When people check into a short-term rental, it’s a vacation from home. No matter why they are there, they want to walk into a clean, managed, and maintained property. The last thing they want to see is an overgrown lawn and try using an appliance that doesn’t work. That’s why maintaining your short-term rental is incredibly important.
As the property owner, you can either look after the maintenance yourself or hire a maintenance manager to do the heavy lifting for you. Either way, there’s a lot to consider when looking after a short-term rental, which is why we’ve put together the ultimate guide to help you get started.
What is a property maintenance manager?
If you’ve ever rented a property, you’ve most likely encountered problems. For example, your boiler may have stopped working, and you need someone to come and fix it. Or there are cracks in your paint that need a new coat. The person that comes out and sorts these issues out is the property maintenance manager.
In terms of short-term rentals, a property maintenance manager does all the same things, but they also put in preventative measures to avoid any problems arising when guests are guests. They will regularly update the property and ensure everything looks up to standard and is safe so there are no complaints or accidents.
Why do short-term rentals need maintenance?
Providing maintenance to a property may seem like an obvious thing to do, but there are actually a few reasons why it’s needed:
Less money for repairs
It’s common knowledge that maintaining a property is always cheaper than waiting for appliances and furniture to break and replace them. By ensuring that you or a manager are always checking on the items within your short-term rental, you’ll be able to reduce your annual expenses if something suddenly breaks.
While it isn’t a guarantee that your items will never break, it does prevent the possibility of multiple things needing repairs or replacements at the same time. It gives you peace of mind and will save you some huge bills in the future if you were to wait until the last minute.
More satisfied guests
A happy guest is vital for success, and ensuring you are maintaining your property will lead to satisfied visitors and better reviews. The last thing a guest will want when staying at your short-term rental is to see if your interior and exterior have not been adequately looked after or if they’re in the middle of cooking dinner and the oven stops working.
Running a short-term rental is a form of business, and you wouldn’t see other types of businesses not caring for their customer's comfort and safety. You want to ensure you keep your guests happy at all times, as this will result in a great experience and more bookings in the future.
Saves time in the future
Simply following routine maintenance on your short-term rental will save you time in the future if a problem were to arise. The last thing you want is for a guest to message you in the middle of the night to say the light bulbs have stopped working, so you have to either run out at that time or wait even longer for shops to open so you can purchase replacements.
If the lightbulbs are checked and replaced every time you or a manager perform maintenance on the property, it saves you a load of trouble in the future. You also don’t want many things to break simultaneously, meaning you can’t take any bookings while the problems are being sorted out.
Types of property maintenance
Short-term rental property maintenance involves several processes, so you will want to ensure you and your manager know what to check. Below are the main types of property maintenance that need to be prioritized regularly:
Inside the rental
How you maintain the inside of your property will depend on what type of building it is and what you offer your guests. For example, if you have a fireplace, you will want to ensure it is usable during each maintenance check. However, some considerations need to be made for any property, such as:
- Ensure the air vents are filters are clean
- Check the walls and ceilings for any damage or cracks
- Look out for any signs of rodents or pests
- Check any electrical outlets or cords for issues
- Ensure all appliances are working as they should
Outside the rental
While your guests will most likely spend most of their time inside your property, you cannot forget about looking after the outdoor area. You’ll obviously have to do the regular mowing and trimming, but other hazard checks will need to be completed to ensure the safety of your guests when they are outside:
- Identify any structural issues outside the property
- Look out for signs of any rodents or groundhogs
- Check the strength of your fences
- Ensure there aren’t any large cracks or bumps in the driveway
- Remove leaks in your irrigation system if there are any
Your guest's safety is the most important thing when they are staying with you. If you don’t already have a security system in place, it is highly recommended to put one in place and ensure it is to the best standard. During maintenance, you’ll need to check that this system is still working as it should and that there are no malfunctions.
Similarly, you will want to ensure that all points of entry to your property are secure and well-maintained. This means checking that there are no rust or broken locks on your doors and windows. You may also want to regularly change your locks to prevent any guests from copying your keys.
Property maintenance mistakes to avoid
There may be many things you need to do when maintaining a property, but there are also many things you must avoid. Here are some of the main mistakes that property maintenance managers make and the things you should not do:
Not checking everything
One of the worst things that some property maintenance managers do is only check on the rental's main appliances rather than everything with an electrical output. Instead of just looking to see if the fridge and oven work, you will also want to check on smaller items such as the toaster and microwave, especially if it is something you advertise.
It may sound like it takes a lot of time, but one of these appliances could have been the tie-breaker between you and another property. You don’t want your guests to turn up expecting it to work, but it doesn’t because you didn’t check it during maintenance. So, ensure that you go through everything to save disappointment in the future.
Relying on guests
Maintenance is your responsibility, so you should never rely on your guests to sort out an issue if it arrives. For example, going back to a previous example, if the light bulbs in the property decide to give out when a guest is staying, you shouldn’t ask them to replace them for you. Instead, you should have put the precautions in place or sent yourself or your property manager to fix the issue.
Guests have booked into a short-term rental to avoid the responsibilities of maintaining their own homes. Therefore they won’t be very happy if you ask them to fix any property problems, which can affect your business negatively.
Not making a plan
Instead of walking into your property on a whim and checking if everything is in working order and safe, you will want to ensure you’ve put a plan and checklist together first. The worst thing you can do is just assume you or your manager will go over everything because that is when important things are missed.
To ensure that you’ve done a thorough job of maintenance before your guests stay with you, you’ll want to put together a detailed list of everything that needs to be checked. It’ll prevent any problems arising in the future and any angry calls or messages from your future guests.
When should managers perform maintenance?
How often you or your property manager perform maintenance will depend on what needs to be checked. Not everything needs to be looked at in the same timeframe, so you’ll need to compile a plan of what to go over during each visit. Here are some of the most common things to check and their timeframes:
- Carbon monoxide and smoke detectors: every month
- Air filters: every three months
- Water heater: once a year
- Gutters: once a year
- Tree pruning: every winter
Without the right maintenance, you won’t be able to run a successful short-rental property. You can either take on the role of property maintenance manager yourself or hire someone separately, but someone needs to be in charge. It is the best way to ensure your guests are happy and great for your business in the long run.
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