Rental Property Roof Maintenance Tips for Landlords in Massachusetts 

Rental Property Roof Maintenance Tips for Landlords in Massachusetts

Constant roof repairs drain your time, energy and the finances of your rental property. If roof problems are not handled well, they can impair the quality of a rental and make it less attractive to high-paying tenants. Ultimately, those issues can force you to replace your roof before you are ready, costing you a ton of money.

The roof of a building is one of its most important structures. It not only improves the aesthetics of the property, but it is also what makes the home a shelter. Roofs provide a protective canopy to shield the structures of a building and its contents from the direct impact of the elements. That is why J. Butler Management Team advises that keeping your rental property’s roof in good condition is essential.

However, as a busy landlord keen on maximizing profits, you may sometimes be tempted to postpone roof maintenance or try to find cheaper ways around it. Other times, you just don’t know where to start. Here, we will explain the key things you need to do to keep your roof in good shape and why you should do them.

Rental property roof maintenance for landlords

1.     The number one step

The most significant step for keeping the rental’s roof in good condition is to have the roof inspected at least once a year. To be effective, do this inspection using a professional roof inspection checklist. Using a checklist ensures that:

  • The check-up is comprehensive; no aspect of the roof is overlooked, and
  • Methodical; the inspection follows a logical sequence (it is not haphazardly done)

It is also a good idea to have a qualified roof technician do this inspection. A roofing expert will have the following abilities that you, as the landlord, may not possess:


  • A standardized procedure for inspecting each item on the checklist. They know where problems are most likely to happen and what signs they are looking for.
  • They will spot things that a non-expert may miss or misinterpret. Missing early warning signs of trouble is one reason why roof repairs are often very costly.

But apart from having your roof inspected annually, what can you do to minimize the risk of roof damage or even prevent it?

2.     Clean gutters and downspouts

The roof itself may be fine, but if the gutters are filled with debris, it will eventually affect the function and condition of your roof. Dirty gutters encourage rodents and birds to make their home on the roof. It also increases the risk of ice dams which can cause water to penetrate the interior structures of your roof. Ensure gutters are not rusty and they have the proper slope. Check that downspouts are discharging water in the right place.

3.     Remove moss and algae

Moss may look pretty on your roof, but letting it grow can cause you problems. The roots of moss trap water, and that water provides the right environment for biological and chemical agents that damage your roof. Algae will weaken the roof by extracting the mineral components of the roof shingles. Giving the roof a pressure wash will not only help you get rid of moss and algae but will also give your roof a refreshing look.

4.     Remove nearby tree branches

Any tree branch that can touch your roof can also damage it. Those branches can knock against the roof during heavy storms. If a strong wind breaks off that branch, it is also likely to fall on the roof and damage it or even the home. Furthermore, nearby tree branches shed their leaves on the roof and serve as runways for rodents. Trimming those branches will protect your rental’s roof from damage.

5.     Look for damaged or missing shingles


Roof shingles get damaged or missing for several reasons. Heavy winds may blow them away, and rain storms can damage them. Missing or damaged shingles are a huge problem, but you may not notice them unless you make a point of checking the roof. Every three months, you want to get up close to the roof – with a ladder; no need to climb on the roof – and inspect the shingles for signs of trouble.

6.     Check roof flashing

Flashing is found in those parts of the roof where leaks are likely to happen. You see them in places where the roof meets the wall, roof seams and around roof vents, chimneys, sunroofs and similar structures. Loose and missing flashing will let water penetrate directly into your rental’s roof. They can also serve as entry points for pests to invade the roof.

Finally, there are two ways to maintain the roof of a rental property. You can practice:

  • Corrective roof maintenance, or
  • Preventive roof maintenance

Corrective maintenance means you wait for problems to happen before you take action. That is expensive and not recommended. The preventive tips explained above will help you avoid roof damage, minimize roof repair costs and prolong the life of your rental’s roof