Winter Property Management
It’s that time of year again; the temperature is dropping; holiday décor is starting to go up and we are getting less and less sunlight every day. Yup, it’s the most wonderful time of the year…WINTER! For property managers and landlords, this season adds new responsibilities. Due to weather experienced during winter, property managers have some preparation to do.
Prepare the Property:
Part of preparing the property for winter is understanding the change in the tenant’s behaviors during the season. Tenants will most likely be staying indoors more often, using electrical appliances more and making use of the heating system. Be sure to check furnaces, AC units, portable heaters, boilers, fireplaces, fuel tanks, and ventilation. Ask the tenants to run any additional heating appliances by the property manager for approval.
As a property manager, you want to reduce the electricity bill. Check all windows and doors for drafts or cracks to prevent any heat loss. Change lightbulbs to energy saving ones
Stock up on essential winter items such as shovels, salt or ice melters if tenants are responsible for snow removal. If it’s a property management duty: make sure you have a contract with a sub-contractor before the next snowstorm hits. Or be ready to shovel as the snow falls to prevent it from freezing over.
Eliminate Fire Hazards:
Majority of domestic fires occur during the winter season due to families cooking more and the use of candles. A fire can be detrimental to a property manager and can cost big time!
· Check smoke and carbon monoxide alarms as well as fire extinguishers. If possible, put some penalty fees in the lease contract in case tenants deactivate alarms on purpose.
· Replace any faulty wires and appliances that can possibly start a fire.
· Provide safety tips for cooking – how to bake, roast, grill, etc. safely. This can be done with a simple handout info sheet in the mailbox.
Minimize Other Winter Risks:
· Remove any unstable old trees or branches from the property
· Secure and clean rainwater pipes and gutters
· Clean water collectors and yard drains
· Check roof for leakages
· Fight the formation of mold; install exhaust fans or clean old ones
· Place rules of the use of holiday decorations just in case they start a fire or electrical mishap. You don’t need to ban them, instead use battery powered lights.
Keep your Tenants Emergency Ready:
Winter property maintenance wouldn’t be complete without a few emergency warnings. Part of property maintenance is making it easy for tenants to keep things under control until you or a contractor can get there. Common winter risks are:
· Blown fuse – label the fuse box properly so tenants can easily locate it.
· Power outage – provide flashlights.
· If the rental property has a backup power generator, make sure tenants know how to use it.
These tips should help you keep your property and residents warm through the Winter. Remember an ounce of prevention is worth a pound of cure! We wish you a successful winter rental season!