Cyber Monday: Try the Rent Guarantee and get the 1st MONTH FREE! *Offer ends December 15. Book a call to claim offer or use code CYBER2023

Rental Property Maintenance Costs: How Much Should I Budget?

Key Takeaways

  • What’s the magic number to save for your rental property maintenance costs? You can budget for your total costs to equal 1% of your property's market value, or allocate $1 per square foot of your rental. The actual sum is the one that makes sense for your property and your goals.
  • Ensure that your maintenance budget accounts for replacing entire items like an HVAC system, appliances, roof, doors, and sewer line, as the cost of doing so is steeper than routine and predictable repairs.
  • Keep maintenance costs low by knowing when to make a repair yourself and when to hire a professional, conducting routine inspections, and planning ahead for expensive maintenance projects.

Published on Jan 28, 2024 | Updated on Jan 31, 2024

A close-up of a hand holding up a calculator and fluctuating bar graph with one bar highlighted in blue

Get through your rental applications faster

Never miss a rent payment

Stress-free guaranteed renting


Creating a realistic maintenance budget for your rental property can make or break your rental business. When deciding how much to commit, balance quality and cost. Your rental should be safe and comfortable for your residents, but also affordable for you to maintain.

Read along for guidelines to help determine your rental property maintenance costs and expert tips for keeping your maintenance expenses low.

Budgeting guidelines for your rental maintenance costs

There’s no denying that conducting regular maintenance is a critical part of your rental business. Without proper upkeep, your property will quickly fall into disrepair, leading to costly repairs and driving away tenants.

But how much money should you set aside for maintenance expenses? The truth is there are no hard-and-fast rules for figuring out the optimal amount. However, there are several guidelines you can use to estimate your expected costs.  

Rules of thumb for rental maintenance budgeting

In addition to the above formulas, there are several others that property managers use to account for maintenance costs:

The Rental Property Age Rule

According to SingleKey’s resident landlord, MacKenzie Wilson, a rental property’s age heavily influences its maintenance requirements. He recommends allocating a percentage of your monthly rent fee as follows to your maintenance budget:

  • 2% of your monthly rent for a brand new property (under five years)
  • 4-5% of your monthly rent for a 5- to 10-year-old property
  • 8% of your monthly rent for older properties (over ten years) 

While these guidelines are handy, remember they’re only rough estimates and should be used as a starting point.

Mac's Pro Tip

A realistic maintenance budget should reflect your rental’s needs. That means you’ll need to understand your property inside and out, from its age, condition, and the materials used in its construction. The best way to accomplish this is by doing routine inspections.

Budgeting for larger rental maintenance expenses  

Do you live in an area that experiences bitterly cold winters or scorching summers? If so, you’ll need to factor into your budget maintenance costs that come with preparing your rental for drastic swings in temperature and weather conditions. 

Also account for bigger, one-time maintenance costs that could dip into your rental reserve fund. Start saving in advance by using this chart for some of these bigger ticket maintenance items. 


Average cost

Average lifespan (years)

HVAC air compressor



Electric stove


20–25 (asphalt shingle)

Exterior door

20 (vinyl), 40 (screen)

How to keep rental property maintenance costs down

Here are some tips for keeping your rental in great shape without hurting your wallet.

Know when to DIY and when to hire a professional

Make an honest assessment of your skills, knowledge, and comfort level concerning property maintenance. What tasks can you perform well? And, just as critical, can you get the work done in a reasonable time frame without spending a small fortune?

In some cases, letting professional technicians handle things is much more financially savvy. Even if you have plenty of free time to do repairs, you risk causing significant damage if you lack the proper expertise. 

Learn more about how to decide whether to DIY or hire a pro for any repair work.

Plan ahead for seasonal maintenance expenses

While some maintenance tasks are predictable and performed frequently, others only need attention once or twice yearly. A notable example is landscaping.

Given the irregularity of seasonal tasks, budgeting is trickier. Start planning early for the upcoming work to avoid getting caught off guard financially. Increase your budget as necessary to accommodate the extra outlays and start saving up the required funds.

Conduct regular inspections to catch issues early

Minor damage, such as worn-out electrical wiring or a malfunctioning appliance, can lead to costly repairs if left unattended. If the problem grows severe enough, fixing your property can take months, which may lead to lost rent if it’s unsuitable for occupancy.

Avoid maintenance-related financial disasters by detecting issues early through routine rental inspections. The sooner you can spot trouble, the sooner you can act to fix it.

Take advantage of government rebates and tax breaks

Governments at all levels (local, state, and federal) may offer various rebates and tax breaks related to your industry. If available, consider applying for them to reap some extra savings on your property’s repairs and maintenance.

The most notable examples of financial relief are those that encourage the use of eco-friendly building materials and items like appliances.

For example, in Canada, you can apply for the Canada Greener Homes Loan, which provides grants and interest-free loans to homeowners to make their spaces more energy efficient. Similarly, in the U.S., you can access home efficiency rebates and home electrification and appliance rebates, which are available if you retrofit your rental with energy-saving items. 

Our final thoughts

Creating a budget is essential to avoid overspending or underspending on your rental’s maintenance. While estimating your expenses at first can be challenging, you’ll get a better feel for how much to spend with time and experience.

Choose a budgeting method that’s realistic for your property type based on the guidelines discussed in this article. Keep your maintenance costs low by outsourcing the work to professionals as needed and sticking with durable materials. And, as always, plan ahead of time for large-scale maintenance projects so that you have sufficient cash on hand to pay for them.

While guidelines for calculating maintenance costs are helpful, inspecting your property is the most accurate way to determine your budget. Check out our guide for helpful tips on conducting an effective rental inspection.

Learn more about Maintenance

Learn more about Maintenance

Library Books IconYou Are Reading
4. Rental Property Maintenance Costs: How Much Should I Budget?
Library Books IconOther Blog Posts In This Series
  1. How to Manage Rental Property Maintenance Issues
  2. How to Conduct a Rental Inspection (Checklist Included)
  3. The Ultimate Preventative Property Maintenance Checklist
  4. Rental Property Maintenance Costs: How Much Should I Budget?
  5. Property Management Maintenance: 5 Tips to Keep Costs Down
  6. Rental Repairs: DIY or Hire a Pro?
  7. How to Winterize a House: Working With Your Tenants
  8. Who Should Supply Maintenance Equipment: Tenants or Landlords?
  9. Are Landlords or Tenants Responsible for Maintenance Tasks?
  10. Does the Quality of Rental Maintenance Increase When Rent Prices Rise?
  11. How Fast Should a Landlord Act to Fix Mold Issues?
  12. Is Rent Withholding Legal If Landlords Don’t Make Repairs?
  13. How to Find a Drywall Contractor for Your Rental Property
  14. How Landlords Can Choose a Roofing Contractor
  15. Hiring a Landscaper for Your Rental Property
  16. Rental Repairs and Maintenance: What is a Landlord Responsible For?
  17. Finding an Electrician for Your Rental
  18. How to Manage the Rental Property Lawn
  19. How Landlords Can Interview Furnace Repair Companies
  20. How Landlords Can Hire an Affordable Plumber for Their Rental Property
  21. Hiring a Repair Person for Your Driveway and Sidewalk Needs
  22. Hiring an HVAC Contractor and Keeping Up With Maintenance
  23. Spotting Foundation Issues in Your Rental Property
  24. Finding a Pool Service for Your Investment Property
  25. Finding a Painter for Your Rental Property

Table of contents


Daily poll

Table of contents