Property management companies are tasked with the responsibility to, at the least, maintain the value of the property, and ideally, improve the value. All while keeping costs under control. A preventative maintenance plan delivers a solid rate of return in risk mitigation, resident satisfaction and asset protection.
Unfortunately, multi-family housing presents a unique challenge due to the combination of 24/7 occupancy and high use of common areas.
Property management companies are quick to repair any reported maintenance requests. However, too many operations and maintenance staff find themselves working in this type of reactive environment, never knowing what major repair or replacement will occur next.
But just when everything is quiet and seems to be ticking along, that’s when the phone calls can start pouring in about the water damage that’s appearing in the common area on the top floor or the mould on the ceiling of the underground garage.
Types of Preventative Maintenance
From top to bottom your properties need daily, weekly, seasonal and year-round preventative maintenance. Your checklist should cover all areas of the property and grounds, including security systems, fire safety, lighting and sensors, laundry rooms, building entryways and common areas, fitness and recreation areas, signage, decks and balconies, HVAC systems, the roof, parking and landscaping/hardscaping.
Ongoing Daily & Weekly Maintenance for Normal Wear & Tear
Perform regular inspections on all equipment and facilities that are subject to damage or normal wear and tear. From monitoring the pool and spa chemical levels to checking the boiler, there are a myriad of ongoing maintenance responsibilities that need to be performed by your maintenance staff, specialized contractors, superintendents and/or housekeeping staff on a daily, weekly or monthly basis.
Make inspection a priority with your property managers and their teams. Employ thorough daily, weekly and ongoing checklists that must be signed by the inspecting employee. Be sure to hold teams accountable for the diligence of their examinations.
Reduce risk by ensuring that all safety equipment is routinely reviewed and maintained. This includes sprinkler systems, smoke alarms and fire extinguishers to confirm that they are constantly in good working order. All property main utility shut offs (gas, water and electric) should be marked on a readily available property map. Maintenance and other personnel should have access to a fully stocked first aid kit, as well as any gloves, goggles or special equipment needed to do their job.
While residents need to have good hygienic practices, pest control is not the sole responsibility of the tenant. Just because residents have not complained, it’s not an excuse to ignore preventative pest control management. Termites, ants and cockroaches can seemingly spread overnight.
A good preventative maintenance schedule will ensure that:
- Any cracks around and windows are sealed promptly
- Holes in screens are repaired
- Indoor and outdoor garbage collection areas are swept and kept clean
- Any standing water in gutters or downspouts is removed
- Trees and bushes are kept trimmed
The types of property maintenance listed above are just the tip of the iceberg. A management policy of “zero tolerance” for maintenance defects is a must. If your property management is shifting from a more reactive environment to a preventative maintenance plan, taking on everything at once can be impossible. Start by replacing any reactive work with a proactive plan over time.
Use a cloud-based maintenance system so that there is a clear audit trail and no resident issues are lost or overlooked.
Leverage your tenant portal to educate your renters about their responsibilities and promote strong community engagement toward keeping the property looking its best.
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