Rental Property Maintenance: Guide for Airbnb Hosts

rental property maintenance

By The Hospitable Team

Listing your vacation rental on Airbnb,, or Vrbo is a wonderful way of getting some income from a property that you don’t expect to use all the time. But one of the biggest responsibilities facing any host or property manager is vacation rental property maintenance.

If you have been struggling to meet all your maintenance responsibilities, this post is for you. It will help you understand the basic steps you need to take to avoid costly repairs and keep a pleasant living environment for your guests.

Repairs vs. Maintenance of a Rental Property

Planning for regular rental property maintenance allows you to set aside a portion of your rental income for upkeep. Then you can perform routine maintenance on time, and that’s important for keeping your rental in good condition.

If you neglect ongoing maintenance, it often results in bigger problems, which can be solved only with more extensive and costly repairs. For example, if you don’t fix that small leak in the roof, it can eventually lead to structural issues or extensive mold damage. So if you’re looking to save, don’t skimp on maintenance.

That also means that you might need to hire a co-host, a cleaner, a plumber, and an electrician to help you maintain your property. Then you can benefit from using short-term rental software like that allows you to streamline your operations and automatically assign tasks to your team.

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Remember: if you don’t pay expenses for upkeep, waiting till the last minute may result in higher maintenance costs. And a little bit of regular maintenance can go a long way toward preventing many Airbnb problems. But how much should you plan to spend? Let’s find out.

Rental Property Maintenance Expenses

Maintenance expenses for vacation homes include plumbing, lawn care, electrical and roof repairs, painting and flooring, pest control, and replacement of worn-out appliances. Homeowners must also pay premiums for hazard insurance. That helps protect the property owner from damage to the home caused by natural events, such as fires, severe storms, tornados, and earthquakes. 

Determining how much money you should allocate for rental property maintenance expenses can be tricky. There are different approaches to estimating the annual maintenance costs on rental properties, but each rule results in similar numbers, and the overall goal is the same. You should ensure that you have enough money for routine maintenance and unexpected emergencies.

Depending on the type of your vacation rental property, you may consider a few top rules:

  • 1% Rule: Set aside 1% of the property value a year to address rental maintenance expenses. So, if your rental property is valued at $250,000, then maintenance will cost around $2,500.
  • 50% Rule: Set aside half of your rental income each month for repairs, maintenance, taxes, insurance, and other costs related to your property.
  • Square Footage Rule: Set aside $1 per square foot for annual maintenance costs. For example, if you own a 2,000 square-foot rental property, you will need $2,000 of maintenance costs a year.

A rental maintenance budget will also depend on whether you opt to do most maintenance yourself or hire a team. You should do an honest assessment of your skills and availability before making this decision. It may be tempting to save money and go the DIY route on rental maintenance, but you may find that your time is better spent on other aspects of the short-term rental business.

Why Do You Need Rental Property Maintenance Checklist?

Routine maintenance is necessary for several reasons. First, you can prevent larger issues from developing and minimize the need for emergency repairs, which are a hassle and a costly setback for any property owner. Preventative maintenance will prolong the life of your property and the appliances and reduce the overall maintenance cost.

Second, your guests want a pleasant stay in a perfect home. So you should keep your rental property in good working order. Then they will be happy that you are a responsible host who goes the extra mile to create a safe and pleasant environment for them. And they are more likely to give you 5-start reviews.

Besides, by law, rental property owners must maintain certain health and safety standards, including keeping major systems in working order. That means you need to perform regular property inspections to ensure that everything is okay.

A rental inspection checklist is the most effective way to prevent minor things from turning into more significant issues. Also, a routine rental property maintenance checklist can help ensure that you don’t forget an essential part of a regular inspection.

Airbnb Maintenance: What Are Host’s Responsibilities?

Building a successful Airbnb business requires a lot of effort, patience, and proper rental property maintenance. Here are some important tasks that you need to do regularly, although this checklist is not exhaustive:

  • Inspect for pests quarterly, if not monthly, to keep your home pest-free.
  • Test smoke and carbon monoxide detectors and regularly replace the batteries.
  • Check for water damage or leaks to prevent mold.
  • Inspect sink, shower, and bath caulking for deterioration.
  • Service heating and cooling systems twice a year.
  • Replace filters in ducts and air conditioning systems every three months.
  • Flush the water heater twice a year.
  • Inspect the roof and clean gutters.
  • Ensure door and window locks are secure.
  • Check common areas for potential hazards.
  • Prune trees and shrubs.
  • Clean your property before and after each booking.

You should also create rental maintenance schedules for bigger projects, such as repainting walls or replacing carpets. With proper Airbnb maintenance, you’ll make your guests happy and will be able to keep emergency maintenance requests to a minimum. But if maintenance issues happen, your guests will expect you to take action immediately.

You also need to be responsive and answer your guests’ questions as fast as possible. Airbnb messaging is one of the most important aspects of running a short-term rental business, which can involve questions around the clock.

Being available to your guests 24/7 can be challenging, especially if you manage multiple listings. But with, you’ll be able to take advantage of the next-level messaging automation and automate many other aspects of your business.

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Bottom Line

It’s important to be prepared for any situation related to your vacation rental property maintenance. Don’t ignore maintenance issues. It’s always best to be one step ahead and set a planned rental property maintenance schedule. Otherwise, you may run the risk of having to fix more costly and time-consuming issues that may appear unexpectedly.

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