Savvy multifamily property managers have a plan in place for rental property operations – both indoor and out. They know a little preventative maintenance in early autumn will help protect the rental property from the winter ahead, and safeguard against any resident unhappiness. And, your fall checklist goes should well beyond maintenance as you need to be thinking about the year ahead.
Here’s a checklist of activities to have in place.
Autumn is a good time to check in with your management performance. Evaluate how efficiently you’re hitting any financial targets and how your operating budget is being spent. There is still enough time to make any course corrections and get your financial books in order before the end of the calendar year.
Industry and Competitive Analysis
Take this time to assess what is happening in the industry and how it may have an effect on your properties costs. This data can be pulled from upcoming changes to municipal laws or regulations, market conditions and opportunities, etc. Are bank rates going up? Is it time to raise the rents? Consider doing a SWOT analysis to understand how your property is positioned and performs against the competition in the market.
Examine the property and your whole portfolio against the annual goals set annually by the board, stakeholders or owners. This includes revenue, property value, budgets and property manager performance. Based on this data you can make recommendations on major revenue and cost drivers, as well as set budgets for any major upgrades, renovations and preventative maintenance.
Finding new tenants during the holiday season is more challenging that the summer months. Check all upcoming renewals and send renewal notices as well as check in with your residents personally to get a clear idea of who is staying and who might be moving on. You may want to consider incentives for staying, depending on your market. The earlier you can start marketing your properties the better. Have your crews waiting in the wings to do any in-between tenant work like painting or tile repairs. You’ll want everything to be ready as quickly as possible.
Fire Drills & Safety
Perform your annual fire drills and safety checks, and send all tenants a copy of your fire safety plan. Conduct a test on all smoke/carbon monoxide detectors, see that fire extinguishers are in good working order and easily accessible. Also, make sure all emergency exits are unobstructed.
With holiday celebrations around the corner, now is the time to remind tenants about proper use of candles and what to do in the event of a kitchen fire. Remind them about any restrictions on heating and lighting devices, like space heaters or holiday lights.
Heat is the single most important utility during the winter, so well before the temperatures dip and the heat gets cranked up you’ll want to ensure everything is in perfect working order before the first freeze. Change the filters, adjust temperature settings, and take care of any necessary tune-ups. If your properties have fireplaces, see that the chimneys and flues are clean and free of creosote.
Windows & Doors
Check all openings into the building. Reseal any doors and windows where required.
Before the snow comes, make a round of the outdoor lighting and take care of any minor repairs. With the loss of daytime light and autumn time change, adjust the timers in outdoor and other security lighting.
The roof of your multifamily building should be at the top of your fall maintenance as it takes the brunt of the winter snow and springtime melt. Clear any autumn debris and check roof, scuppers and downspouts for any leaks or obstructions. Every fall is the time to evaluate wear and tear, and plan any preventive maintenance.
Your maintenance teams or landscapers should now be planting any fall bulbs for spring, wrapping any bushes, trimming tree branches and clearing leaves. Take a look around for any branches that need to be trimmed or trees showing signs of disease. Water from irrigation or sprinkler systems and garden hoses should be drained to avoid freezing and cracking. Insulate spigots and store water hoses.
Cracks and Drainage
Have your teams walk around your properties and look for any problems with drainage after the heavy autumn rain, like pooling water or dampness around the building. Check driveways, parking areas and underground parking for water and cracks. You team will need to keep a sharp eye out for potential leaks and flooding.
Snow Removal & Winter Supplies
If you own snow removal equipment have it inspected and ensure it is in good running shape. Order any supplies like shovels, salt or sand. If you hire a contractor, lock down your costs and get a schedule for snow removal for your properties. Now is the time to hire a company to place winter mats in high traffic areas.
How Property Vista Helps
Property Vista’s suite of property management solutions makes rental property maintenance easier. Our mobile inspection tool allows you to perform all types of inspections conveniently with any mobile device, and digitally store any data for future reference. You can set up work orders for preventative and emergency maintenance, and quickly convert work orders into purchase orders. See pricing and arrange a demo here.