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6 Essential Maintenance Tasks Landlords Can’t Avoid


Real estate investors and landlords know that essential maintenance items exist for any rental property and many items simply can’t be avoided. Explore the following six maintenance tasks that landlords 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 at least annually and more often during periods of snow and ice buildup.

Air Conditioner Tuneup

Regular maintenance of the heating and air conditioning system, including an air conditioner tuneup, is an important maintenance check. Among the items included in an AC tuneup are cleaning the condenser coils, changing or cleaning the air filters, evaluating coolant level, inspecting the blower belt, and testing the functioning of the thermostat. Annual costs for an AC tuneup are quite modest and can extend the lifespan of the system as well as save on energy costs.

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 small 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 have expenses 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. Costs for excessively dirty or damaged carpets are usually paid for by the tenant. 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 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. According to Home Advisor, interior painting¬†typically costs between $380 and $790 for a 10-by-12-foot room, depending on the quality of paint.

Exterior repainting generally takes place on a 10-year cycle. According to Home Advisor, 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 that are 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.