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Maintenance 101: Best Practices for Preserving Commercial Properties

Investing in commercial rental properties is an excellent way to diversify a portfolio and create a consistent and recurring stream of income. However, in your efforts to earn that income through existing and rising rents, you need to make sure you’re providing a Southern California property that commercial tenants are happy renting. 

To keep tenants happy and interested, you have to maintain the property. 

Proper maintenance of your commercial rental property is crucial in maintaining its value, attracting and retaining tenants, and protecting your investment. 

Here is Bell Properties’ quick Maintenance 101, which will provide some best practices on maintenance based on our experience as a Southern California property management company

Create a Maintenance Schedule

The first step to maintaining a Southern California commercial rental property is creating a maintenance schedule. This will keep you organized and attentive to preventative services, which will help you avoid expensive emergencies and surprises. 

A maintenance schedule should include regular checks of the building systems such as HVAC systems, electrical systems, and plumbing systems. These checks will help to identify possible maintenance issues before they turn into major problems, which can be costly to repair. Additionally, a maintenance schedule should also include regular cleaning and upkeep of the property's exterior, landscaping, and common areas. Potholes in the parking lots are no good, and you want the building to look inviting to your tenants and their own business guests, employees, and customers. 

Commit to Regular Inspections

Regular inspections are an important way to ensure your property is safe, secure, and up to code. It also helps identify any potential maintenance problems early on so that they can be addressed before they turn into major issues. 

Licensed inspectors can help to identify roofing issues, HVAC problems, and any water damage, among other things. Regular inspections will help to keep your Southern California commercial rental property in top condition, and they will also help to give you peace of mind knowing that your investment is secure.

Respond Promptly to Tenant Requests

Another aspect of Southern California commercial property management is responding to the needs of your tenants. Always respond promptly to tenant requests. Addressing these requests in a timely manner can prevent minor issues from turning into larger ones and may lead to increased tenant satisfaction. Poor response times can lead to frustrated tenants, which could lead to a higher turnover rate and decreased occupancy.

Maybe maintenance is your tenant’s responsibility, per the lease agreement. You still want to know when something goes wrong at the property you own. Make sure you’re a resource and a source of support.

Maintain Proper Maintenance Records

Proper record-keeping is also important for maintaining a Southern California commercial rental property. Keeping track of things like preventative maintenance schedules and repairs can help to keep the property in top condition. 

Good record-keeping can also be useful in the event of a legal dispute. Keeping accurate records can also help to keep track of expenses, which can be useful when it comes to tax time.

At Bell Properties, we’ve invested in property management software that makes this easy. We document every repair, every request, and every upgrade and update that’s made. There’s a record of work that’s accurate, detailed, and transparent. 

Partner with Southern California Commercial Property Management Professionals

It’s not as easy as it once was to find good vendors and contractors. Unless you have an existing relationship in place with an HVAC specialist, a plumbing team, and a general contractor, getting them to your property when you need them may be difficult. These professionals are busier than ever. Their costs have also gone up. 

How can you leverage their experience and negotiate their best rates? 

Work with a property management team like ours. Partnering with professionals can make maintaining a commercial rental property more manageable and affordable. At Bell Properties, we will help you address any issues right away, work with our great team of vendors, and work hard to ensure your property is in tip-top condition. Additionally, partnering with professionals can also help to give you access to the latest technology and practices, which can lead to increased efficiency and cost savings.

Emergency vs. Routine Maintenance at Commercial Properties

You’ll handle emergencies differently from the way you handle routine repair requests. 

Something can be considered an emergency when there’s a danger to people or property. 

  • Identifying Commercial Property Emergencies

Common sense usually tells us when something is an emergency. If there is a fire, for example, your first responsibility is to get out of the building and away from danger. Then, you’ll want your tenants to call 911, and as soon as it is safe for them to do so, they’ll call you or your property manager. A broken water line or anything that’s causing flooding at the property is also an emergency. Water can cause a lot of problems quickly, and if your tenants have expensive office equipment or inventory that’s at risk, you’ll need to move quickly to mitigate the problems.  

Other emergencies include broken gas lines or a gas leak. Sewer back-ups are also emergencies. 

All of these situations will require an immediate response from you and your property manager. 

  • Identifying Non-Emergencies in Commercial Rental Properties

Inconvenience is not an emergency, and you may need to remind your tenants of this. Doors that are opening funny, outlets that won’t work, and carpet that’s coming up in the hallways are all things that need attention, but not immediate, outside-of-office-hours attention. 

Seasonal Maintenance for Commercial Investments 

Southern California commercial property management doesn’t often depend on the weather. We don’t have extreme heat and cold like Florida or Colorado. However, we do recognize the value in seasonal maintenance, and here are some of the things to consider in the summer and in the fall. 

  • Summer Maintenance for Commercial Properties

Pay attention to your curb appeal as the weather gets warmer. Make a plan for how you’ll keep things looking healthy and attractive outside of your building. Preparing the sprinklers or irrigation is also necessary to keep your landscaping from dying out in the summer. Test your irrigation and make sure all your sprinklers are pointing in the right direction. You don’t want to waste resources by watering the parking lot. 

Take this time to test your smoke detectors and carbon monoxide detectors. Fires are more common during the hotter months, and you want to make sure your tenants and their customers are safe. Make sure all your fire extinguishers are up to date. Post your evacuation plan in every unit. Put together an emergency plan and make sure all of your fire prevention systems are working. 

Reduce the risk of having your property burglarized. Consider installing security cameras around the perimeter or inside the building if you don’t have them already. If you do have them, give them a check-up and make sure they’re working. Audit the number of keys, passcodes, or other security information that’s shared with tenants. Check the exterior lighting, too. 

  • Fall Maintenance for Commercial Properties

Fall can also be a great time to check in on some seasonal maintenance that your commercial investment property might need, especially as you prepare for dropping temperatures. We don’t ever expect a deep freeze in our area, but you do want to ensure your tenants are warm and everything continues to work through the winter. 

Inspect the condition of your roof. Heat and high summer temperatures take their toll on roofs. The autumn is an ideal time to have the roof of your building inspected and if necessary, repaired. Schedule a professional roof inspection with a certified roofer. A sound roof defends you against structural problems in the entire building and prevents water from getting inside. 

Have your HVAC serviced seasonally as well. Air conditioning runs constantly in the summer, and your system puts in a lot of work. The fall is the perfect time to have your heating and cooling units checked out, cleaned, and serviced. Preventative maintenance like this will save you lots of money on expensive replacements in the long run.

Commercial tenants are more concerned about energy efficiency than ever before. The tenants renting space in your commercial building will appreciate that the system is working well and keeping energy bills down. Get your air filters changed and ensure air quality in your property is good and that electricity, gas, and water are not being wasted. 

Cleaning Equates to Maintenance 

Powerwash Outside of BuildingCommercial tenants count on a clean rental property. You’ll want to keep up with regular cleaning while you’re maintaining the property. Powerwash the outside of your building. Repaint any parking lines in the lots and spruce up the landscaping. Make sure there aren’t any potholes that need repairing or trees and branches that need to be trimmed back.

Maintaining a commercial rental property can be challenging, but it is absolutely necessary to protect your investment and ensure its longevity. By creating a maintenance schedule, conducting regular inspections, responding promptly to tenant requests, keeping proper records, and partnering with professionals, you can keep your commercial rental property in top condition and ensure that it continues to generate income for years to come. Remember, seasonal maintenance can keep you organized and preventative maintenance is always better than an emergency response. 

We’d be happy to help you maintain your investment. When you need help with Southern California commercial property management, contact us at Bell Properties Commercial Real Estate.