Act Now, Thank Yourself Later: A Preventative Maintenance Checklist for Landlords

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During the first few years of owning and managing rental property, if someone asked, “Do I perform preventative maintenance?” I probably would have nodded my head and told them, “Yes.” However, as I look back, I don’t think we fully appreciated nor understood the importance of preventive maintenance! Early on, I was much busier running around and performing “reactive” maintenance.

Now, 10 years later, we have come to execute a preventative maintenance plan. Preventative maintenance is so incredibly important whether you own 1 or 100 properties. It can save you time, money, and most importantly headaches down the road.

Related: The Key to Saving Money in Real Estate: Property Maintenance

I hope this short five minute video helps provide some background on the importance of preventative maintenance and most importantly five areas to look for during your preventative maintenance walkthroughs.

As always, it is great to hear feedback. What am I missing? What works for you during your preventative maintenance walkthroughs?

Leave a comment below!

About Author

Matt Faircloth

Matt Faircloth, Co-founder & President of the DeRosa Group, is a seasoned real estate investor. The DeRosa Group, based in historic Trenton, New Jersey, is a developer and owner of commercial and residential property with a mission to “transform lives through real estate." Matt, along with his wife Liz, started investing in real estate in 2004 with the purchase of a duplex outside of Philadelphia with a $30,000 private loan. They founded DeRosa Group in 2005 and have since grown the company to owning and managing over 370 units of residential and commercial assets throughout the east coast. DeRosa has completed over $30 million in real estate transactions involving private capital including fix and flips, single family home rentals, mixed use buildings, apartment buildings, office buildings, and tax lien investments. Matt Faircloth is the author of Raising Private Capital, has been featured on the BiggerPockets Podcast, and regularly contributes to BiggerPockets’s Facebook Live sessions and educational webinars.


    • Matt Faircloth

      Hi Michael,
      Great question. We actually use the same checklist all year long. There is a section that involves the exterior condition of the property so if the snow is not getting shoveled in the winter or grass not being cut in the summer, that’s where it goes. We also change the filter on the furnace if there is one anytime we go out, any season. There are other things that just don’t pertain to the property or won’t be evident in the wrong season, like drafty doors or leaky windows. That’s why we try and do the inspections at different times of the year so these things show up at some point.

    • Matt Faircloth

      Hi Sammantha,
      You are on an interesting shift – moving from a renter to a landlord. In some circumstances that will benefit you greatly in this business. When you are doing the PM walkthroughs, think like a tenant. What will they ignore (smoke detectors, water leaks if they aren’t footing the bill, heater filter, etc…) and what will they make a big deal (problem with an appliance, problems with the neighbors, rips in the carpet). Be sure to use that part of your past to benefit your business!
      Good luck,

  1. Shane Matzen

    Thanks for the video Matt, very helpful. I like the tip on changing out furnace filters; Another one that I hear might be worthwhile is flushing the hot water heaters to extend their useful life.

    My wife and I just acquired two properties last year (our first investments) and are just getting out of the initial rehab/reactionary maintenance stage and will hopefully be shifting towards preventative maintenance this year. Doing walk through every 8 months is a great idea, thanks again for sharing!

  2. Matt Faircloth

    Hi Janice,
    Glad you enjoyed! Yes, Illegal activity is something to keep an eye out for, not because the blame could fall back on you but because tenants that willingly participate in illegal activity will probably have other issues that will show up sooner or later.
    Take care,

  3. Erick T.

    This time of year I’m looking for ice dams on the roof, and mold in the bathroom. Check refrigerators, as they can be sources of mold that will escape and grow elsewhere. Also, inspect the caulk in the bathroom. If it’s moldy, it needs to be replaced. I’ve even heard of some tenants using toothpaste to make the caulk look good before they move out, so touch it to be certain!

  4. Eric D.

    I just got done replacing the toilet float valve. The 4-plex used 3x as much water this quarter as last quarter. Over $500 in extra water costs. When they go bad, they cost plenty. Only ~$7 and 15 minutes to fix.

    • Matt Faircloth

      Hey Eric,
      Great point. We had the same thing happen in one of our 4 plexes. I could hear water running down the plumbing stack in the basement, not sure where it was coming from and all the tenants were not home. No leaky faucets, I was scratching my head. Only when I lifted the back of the toilet tank did I see the bad float valve. As you said it’s a very cheap fix to an expensive problem.

  5. jim jones

    Great video!
    I like the 8 month inspection cycle. I own one triplex myself but I don’t do any preventive maintenance at all! (only reactive!). I will start implementing this into my management techniques. Thanks for all the great information 🙂

  6. Neal Bratton

    Matt, Nice Video.
    Just wondering if you only check on the property every 8 months or just do your official maintenance inspection every 8 months? I would want to check on the property a bit more often. Even if it’s just a drive by.
    Thanks for the tips.

    • Matt Faircloth

      Hey Neal,
      We do a full walkthrough every 8 months and do a full check on everything. If I am in the area I may do a drive by, but you can only tell what’s going on on the outside. For the multis I walk the common areas at least once every 2 months.

  7. Michelle St. Claire

    Hi Matt, just stumbled across this post and have a question. How do you write the 8-month inspection into the rental agreement? Have you had pushback from tenants who stall/avoid the inspection? In that case, do you enter without them there? Thanks!

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