Regular property upkeep is part of a property manager’s job description. A proper manager should also know how to prepare their rental properties for each season. Winter brings extreme conditions in many parts of the country including low temperatures, snow, ice, and other hazards. Maintenance and upkeep on the following areas of a house or building will help ensure that renters live in a warm, safe home during the winter months and expensive, emergency repairs are avoided:
Property manager winter checklist
- Gutters: melting snow and ice needs to be cleared from the roof to prevent water collection and ice build-up in gutters when the temperature drops below freezing. To prepare for winter weather, gutters should be cleared at the end of fall to make sure that debris and leaves accumulated in the fall are gone.
- Roofing upkeep: roofs are vulnerable to the harsher elements of the winter season. Before the winter, a property’s roof should be carefully inspected for holes, tearing, leaks, or any other issues that make it vulnerable to the elements. A harsh snowstorm can greatly damage a weak roof and in extreme cases can cause partial collapse, leaking or ice dams.
- Furnaces: in the cold tenants will be using the property’s furnace to keep warm. Before winter, a property’s furnace should be carefully inspected for any needed repairs and general upkeep. The area around the furnace should also be cleaned and venting systems checked for any blockages, leaks, or repair needs. A well-maintained furnace not only works more efficiently, it also keeps tenants safe.
- Alarms: before winter arrives, check the property’s carbon monoxide and smoke alarms. In colder weather tenants stay indoors longer and more often and this leads to increased use of residential heating, candles, space heaters, electric blankets, and other heat sources. These activities bring a bigger risk of fire and carbon monoxide poisoning, making alarms all the more important.
- Pipes and plumbing: frozen pipes are a common issue in colder weather, particularly in older houses or buildings. Frozen pipes are one of the most common repairs property managers face during colder months. A proper inspection before winter can identify any needed repairs or additional insulation that a property’s plumbing system may need to be properly protected from the cold.
- Walkways and sidewalks: walkways can be very hazardous in the winter due to snow and ice. Proper cleanup, snow removal, and salting to prevent ice can keep walkways usable even in harsh conditions. Failure to keep walkways safe can result in tenant injury from a slip and fall accident.
- Trees: in the winter trees can collect snow that can cause them to fall or branches to break off. Falling branches and trees are dangerous; they can block pathways, knock over power lines, damage roofs and cause an expensive cleanup. Proper trimming and tree inspections before winter weather can remove weak branches and fell dead trees to prevent tree-related property damage and injuries.
- Keeping tenants informed: tenants should be informed of any actions they should take to keep themselves safe and receive a list of proper phone numbers in case of emergency. Remind tenants not to use ovens to warm their home.
Winter preparation is a matter of planning and being prepared. By being proactive, property owners can reduce the risk of unhappy tenants and expensive pipe bursts or fallen trees. A full-service property management company will assign a property manager who can handle winter checklists to prepare your property for the cold weather.
Son-Rise Property Management has been serving the property management needs of Bellingham and Whatcom County since 1996. Contact us today to see how we can help you find a rental property for your family or manage your rental properties.