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THE STR SECURITY PLAYBOOK
Vacation Rental Maintenance: Protect Your Property from Damage with These Practical Tips
Use tech solutions to keep your property safe
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If you run a short-term rental, you’re aware that letting strangers into your home can be risky. From leaky faucets going unnoticed and starting floods, to serious damage caused by unruly guests, you may be worried about keeping your property in good condition.
But there are ways to proactively protect your property from various types of damage. In this article, we’ll take a look at how to use regularly scheduled maintenance to prevent:
- Fire damage
- Water damage
- Electrical damage
- Damage to a vacant vacation rental in winter
- Damage caused by guest negligence
Plus, we’ll talk about noise monitoring and enhanced digital check-in solutions that can give you peace of mind and ensure guests aren’t harming your property.
Regular scheduled maintenance
Scheduling regular maintenance services will help you ensure small issues don’t turn into big problems—a little leak under the kitchen sink can mean serious water damage if left unaddressed. Plus, unhappy guests that have to deal with an issue during their stay, even if it’s as small as a burnt-out light bulb, may end up leaving a bad review.
If you want to ensure that regular scheduled tasks never slip through the cracks, use an automated task scheduling software solution. With this type of tool, you can schedule a general maintenance check for each of your properties each quarter or every six months.
That way, you’ll be sure to check on the state of the plumbing or HVAC system on a regular basis and prevent serious mishaps before they happen.
Plus, the right software will allow your cleaning and maintenance staff to report incidents, which will be stored on one consolidated dashboard. This helps you ensure that issues are always addressed in a timely manner and won’t have a negative impact on the guest experience.
When you use Operto Teams, you’ll never forget a maintenance check or a clean.
Protecting from water damage
You can prevent the costly hassles of water damage by taking the following preventive measures:
- Using a water leak detection system: A water leak detection system monitors the flow of water through a pipe and cuts off water flow when it detects unusual activity.
- Checking floor drains and sump pumps: You should routinely check for blockages in floor drains and sump pumps that could lead to flooding.
- Inspecting appliances: Schedule appliance inspections into your routine maintenance checks to ensure that your washing machine, dishwasher, and refrigerator won’t cause any leaks. This is also important for pool and/or hot tub owners.
- Clearing and checking gutters: Gutter cleaning should be a regular part of your preventative maintenance tasks, as clogged or sagging gutters can cause basement flooding.
- Shutting off the water during long gaps between stays: If no one will be at a property for an extended period of time, consider turning off the water to safeguard your property. Leave instructions for your cleaning or maintenance staff to shut off the water on the last scheduled clean after check-out. Just be sure to schedule a task to turn the water back on before the next guest arrives.
All these tasks can be included in your regular scheduled maintenance checks. Plus, a housekeeping scheduling tool with direct messaging capabilities will allow cleaners to alert your team and send pictures of maintenance issues they come across during their inspections.
Protecting from fire damage
Avoid costly fire damage repairs and protect guests by implementing these security measures:
- Smart smoke alarms: Equip your short-term rental with smoke alarms to protect guests and alert you in the case of a fire. You should look for a smart smoke detector solution that will alert you via a notification on your smartphone even if you aren’t in the home so you can react in a timely manner.
- Tobacco smoke detectors: You can also purchase specialized technology that detects tobacco and cigar smoke in your Airbnb or Vrbo properties. These discreet, plug-in devices help you protect your property from the odors and damage of tobacco smoke by sending you a notification so you can address the issue with guests.
- Fire escape routes: Many homeowners don’t think about creating a fire escape route for their vacation home, but since your guests will be staying in a property that is not familiar to them, it’s essential to give them a safe way out. This can be detailed in the house manual section of your digital guidebook, and you can also clearly indicate a fire escape route somewhere in your home.
- Fire extinguishers: It goes without saying that your vacation rental homes should be equipped with fire extinguishers. Again, be sure to detail where they are located in your digital house manual so guests are prepared in case of an emergency.
Protecting from electrical damage
A commonly overlooked vacation rental safety measure for short-term rentals is protection from electrical damage. You can take a few steps to minimize the risk of electrical damage, including:
- Surge protectors: These ensure your electronics are protected from power surges. On top of surge protectors, you should make sure all your electrical devices are grounded.
- Regular inspections: Include electrical inspections as a part of your regular preventative maintenance tasks. This is especially important for older homes, and you should take time to revise outlet and light switch conditions, confirm grounding systems, and identify shock or electrocution hazards.
- Childproofing: Especially if families are one of your most frequent guest profiles, you should ensure your units are childproofed. This means taping down long electrical cords and utilizing outlet and power strip covers.
Protecting a vacant vacation rental in winter
If your property is located in a cold weather climate, there are extra precautions you should take to protect it in the winter.
- Pre-season inspection: Before the cold season hits, inspect your property to make sure it isn’t susceptible to pests and infestations. Clear all food and perishable items out of the property, and be sure to close off any openings where a bird, squirrel, or bat could enter (like a chimney flue).
- Plumbing management: If your property isn’t usually inhabited during the winter season, you should turn off your water to prevent the pipes from freezing. Even if a guest does book your property during the cold months, you can simply include instructions for the staff member who does the pre-stay clean to turn on the water.
- Remote energy control: Smart thermostats allow you to remotely heat up your unit to a pre-set temperature right before guests arrive, and lower it to a pre-set temperature after they check out. You can use Operto Connect to set up your temperature and energy control hardware and seamlessly connect it to your PMS.
Noise monitoring to prevent parties
There is one thing that no amount of preventive maintenance can prevent: damage caused by guests. But there are measures you can take to monitor what’s going on at your properties and keep them safe.
For example, with Operto you can set up noise monitoring technology in your home, which will send you a notification when noise levels exceed a normal threshold.
Noise monitoring devices let you monitor noise levels at your properties, and this non-invasive solution protects guest privacy by only measuring decibels and not recording actual conversations. You can set personalized noise thresholds so you know you’ll only receive notifications when noise levels exceed your pre-set levels.
That way, there’s no more worrying about whether guests are throwing a party (and causing damage) at your property, and you can reach out to guests and shut things down as soon as they get out of hand.
Use Operto to monitor noise levels and get peace of mind that your guests are being considerate and respectful.
Enhanced digital check-in
Another way to protect your property from rowdy guests is with enhanced digital check-in and guest screening. As a vacation rental owner, you want to know exactly who’s entering your property, but many guest screening processes can cause friction and be invasive for guests.
Operto Guest enhanced digital check-in comes with built-in guest verification, so you can verify who’s gaining access to your property—all your guests see is a streamlined digital check-in procedure.
This is a seamless, non-invasive way to keep tabs on who’s gaining access to your property so you know it’s in good hands.
Know exactly who’s entering your properties (so you can keep them safe) with Operto Guest.
Be proactive and plan to protect your vacation rental property
You regularly schedule cleans at your short-term rental, so why not make maintenance checks a part of your routine as well? Staying on top of your property’s upkeep is vital to running a successful vacation rental business.
From matters as small as inspecting light bulbs to issues as important as preventing fire and electrical damage, with regular vacation rental maintenance, you can prevent major issues and give your guests a safe, enjoyable stay.
Don’t get overwhelmed by your vacation rental maintenance checklist. Use Operto teams to:
- Automate tasks
- Schedule routine maintenance
- Consolidate issues
- Keep all your staff members in the loop