How to Handle Vacation Rental Maintenance – What to Do When Things Go Wrong

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    Over 160 million guests booked to date; more than six million listings spread over 191 countries worldwide – Airbnb is one of the world’s most popular vacation rental platforms. As a homeowner with a listing on Airbnb or someone who manages vacation rentals, to you, there is more to these figures than just grand numbers running into the millions.

    There is a business that must be managed properly if you are to see a profit. That’s why it’s important to have a plan on what to do when things go wrong with any of your listings.

    Maintenance Issues that Come with Vacation Rentals

    leaky faucet

    Whether you are the owner, or you have been charged with managing the property, there are certain things that are going to fall under your purview. Security is one of those things. Your guests are going to trust that you have done everything in your power to ensure that the property is secure and therefore, they are secure.

    You are also going to face minor repair and maintenance problems from time to time. You know:

    • Leaky faucets
    • Holes in the roof
    • Cracked walls
    • Fading paint

    While there are some issues such as the roof one that will need serious consideration and the hiring of a professional, there are other minor problems that can be fixed with simple preventive and pre-emptive measures. Here are some tips on how to handle the maintenance of vacation rentals.

    cracked wall

    Handling Vacation Rental Maintenance

    First things first, you will need to have a clear picture of which tasks can be DIY (Do It Yourself) and which ones must be handled by a professional.

    1. Know What to DIY and What to Leave to a Professional

    Electrical wiring, water pressure issues and leaking roofs are all examples of things that you must hire a professional to fix. Unless you are a certified electrician who happens to manage vacation rentals as well, don’t go around messing with electrical wiring. The same goes for water piping and roofing.

    diy tools

    While it is true that there are some homeowners and managers who are pretty handy with tools, the question always comes down to a simple thought process: which solution is safer for you and your future guests? Do you feel as though your technical skills with electrical wiring would meet your local safety regulatory bylaws or would you rather let a professional take over?

    2. Keep the Property Clean at all Times

    If platforms such as Airbnb are the primary sources of your guests, then you know just how important it is that your property remains spotless at any given time. Reviews by the guest can make or break your business. Your guests are generally not going to clean after themselves, but they will expect to live in a clean environment. How that happens is not their concern but yours. And it can be a rather challenging concern, especially when you have several properties to manage and you don’t live near any of them.

    clean kitchen

    The simplest and most efficient way to handle cleaning issues is to establish a regular cleaning schedule with cleaners you trust. You can even hire a professional company to take care of all your vacation rentals that fall under the same location. The other option will be to hire live-in staff like maids and butlers if you own huge properties like beachfront estates.

    Whichever route you choose to take, there are several issues that must always be prioritized throughout all cleaning sessions:

    • Keep the house well stocked with essentials such as toilet paper, napkins and soap
    • Fire safety and electrical inspections must be performed regularly to ensure everything is working properly
    • The kitchen must always be clean
    • Surfaces should always be sanitized

    bathroom accessories

    Having a cleaning service on retainer for regular touch-ups is a good thing, especially during low season when you don’t get as many guests. However, any time a guest books your home, be sure to order a thorough cleaning just before they arrive. Your guests can tell whether or not the home in which they are staying has been recently cleaned or was looked over by someone a few weeks ago.

    2. Keep the Surrounding Area Clean and Your Garden Green

    If some of your properties happen to be within an apartment complex, there is a good chance that there are people who are hired to ensure that the complex is clean. However, should your guests find that the elevator or the hallway and other surrounding areas aren’t cleaned to a reasonable standard, they are not going to blame it on the building manager or the super, they are going to blame it on you. They will give the building and your property a poor rating.

    home garden

    It falls to you to ensure that both your property (within) and its surroundings (without) are spotless. You can either tip the super more to keep an eye out, or you could have your cleaning service do the job instead. Either way, it’s unfortunately your responsibility as the vacation rental property manager or owner.

    Things get even more interesting when the ad says that your property comes with a garden. A property that comes with its own compound and garden will probably get more hits but will also get more scrutiny. The compound and the garden are the first things that your guests will see:

    • Keep the grass green and short
    • Keep the flower bushes neatly manicured
    • Clean the gutters and rake the dried leaves
    • Repaint the outside perimeter wall, gate and any other part that seems faded

    Make it so that the property is as pretty as the image you put on the ad online.

    3. Keep the Property Secure

    door lock

    This is an absolute must and is something that requires regular testing, updates and maintenance. Securing your property is simple enough if you stay on top of it:

    • Install security cameras where necessary
    • Install fire alarms and security alarms
    • Invest in high-quality locks for the doors and windows
    • Have a fully stocked first aid kit in the premise
    • Make emergency numbers easily available on the premise

    You can and should contract a rapid response security team should your guests ever need it.

    Just think of all the things that would make you happy as a guest and get to it. Vacation rental property maintenance work is all about proactivity.