As a real estate investor, you shouldn’t underestimate Murphy’s Law – what can go wrong will go wrong. Problems are bound to arise, particularly in big properties such as buildings that multiple tenants occupy at a time. From plumbing problems to leaks, you’ll likely deal with more issues than you would with any other rental property. And while some issues are as simple as changing the filters on the AC, other issues will require your expertise in office building management.
We’ve put together the most common maintenance concerns you’ll encounter in your office space, as you’ll inevitably have to deal with them sooner or later.
1. Dirty HVAC Filters
All of your tenants rely on your HVAC. If the HVAC doesn’t work, they won’t be able to get work done, because who would ever want to work in an extremely warm or cold office? That’s precisely why, if your HVAC breaks, you need to repair it pronto. Unfortunately, HVACs can break often, and the culprit is typically its air filter. If the air filter is dirty, the air won’t be able to circulate due to the dirt that has accumulated on its surface. This can cause the HVAC to run twice as hard to maintain the office’s ideal temperature, and in turn, increase your electricity bills.
To avoid this, all you have to do is replace the air filters routinely. The HVAC filters need to be replaced every 90 days to ensure that the HVAC continues to run at its full capacity. That said, make sure to ask your property management company to include the HVAC in their regular maintenance checklist.
2. Electrical Issues
Your tenants can’t work without electricity. They count on electricity to conduct their day-to-day operations – without it, they won’t be able to perform basic tasks such as turning on the computer. If you don’t deal with this problem immediately, your tenants will be frustrated, and worse – you could put them in a perilous situation. For instance, if your office’s circuit breaker often trips, that’s an indication that your property is at risk of an electrical fire.
Although some problems are a no-brainer to diagnose (e.g. a lightbulb that needs to be replaced), other electrical concerns are best left to an electrician. This is particularly true for electrical issues that involve overloaded circuits, wires, etc.
When you partner with an office building management company, you’ll be able to benefit from their wide network of vetted vendors. Having been in the industry for years, they’ve already forged long-standing connections with local electricians whom they can call at a moment’s notice.
Leaks that aren’t detected can easily spiral out of control and cause costly issues. The moment your tenants report a leak, it’s crucial to call your property management company immediately, as the leak can cause water damage, which can turn your building into a breeding ground for mold and mildew.
One part of your property that’s prone to leaks is the roof. Rainwater, wind, etc. can cause wear and tear, which can reduce the integrity of your roof and gutters. With that said, it’s crucial to regularly inspect the roof for any signs of damage such as the collection of granules, curling shingles, clogged gutters, and so on. Inspecting and cleaning your gutters for the rainy season will save you a lot down the road.
Pro Tip: Do not attempt to inspect the roof yourself especially if your property is more than one story tall. Instead, partner with a commercial property management company that can safely inspect your property for you.
4. Signs of Fading
It’s inevitable for your building to become faded and old over time. This is expected, particularly in areas where the weather is at the extremes. However, even if your property is in an area that doesn’t experience extreme weather, it can still deteriorate due to the accumulation of grime, mold, algae, and more. All of these can cause your property’s exterior to appear stained.
Create a regular cleaning schedule to ensure your property stays in pristine condition. You and your property management company can also set aside funds to touch up the faded paint. By doing so, you’ll be able to maintain your building’s value and attract more tenants.
5. Clogged Toilets and Drains
Clogged toilets can be bothersome for your tenants, but unfortunately, they’re a common maintenance problem in offices. Clogs are caused by debris that prevents water from flowing properly. While your tenants can unclog the toilets on their own with a plunger, some clogs – the ones that are deep within the pipes – need to be repaired by a plumber.
This also applies to drains that prevent water from flowing down the pipes. This can happen when soap scum accumulates on the walls of the pipes. You can follow the do-it-yourself route by using baking soda to unclog the drain, but if that doesn’t work, you’ll need to call a plumber.
When was your building built? It’s very important to find out when the property was built as the date can indicate whether or not it contains asbestos. Properties built between the 1900s and 1980s were made with asbestos, so if your property is old, chances are that it contains this material. If that’s the case, it’s crucial to remove every trace of asbestos. This is because asbestos can be the cause of serious conditions such as lung cancer.
Be sure to hire a professional to determine if asbestos is in your building and if it’s in danger of being airborne. You won’t be required to remove the asbestos if it doesn’t pose a risk to your occupants. However, do note that your tenants can sue you if there are traces of asbestos in your building and if you failed to disclose this.
Professional Office Building Management in South Florida
There are only a handful of the maintenance concerns you’ll encounter. To make sure you stay on top of maintenance, be sure to partner with an expert building management company such as Luxury Property Care. We’ll take a proactive approach by preparing a preventive maintenance plan that works for your specific property. That way, you can lower your costs and extend the lifespan of your real estate investment.