Property Maintenance for Landlords: How Much to Set Aside

June 27, 2023
property maintenance

Key takeaways:

    • Property maintenance in Australia is essential for landlords to ensure their property’s safety, functionality and condition.

    • Landlords should allocate 4% of a property’s value annually for preventive, corrective and emergency repairs.

    • Landlord insurance can help cover landlords against a variety of risks, including property damage, loss of rental income, and legal liability.

Property maintenance is something every landlord needs to tend to. But what does property maintenance involve and how much should you actually set aside for these necessities?

Generally speaking, 4% of the property’s replacement value is what landlords should expect to spend on property maintenance items like painting, plumbing and electrical work.

In our article, we delve into the costs associated with keeping your rental property in top shape, from routine tasks to unexpected repairs.

With careful planning and smart budgeting, property maintenance need not be a daunting task. In this article, we’ll take you through what property maintenance involves, how much you can expect to spend and property maintenance budgeting tips for landlords.

Suggested reading: Get all the essential information from this comprehensive first-time landlord guide and set yourself up for success.

How Much Should Landlords Set Aside for Property Maintenance in Australia?

So, now that we know what property maintenance includes, how can you effectively plan and budget rental property expenses?

Landlords in Australia should set aside around 4% of the property’s replacement value for annual maintenance tasks to preserve the property’s value, safety, and appearance.

This budget should cover a wide range of tasks, from preventive maintenance to corrective and emergency repairs.

Preventative Maintenance vs Corrective Maintenance

Preventative maintenance tasks include regular inspections, cleaning, and lubrication of equipment, as well as replacing worn parts. Corrective maintenance tasks involve repairing or replacing broken or malfunctioning equipment.

Maintenance requests can be categorized into preventive maintenance, corrective maintenance, and emergency repairs, which are needed when a problem arises suddenly and requires immediate attention.

It is crucial for landlords to allocate sufficient funds for maintenance to address any issues promptly and ensure the property’s value is maintained. This becomes especially important when the landlord’s investment property is damaged.

Factors that Affect Property Maintenance Costs

Several factors influence property maintenance costs in Australia, including building characteristics such as:

  • Age
  • Function
  • Location
  • Size
  • Height of building
  • Type of structure
  • Finishes
  • Construction materials
  • Method of construction

Additionally, the expectations of tenants, budget constraints, and the size, condition, and location of the property are also taken into consideration.

On average, home maintenance costs 1% to 4% of the home value per year.

Adhering to state and local laws and regulations is a necessity for every property owner, depending on the jurisdiction. Professional maintenance companies are aware of this and take the necessary steps to stay up-to-date with the current regulations to guarantee compliance.

Ensuring regulatory compliance not only helps avoid legal issues, but also contributes to the overall safety and functionality of the property.

What is property maintenance in Australia?

Property maintenance is not just about keeping a building looking good; it’s about ensuring the safety, functionality, and value of your investment.

This includes activities like cleaning, repairs, and inspections, which help protect landlords from potential legal liabilities, such as personal injury claims or violations of local building codes.

property maintenance

The role of property managers

Property managers are responsible for overseeing the maintenance of the property, including managing a team of technicians and contractors to carry out work under their direction. They are also responsible for ensuring prompt and appropriate response to emergency repairs.

Tenant responsibilities

On the other hand, tenants are responsible for maintaining the cleanliness and orderliness of the rental unit they occupy, including:

  • Basic cleaning and upkeep tasks
  • Regularly cleaning the unit
  • Notifying the landlord or property manager of any necessary repairs
  • Appropriately disposing of trash and other waste

This is considered routine maintenance, which is an essential aspect of property management. Property management companies employ property managers to handle these responsibilities effectively. Making landlord’s responsibilities essential in investing in property maintenance.

A property maintenance professional can ensure that these tasks are carried out efficiently and effectively, making it essential for landlords to invest in property maintenance.

The Importance of Property Maintenance

The regular upkeep of properties has numerous advantages for both the property manager and the occupants. It helps in guaranteeing the property is secure, operational, and kept up, and it can likewise help to diminish costs related to crisis fixes.

Maintaining Property Value

Routine maintenance helps in preserving and often enhancing the property value. Neglect could lead to depreciation and a fall in rental income.

Regulatory Compliance

Australian housing standards require landlords to offer well-maintained properties. Negligence can result in legal repercussions, including hefty fines.

Tenant Retention

A well-maintained property is a significant factor in tenant satisfaction and retention, minimizing costs associated with vacancies.

Hiring Property Managers

When hiring property management support, it is important to consider companies with a good reputation and proven track record. Seek personal recommendations from other local property owners before conducting an online search, and conduct due diligence before making a decision.

Request a portfolio from the provider that includes their current and past clients. Furthermore, make sure to ask for licensing paperwork and advertised accreditations.

How to Create a Property Maintenance Budget in 3 Steps

property maintenance

Creating a property maintenance budget involves assessing the property’s needs, prioritizing tasks, and allocating funds for preventive, corrective, and emergency maintenance.

1. Create a list of maintenance tasks required

The first step is to determine the scope of maintenance tasks required for the property, which may include repairs, cleaning, painting, landscaping, and additional services.

It’s essential to consider the property’s specific needs and requirements when creating a budget, as well as any local building codes and regulations that must be adhered to.

2. Prioritise the tasks according to importance

Next, prioritize the tasks based on their importance to the safety, functionality, and appearance of the property. Some tasks, such as routine maintenance, are essential for maintaining the overall safety and functionality of the property.

Other tasks, like cosmetic improvements, may be less urgent, but still important for maintaining tenant satisfaction and preserving the property’s value. Allocate funds accordingly, ensuring that critical preventive and emergency maintenance tasks are adequately budgeted for.

3. Create budgets for each task

Finally, monitor and adjust the maintenance budget as needed. As a property owner, it’s crucial to stay on top of maintenance costs and make adjustments to the budget as necessary to ensure that the property remains in optimal condition.

How to Track and Manage Property Maintenance Costs

property maintenance

Traditional Spreadsheets

While considered rudimentary, spreadsheets remain a reliable tool. Landlords can use templates specifically designed for Australian tax codes and regulations, like claiming for depreciation and other tax-deductible expenses.

Accounting Software

Landlords can invest in accounting software that’s customized for real estate management. Features often include automated invoicing, receipt tracking, and integration with Australian tax systems.

Hire a Property Manager

Although this involves an additional expense, property managers are experts in Australian property law and can efficiently track and budget maintenance costs, ensuring that you meet all legal obligations.

Mobile Apps

Various mobile apps can keep all property-related documents, maintenance schedules, and expenses at your fingertips. These apps often have cloud storage, making it easy to collaborate with property managers and accountants.

Extra Tips to Help You Save on Property Maintenance Costs

Just like any other investment, your property requires regular upkeep to maintain its value and functionality. However, maintenance doesn’t have to break the bank. Here are some extra tips to help you save on property maintenance costs:

Plan Your Budget

Allocate a specific budget for property maintenance each year. This will help you avoid unexpected expenses and allow you to prioritize tasks effectively.

Preventive Measures

Investing in preventive measures can save you a lot in the long run. For example, waterproofing your basement or installing a sump pump can prevent costly water damage in the future.

DIY When Possible

Some maintenance tasks don’t require professional help. Simple tasks like changing light bulbs, cleaning gutters, or patching up small holes can be done yourself, saving you the cost of hiring a professional.

Bulk Purchases

Buying maintenance supplies in bulk can offer significant savings. Items like cleaning supplies, light bulbs, and batteries can be stored easily and used as needed.

Seasonal Checks

Perform seasonal checks to identify potential issues before they become major problems. For instance, inspect your HVAC system before winter and your air conditioning before summer to ensure they are in optimal condition.

Energy Efficiency

Invest in energy-efficient appliances and fixtures. They may cost more upfront, but the long-term savings on utility bills can be substantial.

Leverage Technology

Use smart home technology to monitor and control various aspects of your property. Smart thermostats, for example, can help you manage heating and cooling costs more effectively.

Keep Records

Maintain a log of all maintenance activities, including costs and service providers. This will not only help you track expenses but also provide valuable information when you decide to sell or rent your property.

Consult Experts

For major maintenance tasks, it’s always good to get multiple quotes and consult experts. This will help you get a fair price and quality service.

Insurance Check

Ensure that your property insurance is up-to-date and covers the types of damages that are most likely to occur in your area, such as flood or earthquake coverage.

By incorporating these tips into your maintenance routine, you can ensure that your property remains in top condition without overspending. Remember, a well-maintained property not only looks good but also saves you money in the long run.


In conclusion, property maintenance in Australia is a critical aspect of property management, ensuring the safety, functionality, and value of a property. Landlords must prioritize maintenance tasks and allocate sufficient funds to cover preventive, corrective, and emergency maintenance. Understanding the factors that affect maintenance costs, creating a maintenance budget, and utilizing CMMS software can help landlords manage their property efficiently and effectively.

By investing in property maintenance, landlords can extend the lifespan of their assets, enhance their reputation, and reduce tenant turnover, ultimately securing the long-term success of their investment. Don’t underestimate the importance of this in Australia – take action today to protect your property and ensure its continued success.

Suggested reading: Knowng the minimum standards for your rental can help you become a better landlord. Check out Soho’s guide.

Frequently Asked Questions

property maintenance

In this section, we will address some frequently asked questions about property maintenance in Australia.

Did You Know? Managing rental properties isn’t just about collecting rent and maintenance. Dive into the vital aspects of work health and safety in our detailed article on what are some work health and safety considerations to managing rental properties?.

What is the definitions property maintenance?

Property maintenance is the practice of keeping buildings and their surrounding areas in good condition. This includes activities such as safety inspections, cleaning, pest control, garbage removal, gardening, landscaping, and repairs.

It is an important way to protect investments and ensure a safe and attractive living or working environment.

Is landlord insurance worth it Australia?

Landlord insurance is a type of insurance that covers landlords against a variety of risks, including property damage, loss of rental income, and legal liability. While it is not legally required in Australia, it is generally considered to be a good idea for landlords to have this type of insurance.

There are a number of reasons why landlord insurance can be worth it. First, it can protect you from financial loss in the event of a major event, such as a fire or flood. Second, it can provide you with peace of mind knowing that you are covered in the event of a claim. Third, it can help you attract and retain tenants, as many tenants will only rent from landlords with landlord insurance.

What are the three main types of maintenance requirements for managed properties?

Maintenance of managed properties typically includes preventive maintenance to identify and fix issues before they arise, reactive or corrective maintenance to address problems that have already occurred, and predictive maintenance to proactively detect potential issues.

This type of maintenance is important to ensure that the property is kept in good condition and that any potential issues are addressed quickly and efficiently. It also helps to reduce the risk of costly repairs and downtime.

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