Happy Spring! Well, almost anyway. While some say that Spring begins on March 1, the March equinox, or when the Sun crosses the equator line and heads northward in the sky, happens on March 20. After the 20th, the Northern Hemisphere begins to tilt more towards the Sun, resulting in longer days and warmer temperatures.

For landlords, Spring can be the busiest time of year. To help you get organized, let’s run through the cleaning and maintenance best practices for landlords in the late Winter, early Spring season.

Check Your Drains And Gutters. Whether it’s the last of the melting snow or the first of Spring rains, you need to ensure that your drains and gutters are free from debris and in good condition so that water flows correctly.

Ideally, your drains and gutters should be cleared twice a year, in the Spring and Fall. Clogged gutters and drains can lead to expensive roof and siding repair. If you don’t already have them, consider installing gutter screens, the simplest way to keep leaves and other debris out.

Do Exterior Spring Cleaning. While your plants are still dormant, it’s time to trim trees and shrubs and make sure all of the debris collected on your property through the Winter is removed. If your property has vinyl siding, it’s a great time to wash it off.

The freezing and thawing of the Winter months cause concrete and pavement to buckle, so patching up those holes is in order. Winter weather creates a dirty film on windows, so Spring is the best time to clean them. While your focusing on the windows, repair any damaged window sills and screens.

If you have a wooden deck, siding, or trim, check for evidence of wood rot. If your wood is deteriorating, that invites termites and other insects. Replacing foundation posts and beams can be costly, so don’t just assume the wood is in good shape; check it.

Check The Pipes. Frigid temps can damage pipes. Check all of your external pipes and be sure they are free from damage, especially cracks that will likely burst sooner rather than later. If you have a sprinkler system for your yard, test all of your irrigation to ensure none of the pipes, valves, or sprinkler heads need replacement.

Have Your HVAC System Serviced. Assuming that your property has both a furnace and an air conditioning (HVAC) system, it should be serviced twice per year, once in the Spring and again in the Fall.  Replace filters and have a certified technician perform any required routine maintenance.

If you only have a furnace for your property (no AC), the same method applies – service that furnace twice a year. Routine HVAC system service and maintenance reduces the likelihood of expensive repairs and system breakdowns at peak season.

Don’t Forget The CO2 And Smoke Detectors. At least once per year, all of the smoke and CO2 detectors in your rental property should be tested and checked. If they are battery-operated, install fresh batteries.

Very likely, your home insurance requires that you install and maintain these detectors, so forgetting to do simple and inexpensive maintenance can be costly in the event of a disaster.

Communicate With Your Tenants. It’s a good idea to send your tenants a note in the Spring asking them to tell you about any needed repairs. They may have put off telling you about that leaky water heater, or broken hose bib, or sagging ceiling. If you fix minor problems promptly, not only will you save on repair costs long term, you’ll have happier tenants.

Springtime Is Bargain Time. Large retailers and hardware stores often run Spring sales. If you know that you’ll need particular items throughout the year, such as furnace filters, garbage disposals, showerheads, faucets, etc., take advantage of the sales to save money. Make a list of the items you bought most over the past year for maintenance at your property, and consider buying them at value prices.

Spring is also a great time to consider your property management options. If you are managing your own rental property (or multiple properties), are you interested in exploring the idea of hiring a property manager?

At Sterling Property Solutions, we have a team in place that can answer all your questions and address any challenges. If you are already a landlord and no longer have the time or desire to handle rental property management on your own, we can help. Maybe your current property management company is not giving you the top-tier service you deserve. If so, reach out. We are there for you.

Please give me a ring at 914-355-3277 or send me an email at Linda@Sterlingpsi.com. Together, let’s put in place a robust, long-term program for your success.