A well-maintained rental property is the cornerstone of success in rental property management. Think about it. If you are in the store buying a can of soup, do you buy the can with the slight dent in the side or do you reach further back for the perfect can?

Property renters are the same way. They don’t want to excuse the missing gutter or cracked sidewalk. They want the perfect property to call home.

Bryan M. Chavis, author of

“Buy It, Rent it, PROFIT” states, “The number one reason tenants renew leases is because of good maintenance. The number one reason they leave is poor maintenance responsiveness. Maintenance is also the number one area you can lose control of your expenses on a property over the years.”

All of those statements are a great argument to keep rental property maintenance at the top of your priority expenditure list. If the soup company could come to the store and fix that can, they would. They understand that poor quality is not reflected just on that can but expanded to the type of soup all the way to their company name.

When it comes to rental property maintenance:

1. Deal with it right away. As soon as it is identified, get it scheduled for repair. Prioritize it, of course, but do not leave it off the list. That will do two things. One, you will forget about it, and two, such items will build up over a period of time, ultimately costing you a larger amount of money later than the expense of paying for it then.

2. Do not slack on preventative maintenance. Sure, the yearly check on the boiler is a couple of hundred dollars and it is tempting to put it off if you haven’t had any problems with it. But when it goes down, and the repair is ten times that, you are going to wish differently.

3. Identify what are tenant repairs and make them pay for them, either by deduction from the security deposit or additional charges. If a tenant breaks something through carelessness or negligence, they are responsible to pay for it (that should be in your lease even if it is in most cases a state law).

4. Frequent inspections. You can have a clause in your lease that allows for special inspections. Set them up every quarter or every six months. This makes the tenant more conscious of their responsibilities since they know you are coming to look. Even with great, responsible tenants, this gives you the opportunity to identify wear and tear early, before it becomes a bigger problem.

Attracting great property rental tenants is only half the goal. The other half is to retain them for as long as you possibly can. If you provide them a home with curb appeal that they can take pride in, and respond quickly and consistently to any legitimate problems they have with their unit, it eliminates many of the reasons why they would consider moving to another facility. If you take care of them, they will take care of you.