Apartment Maintenance | What You Need to Know

Apartment Maintenance

What is apartment maintenance?

Apartment maintenance deals with the upkeep of multifamily residences. It covers a wide range of repair work, including plumbing, HVAC, appliance repair, security, cleaning, groundskeeping, and pest control.

The ultimate goal is to make sure the buildings remain livable, safe, and comfortable for tenants and other on the premises.

Types of apartment maintenance workers

Smaller apartment complexes need very few maintenance workers, often limiting their personnel to a single person. More extensive properties with hundreds of housing units will employ multiple technicians to handle the higher workload.

Maintenance technicians

Apartment maintenance technicians handle the bulk of repair and upkeep tasks, and they usually need to have very diverse skill sets. Technicians perform both routine maintenance and emergency repairs.

Maintenance managers

Complexes with fewer than 100 units typically don’t need more than a single maintenance manager on staff with few (if any) other workers. In these smaller settings, the manager often handles all aspects of apartment maintenance, including planning, scheduling, budgeting, and completing maintenance tasks.

For larger properties with 200+ apartments, these personnel focus more on their managerial role as other part- and full-time workers handle the repair and upkeep work.

Maintenance supervisors

Apartment complexes that are large enough to need multiple technicians might employ maintenance supervisors. Supervisors organize daily tasks, ensure compliance with safety standards, and oversee technicians as they perform their various maintenance tasks.

Example of apartment maintenance

Suppose a large apartment complex in a college town has 800 units, many of which house students. The property’s maintenance staff consists of a maintenance manager, a supervisor, and four maintenance technicians.

The majority of the work requests submitted to management are fairly quick fixes, such as faucet leaks, flickering bulbs, lack of warm water, and minor appliance issues. Each of these can be resolved in an hour or less. Some problems are more time-consuming, but still fall within the realm of their technicians’ expertise.

For problems that are beyond the maintenance crew’s capabilities, such as major appliance malfunctions or electrical issues, management hires outside contractors. Occasionally, they’ll get work requests for issues outside of their housing residences, such as lobbies, elevators, and lounge areas.

The combination of work requests and routine maintenance is enough to keep the team quite busy, and many work orders end up waiting a couple days before they’re resolved. Because of this, the apartment manager decides to hire a fifth full-time technician to make sure every work order is resolved within 24 hours.

Additionally, the workload spikes dramatically after spring semester when most students head home for the summer. Since many of their student tenants don’t submit work requests while attending school, these issues are often left unresolved, and the property manager will hire a few temporary maintenance workers to get everything fixed up before leasing those units again.

Buildings that use apartment maintenance

Apartments come in many forms, each of which with its own maintenance needs. Some of these apartment building types include:

  • Studios: Studio apartments are small, one-room units with a kitchen, bathroom, and combination living room/dining room.
  • Walk-up: A walk-up apartment is any apartment in a building without an elevator.
  • High-rise: Some apartment complexes stretch beyond twelve stories high, making an elevator an absolute necessity.
  • Lofts: Lofts are known for their spaciousness, and they often have high ceilings and exposed rafters.
  • Duplexes: A pair of complete housing units that either share a wall or are located on separate floors.
  • Triplexes: A three-story apartment with a separate unit on each floor.
  • Garden apartments: Ground-floor apartments with access to a garden or lawn.

Apartment maintenance certifications and training

Among the certification and training programs available to apartment maintenance workers are the following:

  • CAMT Certification: The National Apartment Association (NAA) awards the Certificate for Apartment Maintenance Technicians (CAMT) to those who complete their training program, have 12 months of experience in apartment maintenance, and complete a final exam.
  • NAHMT or NAHMS Credentials: Offered by the National Affordable Housing Management Association(NAHMA), these two credentials are offered to technicians and supervisors respectively. Candidates must fulfill a number of strict training and experience requirements before applying for either of these credentials.
  • Apartment Maintenance Institute training: Institute provides training and courses for those either seeking a position in apartment maintenance or who want to expand on their skills.

Apartment maintenance news and resources

  • Multifamily Insiders: Multifamily Insiders publishes numerous blogs relevant to apartment maintenance.
  • NAA: The National Apartment Association publishes many materials, including their own online publication called UNITS Magazine.

Want to keep reading?

How many technicians are needed per unit in apartment management?

If you’re creating your initial staff for a new apartment, I suggest starting with one technician per 150 to 200 units in addition to your manager.
View Article

What is Property Maintenance? | A Beginner's Guide

Property maintenance is the application of cleaning, safety checks, and repairs throughout residential buildings.
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What are the most common maintenance requests in property management?

The most common maintenance requests in property management generally are plumbing and HVAC repairs of all sorts. Learn more about these requests here!
View Article


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