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What Do Apartment Maintenance Workers Do? A Varied and Skilled Career

Potential apartment tenants look for a lot of things in a new place, like location, central AC, and on-site laundry. Most don’t immediately concern themselves with one of the biggest quality concerns in an apartment. They don’t ask about the apartment maintenance workers.

Think back. Did you ask about them when you rented your last place? It’s just not top of mind until you run into a problem.

Did you ever even wonder what do apartment maintenance workers do? It turns out that apartment maintenance is a varied and skilled career. Keep reading to learn more about what maintenance workers do.

Basic Plumbing

Plumbing issues are one of the more common problems that any apartment dweller faces. Drains develop clogs, the toilet stops flushing, or you find a leaky faucet. A good apartment maintenance worker needs a working knowledge of plumbing to deal with these kinds of problems.

While a leaky faucet might just need a new seal, the maintenance worker may need to replace the whole thing. That means they need to know where to disconnect the water supply. They must also know how to disconnect and reconnect the pipes to avoid future leaks.

In some cases, they may even need to install garbage disposals, dishwashers, or washing machines.

Basic Electrical

Most towns and cities put fairly strict rules in place about who can do electrical work. Anything to do with wiring that connects with a fusebox or breaker box needs a licensed electrician. The same goes for any work that connects directly with the electrical grid, such as large solar panel systems.

However, maintenance workers can often do smaller electrical work. 

For example, maintenance workers can often replace a faulty outlet or install light switches. They can also install new light fixtures or ceiling fans. Essentially, they can do the same kinds of electrical work that a homeowner can legally perform.

Of course, even this basic work calls for understanding electrical safety essentials.

Appliance Repair

Appliance failure is another common problem in apartments. Stoves become inoperable or a dryer stops drying clothes. These kinds of problems can indicate a catastrophic failure that calls for a new appliance.

In many cases, though, the problem calls for a more basic repair. For example, a dryer may just need a new heating element. A faulty water heater may just need a thorough tank cleaning.

A good maintenance person can conduct these essential repairs by researching the problem. They find the most likely culprit and consult repair guides for the proper procedures.

Appliance repair often pairs up with a basic working knowledge of plumbing and electrical work.


Large apartment complexes often need significant groundskeeping. Maintenance people often take care of routine tasks like mowing and edging grassy areas. They may also end up with watering lawns and weeding flower beds.

If the complex maintains trees or shrubs on-site, basic pruning and trimming fall on maintenance workers.

The maintenance workers at a complex may also take responsibility for seasonal tasks. They might rake leaves in the autumn or do basic pool maintenance in the summer. During the winter months, workers will de-ice walkways or shovel snow as necessary.

Painting/Wall Repairs

Every apartment experiences some wear and tear with each new tenant. A carelessly opened door or hanging pictures can leave small or not so small holes in drywall. Maintenance workers must repair these holes before a new tenant can move into the apartment.

The hole repairs, typically done with joint compound, mar the paint on the walls. Some apartment complexes hire pro painters before each move-in. If not, maintenance workers will need to repaint the apartments.


Apartment complexes often include shared public spaces. Cleaning shared spaces like laundry rooms and fitness areas usually falls on maintenance workers.

That means maintenance workers will typically sweep, mop, or sanitize these areas. Sweeping and mopping are basic tasks. Sanitizing high-traffic areas like a laundry room, however, often calls for a working knowledge of chemicals.

Customer Relations

Maintenance workers must interact with tenants on a regular basis. The workers must schedule times for the maintenance and address any pets that might live in the apartment. They must also get a complete picture of the problem.

All of those demands mean that apartment maintenance workers need good people skills. 

Maintenance workers also need good people skills for working with any vendors. The same applies if the apartment complex employs outside contractors.

For example, the apartment might hire a lawn care service for mowing and edging lawns. The maintenance workers must communicate with the lawn care team to avoid getting in each other’s way for outside work.

Basic Computer and Time Management Skills

Many apartment complexes use a computer-based system for maintenance tracking. Tenants log their problem on the system. The maintenance worker then reviews the maintenance requests on a daily basis.

The worker needs basic computer skills to work with the system, schedule repairs, and log completed work.

The worker also needs good time management skills. They must understand how long common repairs take so they can schedule repairs realistically. Tenants will grow very unhappy if a repair doesn’t materialize on schedule.

If all of this sounds like a job path that would interest you, you can learn more about apartment maintenance careers here.

What Do Apartment Maintenance Workers Do? A Lot

The question of what do apartment maintenance workers do generates a more complicated answer than most people expect.

Apartment maintenance workers handle things as simple as oiling hinges or as complex as installing an appliance. They need skills ranging from customer service to electrical safety and groundskeeping. They may even need better than average painting skills to complete wall repairs.

They also need computer skills to manage repair tickets and log completed work.

Are you in the market for your first apartment maintenance worker? Check out our section on hiring employees for forms and advice on hiring a new employee.