student housing maintenance


Key takeaways

  • Staying on top of student housing maintenance helps you retain more residents and saves on costs.
  • Implement preventive, routine, and reactive maintenance for your property.
  • You should regularly inspect and audit your property maintenance, encourage training among staff, and manage resources accordingly.
  • You can reduce the need for student housing maintenance by implementing data analytics and smart building technology.


Student housing maintenance programs and initiatives are vital to ensuring prospective students get the most out of your property. You’ll also want to make proptech upgrades where necessary, such as video intercoms, smart appliances, and parking facilities.

For that reason, we’ve created this guide to help you navigate maintenance during the upcoming student housing turn and beyond. We’ll cover why student housing maintenance is so important, the types of maintenance you should implement, and best practices.

More importantly, you’ll gain access to our free student housing maintenance checklist and discover how technology can reduce needed work.

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Importance of property maintenance

Maintenance is a critical operation for any multifamily property, and student housing is no different. In fact, managing student housing is more intensive than typical residents because of the lifestyle college produces. As a result, property maintenance is likely to feel overwhelming, but you should not cut corners.

Proper student housing maintenance benefits your property in the following ways:

  • Resident retention. Students are more likely to renew their lease when the property is clean and comfortable. In other words, the regular maintenance and upkeep you perform on the property will directly affect whether student residents renew their lease for next year.
  • Save on costs. Proactive maintenance prevents serious problems from going unnoticed, which would otherwise lead to hefty repair costs. In turn, you can put more of your budget toward amenities residents want.
  • Market value. As you maintain your property, you also maintain the long-term property value. If numerous building systems deteriorate or require extensive repairs, you can expect the value of your property to decrease. Not to mention, it’ll be more difficult to find a buyer.
  • Safety. Neglecting maintenance can make your property unsafe, posing risks to both employees and residents. These unsafe conditions can result in legal issues and decrease tenant retention rates.


Types of maintenance to implement

You can follow several different procedures when tackling maintenance at your student housing property. However, it’s ideal to implement a holistic maintenance plan to increase students’ living experience.

With that in mind, here is the type of maintenance you should implement:

  1. Preventative maintenance
  2. Routine maintenance
  3. Reactive maintenance


1. Preventative maintenance

Preventive maintenance programs are designed to catch small issues that would otherwise go unnoticed and lead to unexpected breakdowns. By implementing such a program, you can significantly reduce the likelihood of serious damage and costly repairs.

Although preventative maintenance seems similar to routine maintenance, it involves more extensive inspections and potential corrections to address minor problems. This means it‘s typically more time-consuming and requires more effort from your staff.

To enhance your preventive maintenance efforts, consider using a building management system integrated with IoT devices for various building functions. These sensors monitor the performance of different systems and alert your maintenance staff to issues before they become severe, ensuring timely and effective intervention.

Examples of preventive maintenance include:

  • Systemic inspections
  • Lubricating moving parts
  • Checking power supplies
  • Repair or replacing parts


2. Routine maintenance

As it sounds, routine maintenance is performed regularly—daily, weekly, or monthly, depending on the equipment or system. Overall, these tasks are crucial for maintaining the comfort of residents and day-to-day operations.

Common examples of routine maintenance include:

  • Restroom sanitation
  • Trash removal
  • Lighting checks
  • Landscaping
  • Pest control
  • Security system testing
  • Seasonal preparation


3. Reactive maintenance

There are two types of reactive maintenance: corrective and emergency.

Corrective maintenance occurs when a system or piece of equipment malfunctions unexpectedly. These repairs may take time and are likely not completed as soon as possible because they are less important than other tasks.

Examples of corrective maintenance include:

  • Leaking faucets
  • HVAC inefficiencies
  • Cracked windows
  • Minor property damage

On the other hand, emergency maintenance requires immediate response to unexpected malfunctions. These malfunctions are often hazardous, putting residents and employees at risk. Therefore, addressing emergency maintenance issues is crucial to ensure everyone’s safety.

Maintenance scenarios considered emergencies include:

  • Burst pipes
  • Power outages
  • Gas leaks
  • Fires
  • Broken HVAC in extreme temperatures


Learn how to automate your student housing:


Best practices for maintaining student housing

You and your maintenance team should implement a handful of best practices to ensure that your residents have a memorable living experience.

The best practices for student housing maintenance include the following:


Regular inspections and audits

Performing inspections and auditing your property will prevent major downtime to building systems and reduce repair costs. These duties not only maintain the functionality of your property but also appeal to residents. So, work with your maintenance team to schedule regular maintenance throughout the year — especially during the student housing turn.


Communicate with residents

Speaking with your residents helps build a relationship and trust, which is essential when you want them to report maintenance issues. Early reporting of maintenance issues helps residents live more comfortably, and you can reduce the chances of an issue worsening.

Clearly communicate with residents in the following ways:

  • Implement numerous channels to reach residents, such as social media, newsletters, and bulletin boards.
  • Give residents multiple ways of contact maintenance, such as a dedicated phone line or mobile app to submit requests.
  • Update students weekly on what’s going on in the community.
  • Request feedback for your team and maintenance staff to learn what residents think of your work.
  • Educated residents on their role in maintaining the property by reporting issues early and following property guidelines.


Training and certifications

Your maintenance staff should have the appropriate training and skills to handle a wide range of maintenance tasks. This way, your maintenance team is capable of carrying out repairs and replacements without putting themselves or others at risk. Plus, certifications and training enhance the quality of work performed.

Encourage your maintenance team to implement cross-training and safety training so staff members are well-versed in all aspects of property maintenance. Additionally, you should urge staff to continue their education through online courses and stay updated on the latest industry trends.


Resource management

Finally, efficient resource management helps maximize your property’s resources and reduce waste. When staff perform repairs within budget, they contribute to the overall sustainability and profitability of the property.

You can better manage your property’s resources with these practices:

  • Establish strong vendor relationships to ensure materials are procured on time and at an appropriate rate.
  • Develop strategies to reduce the consumption of utilities and reduce the waste your property produces.
  • Keep a detailed record of maintenance supplies and equipment in inventory.
  • Adhere to a budget established for routine tasks, preventative measures, and emergency repairs.


Student housing maintenance checklist

A checklist is a great way to keep track of what parts of your property need maintenance throughout the year. The checklist linked below is a template, meaning it won’t fit your unique student housing property perfectly.

Customize this checklist to fit your needs by including a section for the upcoming student housing turn and adjusting any other aspects of your property.


commercial building maintenance checklist cta


Reducing maintenance with technology

Any time there is an opportunity to reduce student housing maintenance, it should be taken. Fortunately, technology has advanced enough to help cut back on required maintenance for most properties.

The technologies that reduce student housing maintenance include:


Management software

Whether it’s building or property management software, these applications help streamline and automate the maintenance process. For example, maintenance software can accept and centralize maintenance requests. As a result, your maintenance staff won’t miss problems that arise, and you can easily track the progress of work orders in a single dashboard.

Furthermore, management software enables you to allocate and track resources as your team uses them. This helps identify resources you should resupply. What’s more, the software gives you another channel for communicating with residents. They can submit requests through a portal and even send messages. Your maintenance staff can even communicate with each other and residents directly if necessary.

With that said, these abilities reduce maintenance at your property by effectively addressing the problems that do arise. After all, if a work order were to slip through the cracks, the issue could escalate and require more resources. So, ensure your property is implementing the right software to collect and track maintenance requests, which will prevent problems from going unnoticed.


Data analytics

Data is one of the best ways to gain knowledgeable insights into how your property operates. While it may seem complicated, collecting your property’s data will help you predict future problems, make informed decisions, and identify patterns within building systems.

Collect data from your student housing property with the following technologies:

  • Use property management software (PMS) to collect resident feedback and centralize activity logs.
  • Install IoT devices like sensors to collect data from building systems, such as plumbing, electrical, and HVAC.
  • Install smart thermostats and lighting to gather data on energy usage and system performance.
  • Perform regular inspections and audits with clear documentation to better understand the state of your property.
  • Monitor your utilities with smart meters or detailed reports from utility companies.
  • Survey and collect feedback from residents regarding maintenance needs.
  • Review service reports and vendor logs to understand what types of maintenance are recurring and what resources you’re consuming.


Smart building technology

Implementing smart building technology can automate many aspects of your property, significantly reducing your maintenance workload. These devices, connected via the internet, are more efficient and require less maintenance than traditional solutions.

For example, a cloud-based access control system, such as ButterflyMX, reduces maintenance in many ways. Firstly, a cloud-based system receives updates remotely, so you won’t need a technician on-site. In fact, you’ll even receive new features after installation since the software is hosted in the cloud, enabling new functionalities. Secondly, access control systems manage who can access various areas of your property, preventing property damage and giving you peace of mind.

Of course, access control is only one example of how smart technologies reduce maintenance.

You should consider these smart technologies, too:

  • Security cameras
  • Leak detection sensors
  • Smart water meters
  • Smart thermostats
  • Automated lighting controls
  • Visitor management systems


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Bryson Hile

I love learning about new technologies, especially within the real estate market. I currently reside in Fishers, Indiana.

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