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Summer Sizzle or Maintenance Meltdown? How Tech and Proactive Planning Can Keep Your Rentals Cool, Calm, and Collected

May 24, 2024

Summer is a double-edged sword for property managers (PMs). While leasing activity heats up along with the weather, the sunshine brings a unique set of maintenance challenges that can quickly turn a dream season into a sweaty nightmare. The influx of new renters during this season also means that previously hidden issues can suddenly come to light, adding another layer of complexity. This blog delves into common summer maintenance problems, how PMs might struggle with them, and offers deeper solutions, emphasizing the role of technology in maintaining tenant satisfaction and operational efficiency.

Rising Temperatures, Rising Issues

HVAC Headaches

As air conditioners work overtime battling the heat, breakdowns become more frequent. These meltdowns not only leave tenants sweltering but can also lead to a surge in service calls and strained relationships.

Reactive maintenance for HVAC issues can be costly and time-consuming. Scheduling repairs during peak demand often means longer wait times and frustrated tenants. PMs may also struggle with finding reliable service providers during these peak times, leading to delays and potential conflicts with tenants.

Proactive Solutions:

  • Schedule Pre-Season Maintenance: Don’t wait for the first heatwave! Proactive maintenance on HVAC systems before summer arrives is crucial. Include filter changes, coil cleaning, and refrigerant level checks to identify and address minor issues before they morph into major breakdowns. This can reduce emergency repair costs and improve tenant satisfaction.
  • Smart Thermostat Savvy: Consider installing smart thermostats that allow tenants to adjust temperatures remotely while offering property managers valuable insights on usage patterns. This can help identify potential problems before they escalate and lead to more efficient energy consumption. Additionally, automated alerts for maintenance issues can help PMs address problems before tenants even notice them.

Lawn Battles

Summer sun can leave lawns parched and vulnerable to drought stress, excessive growth spurts, and unwelcome pests like grubs and chinch bugs.

Keeping lawns lush and healthy requires consistent maintenance, but overwatering can waste resources and lead to water damage. Additionally, pest infestations can be expensive to treat and damage property exteriors. Balancing these needs with budget constraints and tenant expectations can be challenging.

Proactive Solutions:

  • Develop a Watering Schedule: Research drought-resistant plants and watering techniques suitable for your region. Implement a watering schedule that considers sun exposure and adjust it based on weather conditions. This can conserve water and ensure plants receive the right amount of hydration.
  • Partner with a Landscaping Service: Consider partnering with a professional landscaping company to handle routine maintenance and pest control needs. This frees up your time and ensures proper lawn care throughout the summer. Regular inspections by professionals can also catch early signs of pest infestations or other issues, preventing costly damage.

Pool Perils

For properties with pools, summer translates to increased pool usage and potential safety and maintenance problems. Improper chemical balance can lead to cloudy water, algae growth, and skin irritation for swimmers.

Ensuring proper pool maintenance and safety can be a significant summertime burden. Neglecting these areas can lead to costly repairs, tenant complaints, and even liability issues. Additionally, PMs must navigate the complexities of local health and safety regulations.

Proactive Solutions:

  • Invest in Pool Maintenance Training: Train staff on proper pool chemistry and cleaning procedures. This empowers them to identify and address minor issues before they become major problems. Regular training updates can keep staff informed about new techniques and regulations.
  • Utilize Pool Management Software: Consider using pool management software to automate tasks like scheduling chemical deliveries and tracking pool usage. This streamlines maintenance procedures and frees up time for other tasks. Automated alerts for chemical imbalances can help prevent health hazards and ensure compliance with safety standards.

New Renters & Hidden Issues

Summer's influx of new tenants often uncovers pre-existing maintenance concerns that may have been overlooked during move-out inspections.

These unexpected issues can damage tenant relationships and lead to additional repair costs. PMs might also face difficulty in distinguishing between pre-existing problems and new tenant-caused damages.

Proactive Solutions:

  • Conduct Thorough Move-Out Inspections: Use detailed checklists and take photos during move-out inspections to document any existing issues. This protects both you and the tenant from future disagreements. Including tenant signatures on inspection reports can also provide legal protection.
  • Embrace Technology for Move-Ins & Inspections: Utilize mobile inspection apps to streamline the move-in process. These apps allow tenants to report maintenance issues immediately with photos and descriptions, enabling you to address concerns promptly. Automated records can help in resolving disputes and tracking recurring issues.

Tech Hacks for a Smooth Summer

Technology can be your best friend during the summer rush. Here are some additional tech solutions to consider:

  • Online Maintenance Portals: Provide tenants with an online portal to submit maintenance requests. This allows for faster response times and better communication. Tenants can track the status of their requests, reducing the need for follow-up calls and emails.
  • Work Order Management Software: Implement work order management software to track repair requests from start to finish. This ensures efficient scheduling, communication with vendors, and a clear paper trail. Automated reminders and updates can help keep everyone on the same page and prevent tasks from falling through the cracks.

Ready for Summer

By planning ahead, proactively maintaining your properties, and utilizing smart technology solutions, you can transform summer from a season of meltdowns into a time of smooth sailing for your rentals. Let APM Help handle your bookkeeping, so you can focus on keeping your tenants cool, calm, and collected all summer long.

Embrace these strategies, and not only will you mitigate the common pains of summer maintenance, but you'll also enhance tenant satisfaction, protect your property investment, and enjoy a more manageable workload. Proactive planning and the right tech tools are your keys to success in the bustling summer season.

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