Spring cleaning has become synonymous with getting your affairs in order. With its roots dating back centuries ago, spring cleaning began as the heavy-duty scrub-down of a home at a certain time of year, likely coinciding with a religious tradition.
This act of annual cleaning has continued through modern times for good reason: it's necessary! If you start thinking about the crumbs at the bottom of your kitchen drawers and the mess that builds up in your closet over the course of the year, then you’ll feel the compulsion to break out the cleaning supplies.
For tenants, spring cleaning tasks may include things like scrubbing down walls, washing windows and screens, as well as deep-cleaning carpets. For property managers, this is an important time to check out any build-up that has accumulated over the previous year, especially on the property's exterior. Here are five tasks to tackle this spring:
Safety: Test the smoke and carbon monoxide detectors. All states have legal requirements when it comes to these kinds of safety devices, so now is a good time make sure everything is up to code and working properly. Another safety device that is important is the fire extinguisher. Make sure that this equipment is accessible and has been serviced if needed.
Yard Debris: Spring is a great time to remove excess vegetation from your property's exterior. This will eliminate rotting, rubbing and other deleterious effects to the siding and paint of the home. Once the fire season has begun, you should not use a mow, weed eater or a chainsaw on dry vegetation.
Heating and Cooling: Inspect heating and A/C units, and remind tenants to change filters regularly. Some property managers provide filters for tenants, although that isn't always enough incentive for them to actually change the filter, so it's always a good idea to remind them.
Indoor Basics: If applicable, check hoses and seals on dishwashers and washing machines, as well as sinks and toilets for leaks and worn-out parts to ensure that nothing needs to be replaced. Also, be sure that electrical outlets are being used properly and aren't overloaded or have faulty wiring.
Outdoor Spring Basics: Check that all windows and doors are functioning properly and are lockable. Be sure that decks and outdoor living areas are free of potential hazards, such as rotten boards. Lastly, be sure your roof and gutters are in good condition, and "un-winterize” any outdoor spigots—don't forget to turn the irrigation system back on, if you have one!
Spring cleaning on an investment property may look a bit different than spring cleaning in your home, but it's just as, if not more, important. With work and diligence, this seasonal check-up can help you catch an issue before damage occurs to your property, keep tenants happy and even avoid potential lawsuits. It's worth the time to gain knowledge about the condition and maintenance needs of your property.
Brentnie Daggett is a writer and infographic master for the rental and property management industry. She loves to share tips and tricks to assist landlords and renters alike. To learn more about Daggett and to discover more great tips for renters, visit www.rentecdirect.com.