As a Certified Maintenance Coordinator with First Rate Property Management, deferred maintenance is a common topic. Actually the words "deferred maintenance" is never used. I identify an issue and offer a recommendation for repair and the owner chooses to not make the repair. They are choosing to defer the cost, which is completely their right, so long as the issue I am identifying is not a habitability or tenant safety issue. Sometimes deferring maintenance makes sense, but like a traffic cop who sees the terrible consequences of texting and driving, I see the consequences for deferring different maintenance items.
Last year, Tony wrote a blog on deferred maintenance and I have provided a link here. Tony shared two actual events where deferring maintenance issues ended up costing a lot more in repair costs, but also property value. Also, after years of deferred maintenance one property started looking so bad, that it no longer attracted good tenants and rents suffered. I wanted to provide a list of commonly deferred maintenance issues, but as I was making my list I realized that many of them are actually considered preventative maintenance. So today, I will provide my list of deferred maintenance items and will follow up next week with my preventative maintenance recommendations.
Trees and shrubs: Frequent and aggressive pruning to keep trees and shrubs away from the building, carports, and roofs and trimmed below any window. Another example is tree removal. I had identified a tree that had roots that had just started to affect the patio slab. The property owner didn't take immediate action and as of today, we are looking at removing the tree, replacing the entire patio, and there is minor damage to the building. Maybe a few hundred dollars to cut that root would have saved over $1,000.
Paint: Exterior paint is expensive, but if not kept up, appearance goes down as well as protection.
Roofs: Replace missing shingles, seal exposed nails, and replace roofs before they are worn out. Most want to get every last year out of their roofs. The new roofs are 30 year plus shingles, so why take the risk by waiting too long, replace it now and not have to worry about it for a long time.
Windows: Old aluminum windows that condensate can create moisture related damage. Often Idaho Power offers to pay a portion of new windows. They won't condensate, they will lower the tenant's energy bills, and they improve the appearance and value of the property. I really prefer property owners to do everything they can to minimize interior moisture.
Parking lots: Multi-family properties with parking lots need to be maintained. Regular cleaning extends their life. Often the landscapers will agree to blow the parking area off after mowing, but property owners really should consider hiring a sweeper to clean the parking lot at a minimum of once every quarter. Crack sealing is actually very inexpensive and it is our recommendation that parking lots have their cracks sealed every fall before winter. And lastly, the parking lot should be seal coated as needed. Sometime it can go as long as 6 years. I know that FRPM has had to replace a number of parking lots over the years and because of the expense, Tony seal coats our office parking lot every 3 years. He doesn't want to ever have that huge expense of replacing.
Preventative maintenance and deferred maintenance can cross over. Something I hear Tony tell property owners all the time, makes sense. "When you make repairs or improvements that allow for a higher rent, realize that for every $10 increase in monthly rent increases value by about $1,300.
Tara Pecora, CMC, Maintenance Team Leader
First Rate Property Management, Inc.
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