It’s common to see tips for “winterizing” your rental for the cold months, but summer maintenance is often overlooked. With warm weather on the way, now is an ideal time to check in on your properties to ensure everything is in perfect working order – especially if your rental is currently vacant.
Typically, summer is one of the most active times of the year for the real estate market. For example, families with school-age children tend to move in the summertime before the next school year begins. Many college students and graduates are relocating for school, internships, and jobs while some renters choose to move in the summer so they can get settled in well before the holiday season.
This makes the summer an especially lucrative time of the year for rental properties! With that in mind, here are a few tips to ensure your rentals are summer-ready for your existing tenants or future ones.
Inspect Your Air Conditioning Unit
With the temperatures rising, it’s important to make sure your rentals are cool and comfortable. The best way to do that is to make sure your air conditioning unit is well-maintained.
Start by changing out the filter. This is usually located in the blower unit near the return duct. If the filter is clogged, it can cause the cooling coil to freeze up or the unit to overheat. Both of these issues are fairly expensive to repair, but a replacement filter is cheap and easy to replace. While you’re looking inside the unit, check the belts and bearings and replace anything that looks worn or damaged. Being proactive now will save you money in the long run!
Next, you’ll want to make sure that the exterior condenser has room for airflow. There should be at least two feet of space around the unit. If your unit is outdoors, you may have to trim nearby plants or shrubs, remove low-hanging branches, or clean up leaves or other debris.
Check the Interior Airflow and Ductwork
Once you’ve inspected your air conditioner and performed any needed maintenance, it’s time to go inside and check out the airflow and ductwork. First, check to see if all the air vents are open and free of things that could obstruct them, like furniture, rugs, or picture frames.
Next, it’s a good idea to take a look at the ductwork. Do you see excessive dust or mold? These can cause health problems, especially for tenants with respiratory illnesses, so it’s worthwhile to invest in having the ductwork cleaned.
Prep the Doors and Windows
Windows and doors should be inspected from a cosmetic and structural standpoint.
If you currently have dark, thick curtains, consider swapping them out for something lighter and allows the natural light inside. This makes the space feel larger, more open, and more inviting.
Next, check the areas around the doors and windows for any gaps that could let cool air leak out or allow insects to come in. Depending on the size of the gaps, you may be able to add some weather stripping or caulk to close them off. You should also check the window screens and replace (or repair) any that are ripped or torn.
Test Smoke and Carbon Monoxide Alarms and Security Systems
This tip isn’t specific to summer, but if you’re already making inspections, now is a convenient time to check your alarm systems to makes sure they’re functioning properly. If they’re in good working order, you may want to consider replacing the batteries while you’re there.
Clean the Dryer Vents
According to the National Fire Protection Association, firefighters respond to approximately 15,000 property fires caused by clogged dryer vents each year. These result in several deaths, hundreds of injuries, and millions of dollars in property damage. Fortunately, these types of fires can be easily prevented. If your property has laundry in-unit or in the building, make sure to unhook the dryer duct from the wall and remove any dust or lint that’s collected there.
Clean the Fans
Many people don’t use their fans during the winter, which means there are at least several months where dust can build up on the top side of the fan blades. This can create a downpour of dust once they’re turned on and potentially overwork the motor, so it’s best to clean them periodically.
Typically, less landscaping maintenance is needed during the winter. Once the warm months come around, you’ll need to make up for the lost time. Cutting the grass, removing fallen branches, trimming shrubs, planting flowers and pressure-washing dirty surfaces will make your property look more attractive. This is especially important since many residents will likely be spending more time outdoors.
Check for Summer-Related Requirements
Depending on where your property is located, there may also be state or local requirements for summer maintenance. For example, in Washington D.C., landlords are required to put screens on the windows and doors from March 15 through November 15 to guard against insects and other pests. Since housing rules often change yearly, it’s always a good idea to double-check for new state or local requirements that could affect your properties.
Completing seasonal maintenance can feel like a chore, but knowing what needs to be done and taking care of maintenance items proactively can help you save time, money, and hassle. It also ensures your existing or future residents will stay comfortable all summer long!
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