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6 Essential Maintenance Tasks Landlords Can’t Avoid

home maintenance

Homeowners know maintenance is required on just about everything. While it’s a commitment not all homeowners want, it has an upside. Keeping up with regular maintenance can significantly extend the lifespan of a home.

Proper and timely checks and fixes help prevent wear and tear, identify and address issues early on, and preserve the structural integrity of the building.

Real estate investors and landlords know that they need to budget for property maintenance when they buy a rental property, and the older the home, the higher the cost of repairs and replacement.

Explore the following six maintenance tasks that landlords and homeowners shouldn’t overlook.

Gutter and Drain Cleaning

Drains and gutters can become blocked with leaves, tree roots, and other debris. Failure to remove blockages can lead to significant water damage, including water in the basement. Gutters, downspouts, and drains should be inspected and cleaned annually and often during snow and ice buildup periods.

Air Conditioner Tuneup

Regular heating and air conditioning system maintenance, including an air conditioner tuneup, is a vital maintenance check.

Among the items included in an AC tuneup are cleaning the condenser coils, changing or cleaning the air filters, evaluating the coolant level, inspecting the blower belt, and testing the functioning of the thermostat.

Annual costs for an AC tuneup are pretty modest and can extend the system’s lifespan and save on energy costs.  Remember to take electrical safety measures.

Inspections for Water Leaks

Plumbing systems will have issues. Rather than deal with expensive repairs later, inspect plumbing quarterly and fix leaks around faucets, sinks, toilets, and appliances such as the water heater and dishwasher.

Tackling minor repairs can save thousands of dollars later on replacing damaged ceilings, floors, or cabinetry. Of course, repair costs are a function of what needs to be fixed, but expect average hourly costs for a plumber to range from $45 to $150 per hour.

Lawn Maintenance

Tenants typically don’t maintain a yard like a homeowner. This lack of proper care can lead to weeds, overgrowth, and dead patches. Landlords should inspect lawns seasonally. Monthly lawn care service can cost as little as $30 per visit, while new lawns, if needed, can cost about $2,000 or more.

Carpet Care

Carpets should be cleaned between tenants. Carpet cleaning for a 1,500-square-foot house may have a nominal cost of perhaps $200. The tenant usually pays for costs for excessively dirty or damaged carpets.


Carpets in a home will eventually need replacing; expect to pay anywhere from $2 to $10 per square foot, depending on what type of carpeting you install.


Cleaning walls may extend interior paint to a tenant or two, but eventually, interiors will need to be repainted and small holes patched. Sometimes, excessive tenant damage may necessitate painting, which you’d bill to the tenant’s security deposit.

The typical cycle for interior repainting is every three to four years. Home Advisor says interior painting typically costs between $380 and $790 for a 10-by-12-foot room, depending on the paint quality.

Exterior repainting generally takes place on a 10-year cycle. Home Advisor says exterior painting for a 1,500-square-foot single-story house can cost as much as $3,000.

Landlords cannot escape essential maintenance tasks. Those not taken care of properly end up as deferred maintenance issues, generally costing more than the periodic maintenance would have. Plan in your budget for those items at your rental properties that need regular attention.

Inspection Tips For Homeowners

Regular inspections and maintenance allow homeowners to identify and address potential problems before they escalate. This includes checking for leaks, inspecting the roof, and ensuring proper drainage, among other things.

Small issues, if left unattended, can lead to more significant problems over time. By promptly addressing minor repairs, homeowners can prevent the deterioration of building components and systems.

Create a checklist of all the parts of your home that need to be checked and how often you need to do it.

Your inspection should extend to appliances, too. Regular maintenance of appliances, heating and cooling systems, and other home systems can extend their lifespan. This saves money on replacement costs and ensures that the home functions efficiently.