Feel that crispness in the air? Winter is coming, and if you’re a landlord or a property manager, you know what that means: time to batten down the hatches and make sure your rental properties are ready for the cold months ahead.
Fall maintenance is all about protecting your investment. These five simple fall maintenance tasks will ensure that your rental property will get through the winter unscathed. You and your tenants may even save some money on your utility bills this season!
Top 5 fall maintenance tips for rental property managers
- Check on the HVAC
It’s a good idea to have your central HVAC professionally cleaned and serviced at least once a year. Fall is a good time to have it done, so your furnace will be ready to go before winter arrives. Start the season with a clean furnace filter, and have a good stock of them handy so you can change them once a month. If your property has an outdoor air conditioning unit, it’s best to winterize it as well.
- Clean the Roof and Gutters
No part of your rental property will take a harder beating over the winter than the roof and gutters. Even in climates that don’t typically receive a lot of snowfall, sudden winter storms can drop snow and ice. If your gutters are clogged, that can lead to the formation of ice dams and water backup, potentially causing thousands of dollars in roof damage.
The best time to clean your gutters is late in the fall, after all the leaves have dropped. In addition to clearing the gutters, be sure to check for loose shingles, inspect the roof for moss and algae, and remove sticks, leaves and other debris from the roof surface.
- Tidy Up the Landscape
Depending on your property, getting the landscape ready for winter could be a quick and easy job, or it could be a chore that drags on for days on end. Some of these fall landscaping tasks are simply to keep your property looking its best, but others are for the safety of your property and its tenants:
- Trim overhanging branches near the building.
- Rake and bag up (or compost) the fallen leaves.
- Make sure sidewalks, steps, porches and walkways are clear.
- Winterize outdoor amenities (pools, outdoor grills, etc.)
- Clean up garden beds.
- Plant fall bulbs for spring annuals.
- Winterize Exterior Faucets
The last thing any property manager wants to have to deal with is a burst frozen pipe. It can happen anywhere during a severe cold snap, and one of the most important steps to avoid it is winterizing all your exterior faucets. Remove hoses and store them inside for the winter, and disconnect lawn sprinkler and irrigation systems. Remember to turn the water to exterior faucets off at the valve.
- Pest-Proof the Property
Fall is the time when critters are most eager to find their way into your property and set up shop for the winter. Mice, rats and squirrels are the most common culprits, but it’s not unheard of to find raccoons, bats, stray cats and other animals in attics, crawl spaces and chimneys. Before it gets too cold, inspect the property for gaps and openings that can let pests in, and seal them up with caulk or weather stripping.
As a landlord, a lot of your precious time can be taken up by maintenance chores if you’re trying to do it all on your own. One of the best ways to save time and make fall maintenance easier is to work with a professional property manager. Contact us today to learn more!