The reality is, you need to stay on top of regular maintenance even more when someone else is living in your property and you’re not there to see things that need service before they break completely.
If you allow pets in the rental, fur can block air filters and refrigerator condenser coils. If your overhead garage door isn’t tightened, lubricated, and balanced, it can bind up, stress out the electric opener, and cause it to break. If you don’t drain your water heater every year, it can burn out the burner pan and flood the house.
These big things, and many small ones, should be looked after on a regular basis. And even if you try to do major maintenance between tenants, it’s still good to have a record of when it was last done and who performed the service.
This property management problem is multiplied when you own and rent out more than one property. You need to track maintenance for each property, managing each on a separate schedule since your leases aren’t always in sync, and you might use different service providers – especially if your properties are in different neighborhoods or even different cities.
All of this starts to feel like a full-time job, while rental properties are supposed to provide “passive income” and not require your constant attention and management. Even if you use a property manager, it’s still ultimately your responsibility to make sure everything is maintained. And when someone else is doing the work, you should still know the maintenance schedule and keep track of who did it and when.