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September 4, 2018

Having a property can be a profitable business. However, in order to be successful, the landlord has certain responsibilities that should be performed on a regular basis, including maintenance duties.

In addition to the property management tasks that the owner has to do, he or she needs to ensure that the property itself is in good condition all the time. After all, no one would want to rent a filthy house with a lot of damage.  

As a general rule, one percent of the cost of the property should be allocated for its maintenance. For example, if you own a $300,000 rental property, the maintenance cost is $3,000 or $2500.

This should be enough to cover cleaning, repair and other improvements necessary to keep the property in top shape.

Keeping a Rental Property Clean: Best Practices & Checklist

Needless to say, a neat rental property is more inviting to potential tenants. But more than this, presenting a clean and organized property to your new tenant helps set proper expectations. It tells them that you turned it over to them clean so you expect the same treatment to your property.

Keeping your property clean is also one of the key steps to preventing damage that will most likely call for costly repairs. Regular cleaning lets you spot problems around the property and fix them before they get worse.

Before a new tenant moves in, conduct a thorough cleanup. This checklist should make cleaning any rental property easier for landlords:

  • Get rid of everything the previous tenant has left behind. Aside from the fact that you and your new tenant don’t need them, these items can just make it difficult for you and your staff to move around and thoroughly clean the property.
  • Clean ceilings and corners, as well as the windows.
  • Wash walls with soap and water. If necessary, repaint the walls especially if there are markings that cannot be removed simply by soap or alcohol.
  • Sanitize rooms and bathrooms. Do a thorough cleanup in bathrooms, especially the toilet. Use quality cleaning products that can deal with tough stains and germs.
  • Vacuum carpets, sweep and mop the floors.
  • Remove dust from furniture.
  • Deep clean the kitchen. Clean the fridge, oven and other appliances. Wipe down the insides and outside surfaces of cabinets.
  • Clean faucet and sink, as well as the countertops.

Keeping the Garden Clean: Best Practices & Checklist

Just as you want to keep the home interior clean, you also want to give attention to your yard. In most cases, the tenant is not responsible for maintaining the property exterior so aside from preparing the lawn and backyard prior to the move in, you also want to schedule a routine cleanup at least every after a few months.

Follow this checklist when cleaning the garden for a successful outcome:

  • Clean out gutters. Clogged gutters can cause serious problems in your roof, such as ice dams.
  • Power wash driveways, pathways, and the house siding.
  • Clean windows and screens.
  • Clean patio furniture.
  • Mow the lawn.
  • Trim plants, remove weeds, prune trees and shrubs, and trim rogue branches.
  • Clean out debris, such as fallen leaves and weed.
  • Aerate the soil.
  • Rake and mulch.
  • Power wash the deck to prevent the growth of mold and mildew.

Preventing Water & Fire Damage

Water, flood and fire damage are among the most expensive and difficult problems that any homeowner, property manager or landlord can deal with.

Between 2011 and 2015, the U.S. Fire Department responded to 358,500 home structure fires, which costed an annual average of $6.7 billion in direct damage. Flooding and water damage pose the same risks to any property.

Thus, taking steps to water and fire proofing your rental property is crucial to avoid costly damage in the future.

Follow this checklist to keep your rental property safe from fire and water damage.

  • Ensure that your land is properly graded to prevent flood and water from running to your basement walls.
  • Plant trees, shrubs and other vegetation to help prevent soil erosion.
  • Always keep the roof in good condition. Replace broken or missing shingles, clean gutters, and ensure that the downspout is free from leaks.
  • Check for any leaks (such as burst pipes) and fix them right away. Take care of indoor air circulation, because moisture can cause mold build-up, which calls for costly removal.
  • Inspect the electrical wiring, switches and panels in your rental property. Schedule a regular inspection.
  • Make sure the smoke alarms are working.
  • Replace malfunctioning appliances.

Keeping Your Rental Property Safe & Secure

Last but not the least, you should take proper steps to secure your property. Burglary remains a threat in rental property business.

It’s a scary experience for the tenant, and a costly problem for the landlord. Fortunately, there are ways to lessen the risk of burglary and other property crimes in your property.

  • Secure the main entrances. Invest on high-quality door locks, such as a double cylinder deadbolt, for added security.
  • Also check your window security.
  • Install security and alarm systems (or update if you already have one). Security systems are deterrent to criminals and thieves, and are a plus point for prospective tenants.
  • Install external lighting. Consider motion sensor lighting. It makes potential intruders think that your property is always occupied, even if you don’t have a tenant yet. For apartment complexes, be sure to install lights in the front doors, sidewalks, and parking lots.
  • Get rid of anything that can serve as a hiding place for intruders. Trim back bushes and trees so it’s easier to spot whether someone is around.
  • Lastly, educate your tenants. Give them helpful tips on how they can avoid becoming a crime victim.


Being a landlord can be a rewarding career. Many people who jump into this industry have had great success. In many areas, you can charge a much higher rent than your monthly mortgage payment, and earn anywhere from $200 to $400 monthly.

But being a landlord requires certain skills and responsibilities. Maintaining a rental property is pretty much like maintaining any other property. You have to keep it clean, free from damage, and always safe and secure.

Following all these checklists will ensure that your rental property lives up to the expectations of your tenants or prospective clients. It will also save you from costly repairs in the future that can significantly undermine your potential profit.

Consider hiring a property manager if you think you will not be able to handle all these things. And don’t forget the insurance. Make sure your insurance policy covers every aspect of damage and reconstruction. Read the terms and choose the insurance coverage that will best protect your property.

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