There may not be any snow falling yet, but that doesn’t mean that it’s too early for winter property maintenance. Preventing property damage this time of year takes some thought and planning, so make sure that you know the most common issues during the season so you can plan for them ahead of time.
Taking Care of Winter Property Maintenance
Have any of the pipes in your building burst before? This is a fairly common winter issue that can come with a huge price tag. Depending on your insurance plan, you could be shelling out a lot to cover damages and more if a single pipe freezes and bursts, particularly if this happens in an occupied unit. “You’ll be facing replacing flooring, possibly sheet rock replacement, re-painting the room the incident occurred in, possible mold removal” and additional issues.
So, how do you avoid this possible cost and headache? It’s easy, thankfully, and just involves getting your pipes insulated before the temperature drops. You should also make sure that unused areas or units are heated occasionally enough to protect their pipes. Finally, send out information to renters about the best ways to keep things warm during the season to avoid property damage.
Of course, the pipes aren’t the only thing that should be on your mind in terms of winter property maintenance. Other factors to consider are renters smoking indoors to avoid the cold, the potential danger of space/portable heaters, and the importance of furnace inspections. If you are a no-smoking building, make sure to remind people of that. If they aren’t allowed to use space heaters for safety reasons, then remind them of that, too. Checking out the furnace is one of the most important pieces of maintenance, since changing the filters and making sure that things are running smoothly can cut back on your electricity bills this time of year by keeping your furnace from working too hard.
You shouldn’t go up on the roof to do any work, but you should hire a professional who can do that for you. Ideally, you’d have someone take a look at your roofing system before the wintertime, so try and find a qualified contractor who can do an inspection and any work before the snow starts to fall. “Any loose shingles or tiles must be replaced and the seal around vents, skylights and other protrusions should be checked and replaced if necessary.” Along with that list, make sure that the gutters are inspected and cleared out, if there is any autumnal debris clogging them. Remember that we’re entering ice dam season, so that’s something else to think about!
A collapsed roof can cause a lot of damage, but so can branches that snap under the weight of snow. To prevent this, you may need to have the trees cleared and looked at by an arborist to ensure that they don’t break or fall onto your property or, even worse, the people within. Having the trees trimmed and cleared of excess precipitation can keep this from happening, but this may be beyond your teams’ skill set, so hire an outside worker to make sure that the job gets done safely.
Speaking of the outdoors: if you have any spaces like patios, decks, etc. that are for public/general use, then you should bring their furniture and decorations back inside when the weather turns. You don’t want anything to be damaged by water as it snows, melts, and snows again!
Last, and certainly not least, is your plan for any emergencies. Winter property maintenance isn’t all about machinery and trees: it’s about the people. If you’ve never done it before, then consider writing up a guide for your renters in case there is any kind of weather-related (or other) emergency situation. If you have the budget, an even better step would be to provide small packs with water bottles and flashlights, for example, to each unit. This will not only help to reduce panic during any emergencies, but will also show those people that you’re invested in their care.
As a property manager, you have a lot to think about all throughout the year. Make things easier on yourself by introducing the kind of property management system that will help, rather than hinder. Budgetrac Property Management Software is so highly-rated and popular with managers because it is easy to use, yet flexible and robust. It can reduce repetitive tasks, minimize workarounds and quickly access information so that you can focus on increasing net income, thus increasing the value of your assets. What are you waiting for? Give Budgetrac a try today!