property maintenance
property maintenance

Property Maintenance

A core component of any property management strategy is a reliable maintenance team. This article will cover what property maintenance is, what services it covers, and the career paths involved.

What is property maintenance?

Any technical service performed on a hospitality or residential property to restore or preserve its condition is considered property maintenance. Apartments, homes, condominiums, hotels, resorts, commercial real estate, storage facilities, and any other type of rental property are all covered under property maintenance. There are three main objectives for property maintenance.

Restore functionality and prevent breakdowns

The most apparent goal of property maintenance is to fix what’s broken and keep the rental property in good repair to avoid equipment items, such as HVAC units, water systems, refrigerators, etc., from breaking in the first place.

Retain (and increase) property value

The property management company wants their rental property to bring in recurring revenue from tenants and guests and be sure the property will go up in value (or at least not decline). Property maintenance teams increase the value of rental properties through renovations, regular painting, blacktop resealing, landscaping, etc.

Ensure occupant comfort and safety

Last and surely not least, property maintenance exists to keep tenants and guests safe and happy. If the rental property isn’t well maintained, it can reduce revenue and increase liability for the property owner.

Facility maintenance vs. property maintenance

Facility maintenance shares many commonalities with property maintenance. Both share very similar objectives and services. The difference is that property maintenance and facility maintenance pertain to different organization types.

Property maintenance describes tenant-occupied properties, whereas facility maintenance describes owner-occupied properties. For example, schools, hospitals, banks, government agencies, and many large businesses would employ facility maintenance rather than property maintenance.

Building maintenance vs. property maintenance

Building maintenance can sometimes be used interchangeably with property maintenance, but there are nuanced differences between the two. The differences lie in the scope of services and industries.

Building maintenance is focused on the building itself and not the surrounding area or accessory structures (landscaping, sidewalks, detached garages, swimming pools, and even motor vehicles). Building maintenance extends beyond hospitality industries, including hospitals, government buildings, commercial offices, and schools.

What does a property maintenance service list include?

property maintenance services: corrective repairs, preventive maintenance, cleaning and janitorial, groundskeeping, walkthrough inspection, capital improvements

There are a wide variety of included property maintenance services to support property management goals. Each organization’s service list will vary, but below are some broad categories to consider, including example services.

Corrective repairs

The first set of property maintenance services include addressing breaks or damage on the rental property. It is important to promptly address high-priority repairs or equipment maintenance to restore functionality, improve occupant comfort, and eliminate any safety risks.

Examples

  • Fixing a leaky pipe
  • Repairing a faulty A/C unit
  • Replacing a broken window

Preventive maintenance

Routine maintenance and scheduled service to equipment items and existing structures keep reactive maintenance tasks from surfacing in the first place. Preventive maintenance leads to cost savings for your team and less headache rushing to resolve a breakdown.

Examples

  • Swapping HVAC filters
  • Resealing driveway blacktop
  • Flushing water heaters

Cleaning and janitorial

A key to earning tenant and guest satisfaction is keeping a clean and sanitary environment. Without it, guests could get sick or complain and leave negative reviews of the rental property.

Examples

  • Clearing roof gutters
  • Sweeping and mopping floors
  • Waste removal

Groundskeeping

In addition to keeping the building clean, maintaining the surrounding property is essential for property value and occupant experience. Property management companies commonly outsource these services to another vendor rather than staffing a dedicated team in-house.

Examples

  • Lawn care
  • Gardening
  • Snow and leaf removal

Walkthrough inspection

The worst time to identify a hazard is when it has already caused problems. Ideally, a regular cadence of safety inspection or walkthroughs is necessary to protect the property management group and keep occupants safe.

Examples

  • Fire safety checks
  • Signs of standing water or leaks
  • Testing alarms and detectors

Capital improvements

Finally, property maintenance also increases property value by making necessary renovations or improvements to the building, equipment, or surrounding property.

Examples

  • Replacing old carpet
  • Adding a new building
  • Renovating a kitchen or bathroom
Tip: a great way to manage property maintenance services is through a series of checklists. Check out our free property maintenance checklists for inspiration.

What is the international property maintenance code?

The international property maintenance code (IPMC) is a series of requirement details and code violations established by the international code council with which property management professionals must be familiar. Each city will have its own city code or compliance details. The IPMC applies to occupancy, plumbing, electric, fire safety, and more. A property maintenance violation due to a failure to meet code compliance leads to a liability for the property management company. It may bring penalties or fines from the city code enforcement agency.

What roles are involved in property maintenance?

Property maintenance is only one aspect of property management, and as such, involves quite a few roles.

Property owner

The landlord or property management company that owns the rental property engages with property maintenance at a high level. Their involvement is concerned with the bottom line, “will occupants feel safe and comfortable? How will these efforts influence property value? and how much are we spending on maintenance activities?”

Property manager

This individual coordinates property maintenance activities and other property management responsibilities like leasing, tenant communications, guest experience, and further logistical details. The property owner may take the role of a property manager in smaller organizations.

Maintenance supervisor or manager

In larger organizations, property managers will delegate leadership to a designated manager or supervisor. This person coordinates maintenance fields incoming tenant requests, schedules maintenance activity, and follows up with documentation.

Maintenance technician

These individuals are the boots on the ground people resolving incoming requests, putting out fires (both real and metaphorical), and servicing the rental property to keep it running. A maintenance technician team executes the coordination and strategy that funnels down from the above roles.

Janitorial staff

Janitors and cleaning crews serve the same function as maintenance technicians but focus on cleaning, sanitation, and waste management rather than electrical, plumbing, HVAC, and other technical repairs.

Contractors and vendors

These individuals or companies fill in the cracks for services not handled in-house due to lack of staffing, a specialized skill, or budget restraints. Some common examples include a landscaping company that maintains the grounds, a technician for elevator service, or an entire property management company to handle anything and everything involved in rental property maintenance.

When considering when to outsource versus staff in-house, here are a few considerations.

In-house Outsourced
Core to organization function Peripheral to organizational function
Frequent Infrequent
Common Specialized
Low training costs High training costs

Read more about outsourcing maintenance services.

Is a career in property maintenance right for you?

A career in property maintenance is suited to individuals with a strong aptitude for technical skills, a leaning towards customer service, moderate to intense physical fitness, and the ability to work flexible hours (many times working on-call to meet tenant and guest needs). Read more job requirements for property maintenance.

A career in property maintenance begins as a technician or janitor with the ability to either move towards specialized skill (contractor or vendor), management (property supervisor), or management and business (property manager).

Here are the typical salaries for the following job titles, although these can change drastically depending on the region and organization.

  • Property maintenance technician: $30-40k per year
  • Maintenance supervisor: $40-70k per year
  • Property manager: $50-80k per year

A great way to build your skills in property maintenance is through certification. Here are a few to explore:

What is property maintenance software, and how can it help?

Property maintenance teams without a software solution manage incoming tenant requests, maintenance schedules, and budgets through email, paper tickets, and spreadsheets. Manual processes can lose data, and it becomes increasingly difficult to organize, prioritize, and document maintenance activities. Property maintenance software simplifies these manual processes to speed up response time, increase reliability, and drive down operating costs.

facility maintenance work order software with notifications

Property maintenance software (also known as a CMMS) creates a single portal for tenants to submit requests, notify involved maintenance staff, be routed or auto-assigned to a technician, and store relevant cost data related to the request.

Looking for more resources to grow your skillset?

If you are looking for more ways to grow in property maintenance, we recommend checking out the following resources:

Learn more about property maintenance

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