The Annual Maintenance Checklist for Rental Homes in California

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Belong on Nov 10, 2022

The front of a home with the garden growing long and in need of pruning - one of the annual maintenance items to check off to maintain a rental home in California

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Blessed with opportunity and gorgeous weather year-round, California enjoys a strong demand for rentals from around the world, making it an ideal place to own a rental property. But a home in disrepair isn’t going to attract good residents or the right price for the market. Regular maintenance on a rental is key to keeping the home profitable and in good shape. 

While the weather varies across the state (yes, we’re looking at you San Francisco), this annual maintenance calendar will give you a general idea of the kind of repair and maintenance items you should cross off your list every year for a rental home in Cali. Staying on top of the condition of your home can save time and money in the long run, helping to identify any issues and necessary repairs before they become costly headaches. 

Some of these items you can ask your residents to look after for you, but some you will need to check for yourself in annual or quarterly inspections. Or, if your home is looked after by Belong, we can handle the lot — from speaking with the residents about issues to making repairs with our in-house contractors

Winter Maintenance Checklist for California Rental Homes

While winters in California are mild, you still have a responsibility to your residents to provide heat, especially hot water. Don’t neglect the water heater in your rental home — a yearly flush can prevent pipes from bursting and let you identify problems or leaks before they get worse. 

Unless your home is in the mountain ranges, there’s a good chance you won’t have to worry about snow removal or planning for frozen pipes. What your residents might do though is keep their homes locked up tight and crank the heat. The contrast of temperatures mixed with a lack of ventilation = mold and mildew. Remind residents to keep the home well ventilated, such as running exhaust fans in the bathroom after a hot shower and opening windows on sunny days.

Winter Maintenance Checklist:

  • Flush out hot water heater
  • Check and/or service heating to the home to ensure it’s operating
  • Check for leaks in the ceiling or any signs of water damage to repair before winter and spring rains set in and problems deepen 
  • Check for mold and moisture issues, remind residents about the importance of ventilation 
  • Check house siding for damage and/or leaks

Spring Maintenance Checklist for California Rental Homes

Most of California is considered to only have two seasons: summer and winter. Alas, spring does exist and brings with it plenty of sun, rain, and opportunities for your yard to grow out of control. If your rental home has a lawn and yard, spring is a good time to give it some love to ensure you maintain curb appeal and function. 

Summer in California can also bring on wildfires, so it’s a good time to inspect smoke alarms, plus any fire extinguishers, CO detectors, and sprinklers to make sure they are working properly. 

Spring Maintenance Checklist:

  • Mow the laws and remove any weeds as they start to appear
  • Trim hedges and trees
  • Mulch lawns as needed to improve water retention and minimize hose watering
  • Check the HVAC or air conditioning unit and clean filters before summer hits
  • Inspect and test smoke detectors
  • Inspect and test any fire safety systems such as fire extinguishers, CO detectors and sprinklers 
  • Check the exterior of the house for any signs of damage or dirt buildup over winter — it might be a good time to give sidings a clean 
  • For homes with pools, have the water checked and cleaned to prepare for summer
  • Hose down any decks — if they need maintenance, now is a good time to reseal and treat for rot 

Summer Maintenance for California Rental Homes

Summer brings out the heat — and the pests. If your home is prone to infestation, or your residents have concerns, now is the time to inspect for insects and rodents. 

When the humidity rises, so too does the mold so be sure to make sure there’s no damp spots or moisture damage in the home too. You can recommend that residents use basic moisture absorbers (such as DampRid) in dark areas that attract mold, like closets and laundry rooms. 

If you have hedges or trees that are burning in the summer heat, resist the temptation to trim them until the heat has passed. Pruning stimulates growth, so removing burnt branches will encourage new growth, which may also burn in the heat. 

Summer Maintenance Checklist:

  • Inspect and control any pest infestations such as insects and rodents
  • Inspect and control mold 
  • Check any supplied appliances such as refrigerators and washing machines
  • Mow lawns and water plants 
  • Operate automated sprinkler systems if your home has one
  • Keep any pools clean and functional 

Fall Maintenance for California Rental Homes

The leaves are starting to fall and where do they land? Straight in the gutters. If gutters get clogged and water can’t flow, it could saturate the roof and lead to deterioration or leaks. The first item on your fall maintenance checklist is to make sure the home’s gutters are clean and clear — and check the roof condition for damage or leaks well  before winter sets in. 

If your property has a chimney, it will also need a regular checkup. Chimneys remove dangerous gasses from the fireplace or furnace to keep the air breathable, so even if it’s not used regularly, it needs to be inspected. 

Fall Maintenance Checklist:

  • Rake leaves
  • Inspect roof and gutters, clearing out any debris 
  • Check bathroom caulk and grout for any potential issues and leaks before winter
  • Check plumbing in bathrooms and kitchens
  • Check garbage disposals as these get frequently clogged and lead to repair issues
  • Check any chimneys and ensure they are clear and functioning
  • Prune trees and plants of any heat damage from the summer heat 
  • Shut off any automatic sprinkler systems that have run through the summer
  • Cover up pools when the weather cools
  • Check insulation and drafts around windows and doors to fix before winter

Belong eliminates the hassle of rental property maintenance

When your home is with Belong, it will always stay well-maintained thanks to our in-house team of Belong Pros. Belong Pros conduct initial and quarterly maintenance inspections throughout your lease term and are available to handle repair requests 24/7 through the app. 

If unexpected repairs or emergency maintenance costs do arrive, Belong has that covered too. All Belong homeowners are pre-approved for our Split It program, which spreads the cost of repairs across the term of your lease. This means you’ll always stay cash flow positive, receiving guaranteed rent every month minus a Split It repayment. And because all repairs are carried out by our full-time, vetted and licensed professionals — you only pay what it really costs, not what a property manager wants to charge. 

To learn more about how Belong is making renting loveable for homeowners with flexible financing, rewarding perks and constant innovation, check out our homeowners page.