Deferred maintenance is a term used in property management that refers to delaying necessary repairs and maintenance on a property. We typically see this when property owners and managers focus on short-term gains over long-term investments in the upkeep of their buildings.

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While it may seem like a cost-saving strategy to defer maintenance on a commercial property, it can have significant long-term consequences that are more expensive to address. Deferred maintenance can lead to a domino effect of problems that affects the integrity of the building, its functionality, and its value.

As an experienced chief engineer for a reputable property management company, I can confidently tell you that deferred maintenance is simply maintenance you are not doing.


Consequences of Deferred Maintenance

Some of the consequences of deferred maintenance include increased repair costs, reduced property value, decreased tenant satisfaction, and even health and safety hazards. 

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When maintenance issues are not addressed, they can escalate into bigger problems, such as water damage, mold growth, electrical problems, and structural issues. These problems can lead to expensive repairs and renovations that could be avoided with proper maintenance.

In addition to the financial costs, deferred maintenance can also have an impact on tenant satisfaction. Tenants expect a well-maintained building, and when maintenance issues are not addressed promptly, it can affect their comfort and productivity. It can also lead to dissatisfaction and ultimately result in the loss of tenants and revenue.

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Deferred maintenance can also pose health and safety risks for occupants of the building. For example, mold growth due to water damage can cause respiratory problems, and electrical problems can lead to fires. Failure to address these issues on time can lead to legal liabilities and reputation damage for the property owner or manager.


Deferred Maintenance Prevention

To prevent deferred maintenance from becoming a problem, property owners and managers need to adopt a proactive approach to maintenance. This includes developing a maintenance plan that outlines the regular maintenance tasks and inspections required to keep the building in good condition. You should also proactively allocate a budget for maintenance and repairs so that necessary work is completed on time.

Property managers can also use technology to their advantage to track maintenance requests, schedule inspections, and check building systems. This can help identify issues before they become major problems and enable quick intervention to prevent further damage.

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Deferred maintenance can have significant consequences for commercial property owners and managers. By prioritizing regular maintenance and repairs, property managers can ensure the longevity of the building, maintain tenant satisfaction, and avoid costly repairs down the line. 

In today’s competitive market, a well-maintained property can be a key differentiator in attracting and retaining tenants and maximizing the value of the asset.

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This is why it is important to hire a reputable and highly organized property management firm. When you are interviewing firms, it is imperative that you ask questions about maintenance schedules, repairs, response time, budgeting, and more. Hiring a responsible firm is the best way to avoid deferred maintenance for your property.

At AQUILA, we create a comprehensive strategy spanning five years to tackle upcoming maintenance requirements for the properties under our management. This approach helps property owners understand the life cycles of various building systems and enables us to allocate funds appropriately.

Ready to hire a firm to get the maintenance of your building back on track? Schedule a free consultation with a member of our property management team today.

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Mike Escobar | Assistant Chief Engineer | AQUILA Commercial

Mike Escobar

As AQUILA’s Assistant Director of Engineering, Mike teams with the Director of Engineering to guide the engineering team and keep each property running smoothly.

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