As the festive period approaches, the days continue to shorten and the mercury plunges, one of every landlord’s main adversaries sets to take its toll on many unprepared rental properties. Winter.
Since extreme winter conditions can heavily impact rental properties, it is vital that as a landlord, you winter-proof your property now to spend less time and money on plumbing, roofing and any other repairs that come as a consequences of the season.
1. Turn the Heat on
Remind your tenants to maintain a minimum temperature of 12 degrees Celsius should they go on holiday or any other duty away from the property.. This will prevent the pipes from freezing and bursting due to the cold temperatures.
2. Inspect Your Heating & Air-Conditioning Systems
Examine the heating and air-conditioning systems in your units to make sure they are running efficiently. Arrange for the filters to be replaced if necessary.
3. Watch Your Pipes
Completely drain out the outdoor pipes and sprinkler/fountain systems to ensure they don’t freeze in sub-zero temperatures. As an added precaution, winterise exterior plumbing and pipes in unheated parts of the property or common areas such as clubhouses by covering them with inexpensive foam pipe insulation.
4. Look for Cracks
It’s important 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. Prepare for Snow and Ice Removal
If you have contracted snow and ice removal to a vendor, confirm that your contract is current and valid. Now is also the time to call and shop around for rates if you were unsatisfied with their performance last year.
6. Inspect the Roof
Check the roof and chimney for broken or cracked shingles that can come loose during a storm. Since blocked gutters can cause snow dams and ceiling leaks on warmer days, make sure that the gutters and downspouts are completely clear and free of dirt and debris. You can also hire a qualified roofing contractor to perform a complete check of the roofing and do necessary repairs.
7. Clean Your Chimneys
If your property has any wood-burning fireplaces, hire a professional chimney sweep to clean them and inspect them for any sign of damage or obstruction.
8. Prevent Falling Branches
Check for any weak tree branches (or trees!) that can fall due to high winds or snow accumulation and cause property damage, or worse, injure your tenants.
9. Test Alarms and Detectors
If maintenance of the smoke alarms and carbon monoxide detectors in the property is your responsibility as per the lease agreement, now would be a good time to test the devices and replace the batteries.
10. Check Vacant Properties
Conduct periodic inspections of vacant properties throughout the winter. If you are responsible for taking care of a vacation home that will be empty for the season, you may want to completely turn off the water supply, drain the pipes and toilets, and put non-toxic antifreeze in the toilet bowls.
If you’re in need of any advice or are looking to embrace a warming property management service this winter, Abode can take good care of your property, tenants and profits during the festive season and beyond.