Apartment Maintenance

This e-guide will explore and define what apartment maintenance is, its benefits, and how it can organize and bring cost savings to operations.

What is apartment maintenance?

At its most basic, apartment maintenance is all the maintenance tasks performed on-premises to follow the laws, guidelines, and regulations of the region where a rental property is located. Ensuring that apartment complexes are habitable, safe, and structurally sound for tenants is the goal of apartment maintenance. It’s also what goes into effect when emergency service must be delivered. Apartment maintenance can include but is not limited to:

  • HVAC and air conditioning repairs and inspections
  • Groundskeeping
  • Appliance repair
  • Security
  • Pest control
  • Plumbing maintenance
  • Solving electrical issues

According to a 2020 National Apartment Association survey, Covid-19 brought a high level of uncertainty to apartment maintenance. Budgeting, staffing levels, and cleaning rules have become challenging. Events such as what has occurred over the last few years demonstrate the importance of having an effective apartment maintenance strategy in place.

What kind of buildings use apartment maintenance?

Apartments and apartment complexes come in all shapes and sizes. From single units to sprawling facilities of 100 units or more, each has its own maintenance needs. Some typical configurations are:

Studio apartments

Studio apartments are usually considered small, one-roomed spaces that contain everything for living within their walls. Because of a studio apartment’s smaller, self-contained nature, it requires less apartment maintenance.

Lofts

Lofts are large, open spaces converted from industrial buildings into residential living areas. Lofts can require a fair share amount of maintenance due to their previous use.

Duplexes, triplexes, fourplexes

Duplexes are two living units attached to each other. Triplexes are three units. Fourplexes are four. Usually, the living space of a townhouse or condominium is typically two separate floors or a house divided into sections. Each has its own entrance. Maintenance can help keep shared areas clean and pristine.

Garden apartments

Garden apartments are typically ground-floor, one-bedroom apartments with access to a lawn or garden. Garden apartments need a lot of maintenance to keep the grounds and common area in excellent shape.

High-rise apartments

High-rise apartments in the United States are buildings at least seven stories tall and filled with rental units. They usually have security or a doorman and always have elevators. Preventive maintenance is a must to keep elevators in good working condition.

Walk-ups

Walk-ups are similar to high-rise apartments, except they do not have elevators. Stairs give tenants access to upper floors. Maintenance keeps the stairs safe and sturdy.

In all apartment types, tenants are responsible for basic apartment maintenance and maintaining their apartment conditions. A landlord’s apartment maintenance duties mandated by state and local laws include:

  • Maintaining heat, water, and electricity
  • Having proper ventilation
  • Installing and maintaining weatherproofing
  • Keeping the structural integrity of a building safe
  • Maintaining smoke and carbon monoxide detectors for the safety of tenants

What types of maintenance do apartment maintenance workers use?

The three most commonly used apartment maintenance types are preventive, reactive, and emergency maintenance.

Preventive maintenance

Maintaining a preventive maintenance schedule is the main ingredient in a property owner’s maintenance budgetary tale. Preventive maintenance goes a long way in reducing reactive maintenance events—which by nature are expensive. Preventive maintenance includes:

  • Changing furnace filters
  • HVAC inspections
  • Window checks
  • Roof inspections
  • Plumbing inspections
  • And electrical inspections

Inspections are a crucial part of preventive maintenance. They should always be performed when a tenant leaves and before a new one arrives. Check out FMX’s free property maintenance checklists for easy ways to implement them into your workflow.

Reactive maintenance

Reactive maintenance focuses on repairing an asset once a failure occurs. This could be:

  • Replacing hallway lighting that has burned out
  • Removing and repainting old, worn paint
  • Repairing visibly failing drywall
  • Or fixing a washer, dryer, dishwasher, or air conditioner that has stopped working for a tenant

Reactive maintenance rectifies a situation like the ones above in a quick and efficient manner.

Emergency maintenance

Emergency maintenance is the kind of reactive maintenance landlords wish to avoid. Most of the repairs associated with it become time-consuming and costly as most require outside help from contractors.

State and local laws dictate that an emergency maintenance request called in by renters must be remedied in 24 hours or less as they are considered health and safety issues. Emergency maintenance includes:

  • Gas and water leaks
  • HVAC breakdowns
  • Electrical problems that could spark fires
  • Mold
  • Broken windows and doors when temperatures are below freezing
  • And more

Tenants must notify apartment owners of emergency maintenance events as soon as they occur, and landlords should include notification procedures in all rental and leasing material. Property owners should also outline what an emergency maintenance request is. A broken lightbulb or closet doorknob is not, whereas a broken doorknob and lock on a front door are.

How can property maintenance management software help with apartment maintenance?

Property maintenance management software is the most significant help available to a property owner or apartment maintenance team. Property maintenance management software makes preventive maintenance scheduling quick and easy while providing trackable work orders, completion times, and advanced reporting for budgeting purposes.

apartment property maintenance software

Example of apartment maintenance activities scheduled for a multi-building complex.

In cases of reactive maintenance, it can help speed up response times to tenants requests through templated, assignable task lists. With one click, a task can also be sent to a maintenance team member’s mobile device so they can be instantly dispatched to a problem. The response can also be recorded and shown to stakeholders and interested parties to determine when and how an issue was handled.

What are some types of apartment maintenance workers?

An employment hierarchy in apartment maintenance helps accomplish the list of tasks that need addressing. Technicians, managers, and supervisors are a part of the hierarchy’s makeup. A job description of each includes:

Apartment maintenance technician

Apartment maintenance technicians are the line-level workers assigned to perform all maintenance work and routine tasks. They are on-call and responsible for the initial assessment of reactive maintenance issues and property management issues.

Apartment maintenance manager

Apartment maintenance managers are the leaders of the maintenance team. They are responsible for assigning tasks, work orders, and documenting all work performed including routine maintenance. They can also double as the property manager. Typically if a complex has 100 units or fewer, an operation will only have apartment maintenance technicians and managers.

Apartment maintenance supervisor

Apartment maintenance supervisors are called into action when a large complex operation is spread out over several locations. They oversee groups of apartment maintenance managers, sometimes property maintenance, and are responsible for running maintenance management software.

Advanced training can ensure you have the right members on a team with the appropriate skills.

What kind of certification or training do apartment maintenance workers require?

There are several certifications and credentials available for apartment maintenance staff.

The National Accredited Housing Maintenance Technician and National Accredited Housing Maintenance Supervisor Credentials

NAHMT and NAHMS credential requirements are comprised of education/training, work experience, and adherence to the NAHMT/NAHMS Code of Professional Conduct.

Certificate for Apartment Maintenance Technicians

The National Apartment Association offers a certification for apartment maintenance technicians that validates knowledge, skills, enhances reputations and credibility. A CAMT credential is necessary to secure some positions.

Apartment Maintenance Institute

The Apartment Maintenance institute offers many courses that seek to empower maintenance professionals and give them the information and techniques critical to success on the job.

Summary

Apartment maintenance is a vital part of running a successful building rental operation. By having organizational tools in place, state and local laws can be followed and documented while using cost-effective, proven ways to extend the life of buildings and rental units while keeping tenets safe. 

In addition to FMX’s free property guide checklists, we have also created a free facilities maintenance checklist to help expedite and outline apartment maintenance for your organization.

Check both out and be on your way to better apartment maintenance management.