Preventive maintenance is crucial for property managers because it helps ensure the property remains in great shape. Having a well-maintained property will bring in potential clients as they will have confidence that you will keep the building in good condition, protecting their investment.


What Is Preventive Maintenance and Its Importance

Preventive maintenance is simply maintenance that you take care of regularly. This type of maintenance can refer to caring for a building, a car, or any other piece of machinery. Think of it as the action you take to ensure that everything works just as it should, such as inspecting or cleaning various parts of the building.

Preventative maintenance is important because it allows you to prevent future problems or spot future issues early. Some of the ways that preventive maintenance can help include:

  • Preventing future issues
  • Identifying issues early (This typically makes them easier, more affordable, and less time-consuming to resolve.)
  • Minimizing downtime from problems
  • Decreasing the cost of future problems
  • Reducing the risk of having to pay a worker for overtime or emergency repairs
  • Extending the life span of parts of the building, like the handrails in the stairways, or the building as a whole
  • Improving safety


What Is Preventive Maintenance?

We already touched on the fact that preventive maintenance is the type of maintenance that you complete to prevent future problems. But, there is a bit more to it than this. Preventive (or preventative) maintenance helps you reduce the risk of issues in the future and the problems associated with them, such as not being able to collect rent because there are no tenants while you make repairs.

Preventive maintenance does not just include the actions of maintaining the property, though. It also includes careful scheduling, planning, and organization. This type of property maintenance requires you to be aware of your property’s various parts that need regular efforts to remain in good condition. It also requires your knowledge of how often each part of the property needs to be inspected and maintained and what is involved in that.

Creating a preventative maintenance program is not something you can do in a matter of minutes, as you will need to know the maintenance requirements. Then you need to assign someone to take care of those for every single part of the building, from the exterior landscaping to the electricity to the plumbing to the elevator to communal appliances like laundry machines or the HVAC system.

As you work out your preventive maintenance plan, you will also have to be aware of the various types of preventive maintenance requirements, including time-based and usage-based. For example, for the elevator in your property, time-based maintenance would be the manufacturer’s suggestion for inspections after a certain number of years, while usage-based would be for inspections after a certain number of trips up and down. You need to include both on your maintenance plan.

Also, be sure to read Why You Should Think Twice Before Returning a Tenant’s Security Deposit

The Individual Pieces of Preventive Maintenance for Property Managers

The individual pieces of preventative maintenance depend on what you are maintaining. In the case of property managers, the preventive maintenance tasks focus on keeping the property and building in great condition. The following are some of the types of preventive maintenance that property managers will need to take care of. Keep in mind that the exact tasks vary based on the type of property.

  • Changing the furnace filters
  • Inspecting and cleaning the HVAC system
  • Draining the water heater
  • Replacing the batteries in smoke detectors
  • Cleaning the fridge coils
  • Inspecting kitchen appliances
  • Inspecting washing machines and dryers
  • Flushing the water heater
  • Cleaning the dryer vents (or confirming they are clean)
  • Tightening any handles, racks, and knobs
  • Repairing the caulk or grout in the bathroom
  • Cleaning the sediment from the shower heads
  • Cleaning the carpets
  • Cleaning the fireplace and/or chimney
  • Inspecting the weather stripping on the windows and doors
  • Cleaning the gutters
  • Inspecting the roofing and siding
  • Inspecting the sump pump
  • Checking for bug infestations
  • Painting the exterior and interior
  • Ensuring the landscaping is in good condition (including fertilizing when necessary)
  • Trimming overgrown tree branches

As part of preventive maintenance, you should also be sure to communicate with your tenants. Ensure that they have a way to contact you about any issues and understand their obligations concerning maintenance. Technology like Podium can make it easier to stay in communication with your clients. You can even get started with Podium for free today.


Preventive Maintenance Vs. Corrective Maintenance

In your role as a property manager, you will need to take care of both preventive and corrective or reactive maintenance. While both are necessary, it is always best to focus on preventive maintenance due to important differences between the two.


Defining Each 

Preventative maintenance is the maintenance that you plan ahead to help reduce the risk of future issues. By contrast, corrective maintenance refers to the repairs you make after something has already broken down. Essentially, you use preventive maintenance before the malfunction and corrective maintenance after.


Maintenance Costs

In nearly every case, preventive maintenance will cost less than corrective maintenance. This comes from multiple factors, including the fact that you extend the property’s life span (or that of a component like a fridge), and problems are not allowed to worsen.


Time Involved in the Maintenance Work

 Another benefit of preventive maintenance over-reactive or corrective maintenance is that it typically takes less time. For example, it would be faster, even cumulatively, to inspect the roof twice a year than to replace the entire roof. Time is money and can also lead to downtime.

The reduced time involved is particularly important in the case of maintenance tasks that can disturb residents. After all, prolonged annoyances can lead to unhappy tenants and complaints that you have to deal with.


Maintenance Planning

Another aspect is that you can plan preventive maintenance and schedule it for a time that is most convenient for you. By contrast, corrective maintenance will frequently need to be prioritized. While some types of reactive maintenance can be delayed, others will constitute emergencies, requiring you to push your other responsibilities back.


Major Trends Influencing Preventive Maintenance – And How It Brings in Clients

In addition to the savings in terms of time and cost you get from preventative maintenance as a property manager, it will also help you bring in clients. But, how does preventative maintenance help attract clients?


Reassurance That the Property Is in Good Shape

If you engage in preventative maintenance, your property is likely in good condition. Your regular inspections would let you spot any issues early on, so you could fix them. The various parts of the building, from appliances to electricity to windows, are likely to function properly.

For property owners, this is among the most important factors. After all, the building is an investment for them. They do not want it to wear down or require extensive repairs earlier than necessary.

 When everything works, tenants can expect to have a hassle-free experience in the space, at least from a functionality standpoint. Even if you make prompt repairs, they will be wasting time and causing inconvenience every time they have to submit a work order.

 The reduced risk of problems reassures tenants that it’s unlikely that they’ll experience unplanned downtime in commercial properties. In residential properties, it means less hassle trying to work around problems or not being able to relax at the end of the day.


Reassurance that You Are Well-organized and Prompt

 The fact that you take care of preventive maintenance also indicates to clients that you are well-organized and can take care of issues as they arise. This is highly reassuring as it implies that work orders will be addressed quickly. It also shows you will be easy to contact and that you are unlikely to lose necessary paperwork.

 This will help you both in attracting property owners as clients and bringing in new tenants. Property owners will be relieved that you are organized enough to keep everything in their building running properly. Meanwhile, tenants will appreciate that you follow through on promises and can be trusted to take care of problems in their homes quickly.


Summary – Why Property Managers Should Care about Preventive Maintenance

Preventive maintenance makes your job as a property manager easier as you are less likely to have to budget for massive repairs or worry about downtime or the inability to rent out a unit during those repairs.

 It also helps you attract new clients, both property owners, and tenants. Property owners will trust you with their property as preventive maintenance implies you will take good care of it. Tenants will appreciate the reduction in potential problems associated with living or working in a well-maintained property.

Elizabeth Gallagher
Elizabeth Gallagher Real Estate, Legal & Financial Services Account Executive

Elizabeth Gallagher is a real estate and legal professional at Podium, the premier messaging platform that connects local businesses with their customers.

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