Old man winter is fast approaching and it’s time to make sure that your rental property is ready for winter and the onslaught of damage that he can cause. Exposed pipes, sprinkler systems, sidewalks, driveways, stairs, trees that are overhanging the property; those are just a few of the considerations for the exterior of the property.
There are several different considerations for the interior of the rental. Seals around the doors and windows, chimney’s and HVAC systems need attention to maximize efficiency.
Safety is also a concern for the Real Estate investor during the winter months. Smoke detectors, the use of space heaters, along with how to ensure that snow and ice are appropriately removed and mitigated is essential. It’s particularly crucial for renters moving from a warmer climate that don’t understand what the white fluffy stuff is that’s sticking on the ground.
Regardless of if the property is occupied or vacant, preventive measures will ensure that the property is not only safe but defeats what Old Man Winter can throw at your investment. Communicating is key to ensuring that your tenant understands what they are responsible for and how to prevent damage to components of the property that may inconvenience them due to repairs that could have been prevented.
Here are ten things to communicate to tenants and to ensure vacant properties remain in good repair during the winter months.
1. Leave the Heat on
Conduct periodic inspections of vacant properties throughout the winter. Ensure that your tenant understands that the temperature needs to be set at a minimum of 55 degrees if the property is vacant for any length of time, like when they go on vacation for the holidays.
2. Inspect Your HVAC Systems
Inspect heating and air-conditioning units to make sure they are running efficiently.
3. Watch Your Pipes
Ensure that tenants know not to leave garden hose’s connected to outdoor faucets during freezing temperatures. Have sprinkler systems blown out and winterize pipes and plumbing that may be exposed in outdoor structures like garden sheds.
4. Look for Cracks
It’s essential to inspect the edges of doors and windows and the exterior walls of your properties for gaps or cracks through which heat loss can occur. Replace caulking or sealant as needed.
5. Inspect the Roof
Ensure that there’s no existing damage to the roof or clogged drainage gutters. A qualified roofing contractor can do an inspection and make repairs that will save money in the long run.
6. Prepare for Snow and Ice Removal
If you have contracted snow and ice removal, confirm that your contract is current and valid.
7. Prevent Falling Branches
Check for any trees or branches that might collapse during heavy snow. It’s better to have them removed before they cause damage to the building or injure someone.
8. Clean Your Chimneys
Hire a professional chimney sweep to clean any fireplaces and inspect for damage and obstruction. A chimney fire is the last thing anyone needs.
9. Test Alarms and Detectors
10. Check Vacant Properties
Conduct periodic inspections of vacant properties throughout the winter.
The professionals at Blue Mountain Real Estate & Property Management are your rental property winterization experts. We can take care of these and other crucial seasonal maintenance tasks for you while you are free to enjoy the best of the season.