Happy holidays, welcome winter, and wow – is that a burst pipe in your rental property? During the winter months, rental property management can be anything but jolly. Cold temperatures, snow, and ice all have an impact on your properties and can lead to headaches in property management at this very busy time of the year.
What’s Up, Winter?
Oh, winter: depending on how you roll, you can be a big deal for a rental property. In the Seattle area, rain is more common than snow in the winter. However, when snow does come, it can damage trees and homes. Ice cracks walkways, leading to tripping hazards, and it can clog up gutters and cause other water damage problems. Increased quantities of winter rain can accumulate on the ground and then in it, leading to leaks from the roof down to the foundation. There can even be localized flooding. As a rental property owner, you need to be available at all hours of the day and night to deal with urgent problems.
Put this way, winter sounds like the least fun time of the year for property managers. How can you prevent this rush of winter woes?
Preventative Maintenance Is Key
Working on your rental property throughout the year allows you to be better prepared for the winter months when chaos can erupt due to the weather. What can you do to maintain your property and get ready for the winter?
- Work on the furnace and the boiler. No heat during the winter is not just a minor problem – it’s also a health hazard. Make sure that you take care of pre-winter checks and service during the early fall so that the furnace doesn’t fail in January.
- Check for drafts. Windows and doors can be drafty places. Replace cracked seals and caulking in the summer. Consider upgrading to higher-quality windows if you have single-pane windows. According to The Balance, “If your rental has older, single pane windows, you may consider wrapping them in plastic window wrap.” This is a less expensive alternative to changing windows.
- Look for nesting locations. Animals like places that are warm and dry, such as attics to enjoy as a home during the winter months. Prevent these unwanted tenants by patching up holes and cracks.
- Add insulation to pipes. This will prevent them from freezing during the winter. According to RentTec, “Water spigots that are outside should be insulated or turned off completely. Disconnect all hoses and store for the winter.” Remind your tenants not to turn off the heat completely, or pipes inside the house could freeze in a cold snap too.
- Clean out the gutter system. Gutters clogged with leaves could lead to leaks, puddles, and frozen ice that can result in more problems.
- Make sure that the fireplace is clean and clear for cozy winter fires.
- Look at the landscaping. Clear up or replace broken walkways, and manage damaged shrubs, trees, and structures before the snow comes.
Your pre-winter checklist can be large and overwhelming. Especially if you have multiple properties to manage. If you need assistance, consider talking with a property management company. A management company has the connections to make all of these tasks much smoother so that you don’t need to worry about winter.
At Lori Gill and Associates, we’re dedicated to helping you with your rental property management. Are you curious about the ways that a property management company could help you build your property business while managing what you already have? Cut out the seasonal headaches and commit to growth this year by working hand in hand with a management company. Contact us to learn more.