Hearing the August cicadas lets us know that summer is coming to an end and winter is around the corner. To give you plenty of time to get your property prepared to dodge any mid-winter catastrophes, here’s a look at some things that you and your tenants can do.
Prepare Your Tenants
Don’t assume that a tenant knows what they’re supposed to do during the winter. They may be new to the area and unfamiliar with a colder climate, or first-time renters and unaware of all of the work that’s involved with keeping a property sound. Or they may simply assume that as the landlord, you will handle everything. Inform your tenants of their responsibilities, and make sure they know that they should contact you at the first sign of any winter problems such as leaks, water damage, pest infestations, or issues with faucets or pipes.
In addition to early preventative maintenance, there are also some proactive steps that tenants can take during the winter months, to help prevent problems from occurring:
- Before the cold weather hits, turn the furnace on and try running it on high for a few hours, to make sure it’s working. Better to learn early that there’s a problem rather than mid-winter when it’s harder to find a technician.
- Don’t turn the heat off! You may be tempted to switch the heat off mid-winter if you’re leaving town, but it’s important to leave the heat on low continually throughout the winter to prevent the pipes from freezing.
- Make sure you know where the water shut off valve is located. In case of emergency, turning this off will help to prevent a flood (and costly water damage).
- Likewise, consider turning the water off before leaving on a trip to ensure against pipe bursts while you’re away.
- While the home is empty or during very cold spells, leave the attic open a crack to allow slightly warm air to circulate around the pipes.
- During very cold spells, leave two taps running very slowly. The continual flow of water will help to prevent pipes from freezing completely.
- Be alert for signs of rodent or pest infestations. Winter is a prime time for these unwanted guests to make themselves at home. Set traps and inform the landlord at the first sign of a pest infestation.
If you’re short on time and looking for help with your rentals, consider outsourcing the job to Shoreview Property Management. Our property managers can oversee maintenance, winterization, and even mid-winter emergencies for you to make your life easier and save you time and headaches. The variety of services we offer can allow you to have a complete hands-off approach if desired, or choose from our a la carte services. We can do as little or as much as needed, from fielding late night calls from tenants regarding maintenance issues to making sure your contractor stays on budget and on time.