showers, as these are prone to deterioration over time.
- Check for leaks, as even small ones may lead to water damage and mold.
- Regularly run the water on all faucets, and flush all toilets in any unit(s) that may be vacant for several months to avoid p-traps drying out.
The off-season is a good time to inspect and maintain equipment that tenants rely on in an emergency, such as a power outage, kitchen fire, or natural disaster. Common items to check, test and replace include:
- Smoke and carbon monoxide monitors.
- Batteries in alarms and flashlights.
- Fire extinguishers certification dates.
- First-aid kits and emergency supplies that may have expired.
Heating and cooling
Heating and air conditioning are vital systems in most rental properties. Regular maintenance of these systems is an inexpensive option compared to waiting for something to break and hiring a contractor to make an emergency repair or replacement. Common HVAC maintenance items to add to your list are:
- Scheduling an inspection.
- Changing the air filters.
- Cleaning air ducts, chimneys and flues.
The yard and landscape of your rental property are important amenities that need constant care. During the off-season, you may want to pay focus on:
- Cleaning out rain gutters.
- Visually inspecting the roof.
- Have outdoor watering systems inspected for damage and leaks.
- Winterize outdoor watering systems, when and where required.
- Trimming back vegetation and trees.
How can I optimize and improve my rental business during the off-season?
Every business can make a Business Plan to keep it on the track to success. If you do not have one, or have not updated or reviewed your plan in a long time, the off-season is a great time to do so. Your Business Plan can incorporate a financial statement that sets out a budget for your off-season maintenance, and clearly explains how money is to be raised, spent, and earned.
In addition to the annual maintenance, your checklist can assess other aspects of your business as well. For instance, you may want to review promotional or marketing efforts. You can also revise your tenant screening process and Rental Application to help find the best tenants. Lease Agreements can be updated. If there have been major changes to the property, you may want to update your Tenant Repair Request form as well.
If you have more questions about an off-season maintenance plan or improving your rental property business, reach out to a Rocket Lawyer network attorney for affordable legal advice.
This article contains general legal information and does not contain legal advice. Rocket Lawyer is not a law firm or a substitute for an attorney or law firm. The law is complex and changes often. For legal advice, please ask a lawyer.