By Jerry L’Ecuyer & Frank Alvarez
Dear maintenance men:
Do I have to check the batteries of the smoke detectors in my units or is it the resident’s job? Also, how often should I clean my water heaters, let alone air conditioning filters and so on?
1- Most rental contracts include a checkbox indicating that the resident is responsible for the operation of the smoke detector. Newer rental contracts now have a checkbox for carbon monoxide alarms. We stay awake at night thinking about that little checkbox. In order to sleep, we check residents’ smoke and CO detectors every time we service the unit. We keep a log of each time we check and what action was taken. Smoke and carbon monoxide detectors should be checked and “officially” registered at least once a year. Generally, January is a good month for the annual check.
2- A typical 100 gallon water heater according to the BTU rating will cost between $ 4,700 and over $ 6,500 installed. This cost alone should be an incentive to clean the radiator regularly. Normally, cleaning should be done at least once a year. If the water in your building has a high mineral content, it should be cleaned every nine months. Again keep a diary of each cleaning; this will help to remember when to do the next cleaning.
3- If your building has forced air heating, the filter must be checked, cleaned or replaced every October or November and every May or June. This will help keep your systems running smoothly and reduce the strain on components. It will also provide good filtration before winter and summer workloads.
4- Clean the laundry room dryer exhaust ducts. Everyone knows how to clean the dryer lint basket and throw it on the laundry room floor. We’re talking about cleaning the lines leading to the back of the dryer. Keeping the exhaust vent tubes clean will help reduce gas and electricity consumption, longer machine life and shorter drying time and lint in these tubes is known to be a risk of damage. ‘fire. This should be done at least once a year and again keep a log of each cleanse for reference.
Dear maintenance men:
How to get rid of mice or rats? I found poop in the house and am not happy and need a solution.
We have written about treating mouse and rat problems in the past and here is what we recommend if you want to get rid of rodents on your own. Keep in mind that rats and mice are intelligent and conservative. They are not risk takers. In the mind of the rat or mouse, a trap in the middle of the ground is too risky to investigate. Rodents will run along walls, rafters, and other areas of low exposure. Place the traps along these roads about ten feet apart. A good bait to use is peanut butter. Patience is king when trying to trap a rat. Place all your baited traps, but DO NOT put them on for a day or two. Let the rat nibble the bait harmlessly. This last part is the most difficult to do. However, patience will prevail. If you rush in and set the traps and the rat sets one off and doesn’t get caught; he will remember it! Also, avoid using traps designed for mice; it will only annoy the rat and he will be smarter about it. The same goes for using rat traps to catch mice. The trap is too big and when set it may miss the mouse.
Another option is to use poison. Anticoagulant poison is very popular. This poison thins the blood of the rat. It will make him thirsty and when he drinks the water he will bleed inside. When using this option, be sure to leave a saucer of water near the poison. The poison normally comes in the form of bars that can be broken into pieces. Remember rodents hoard, so just because the poison is gone doesn’t mean they have eaten it. Put on more until they stop taking it. The local hardware store should carry this product, but it is best to go to a farm supply store. They will have the best quality of supply. Be careful with the placement, so that other animals do not eat this poison. The hardware or farm supply store has approved bait dispensers designed for rats or mice. Again, patience pays off. Before using poisoned baits, use crispy peanut butter to allow the rats to get used to the bait station for a few days. Then add the poisoned bait with a little peanut butter.
Glue traps are also a viable option. It is important to use large rat traps. Place the glue trap along a known rat track, or along a ledge or rafter used by rodents. It is important to nail or secure the glue trap in place. Place a little peanut butter in the middle of the trap as an attractant. Good hunt!
Dear maintenance men:
I own a small building with an average amount of landscaping around the property. I have a gardening service that comes every week; they cut and cut and do what they’re supposed to do, I think, even though they don’t spend a lot of time at the property. What should I expect from my landscapers or gardening service?
We have a minimum list of items that must be completed in a property. If these items are ignored or ignored, we believe the property will suffer. On a weekly basis, we expect the garden service to provide the following:
- Cut the grass.
- Edge the grass.
- Remove the weeds between the cracks in the sidewalk, walk around the building, including the alley.
- Turn over the soil of all the flower beds every week.
- Pick up all garbage around the property.
- Sweep, blow or water the walkways.
- Turn on sprinkler lines, check for clogged heads, broken lines, etc.
- Check that the timer is correctly set.
- Cut, prune and thin out any shrubs or bushes.
- Maintain communication with the owner about problems or improvements
The above list takes time, at least half an hour on a small property. If your landscaper filled out the list every week, you could very well have the nicest property in the neighborhood! Which means higher rents… if you add colored flowers… even higher rents!
Finding a landscaper to do the above list consistently is not easy. Ask your local apartment association for recommendations or search your neighborhood or town for a property with exceptional landscaping and ask who the gardener is. Ask him to give you a quote according to your “list”. Keep in mind that a landscaping company or gardener who offers the above service will charge more than a gardener “for sure”, but your property will reflect their above average service.
If you need maintenance or consultation work for your building or your project, do not hesitate to contact us. We are available throughout Southern California. For an appointment, please call Buffalo Maintenance, Inc. at 714 956-8371
Franck Alvarez is a licensed contractor and the director of operations and co-owner of Buffalo Maintenance, Inc. He has been involved in the maintenance and construction of apartments for over 30 years. Frankie is President of the Apartment Association of Orange County and a speaker, educational instructor, and chair of the AAOC Education Committee. He is also chairman of the product service board. Frank can be reached at (714) 956-8371 [email protected] For more information, please visit: www.BuffaloMaintenance.com
Jerry L’Ecuyer is a real estate broker. He is currently director emeritus and former president of the Orange County Apartment Association and former chairman of the association’s education committee. Jerry has been looking after apartments as a professional since 1988.