Before the winter weather becomes "oh so frightful" (and the fire so delightful), it's a great time for landlords to look at their current preparedness for the winter weather that is headed their way in a matter of a few short weeks. Before the first significant snowfalls fall, it's a great time to stop and ensure that the rental properties you have are ready to keep the tenants residing inside safe, warm, and healthy throughout the frigid months ahead.
The following are 10 steps that you can take to make sure that your rentals are winter-ready before the significant snowfalls and cold temperatures of winter actually hit the greater New England Area.
Get the Fall Maintenance Wrapped Up
If it's not already finishing the fall maintenance items you were doing to your rental properties is the first step to take. This includes raking up all those lingering leaves (before they become a wet, soggy, and soon frozen mess), inspect HVAC systems, close outside faucets (before they freeze), stow away the patio furniture, and finish up anything else that was lingering and left undone from your fall to-do list.
Check in with Each Tenant
Ask if there is anything that they feel needs redone in their rental before the cold weather hits such as caulking around windows or checking the drafts at the home's entrances or exits. Tenants can update you on anything you may miss as they live there each day and would tend to notice it in their day-to-day lives.
Check Doors & Windows
Check all of the doors and windows to make sure that nothing needs caulked or sealed before the coldest weather hits. Issues like this can leave your tenants' teeth chattering come January if extra drafts are blowing in through areas that are left unsealed. It can also cause their electric utility to skyrocket, which they likely will not be too happy about!
Ensure Rentals Have Enough Heating Fuel
Check to make sure each rental property you have has enough heating fuel to get them through the winter months. Check your rental agreements and realize that in many cases, you may be responsible for providing them with the fuel to get through the winter. Nothing will leave a client unhappier than being left without hot water or heat for their home when it's 20 degrees outside.
Keep Fire Extinguishers Close By
Always be sure that each unit has an appropriate and working fire extinguisher to ensure tenant safety. Moreover, if you have a fireplace or any other entities that use fire be sure to have an appropriate fire extinguisher to use around those items in case the fire were to get out of hand and cause a safety concern.
Check the Fire Alarms
While we are on the topic of winter fire safety, checking the batteries and the working order of your fire alarms will also help ensure that residents are safe in the rare case a fire should break out during the year's coldest months.
Check for Structural Issues
If any units you are renting out happens to have major structural issues, then be sure to get those fixed before the coldest months of the winter hit. The last thing your tenant wants to deal with is a major structural issue at 5:00 am in the morning when it's -15 degrees outside.
Plant Spring Blooms
Any bulbs that you want to see bloom come spring can be planted now. They will have time to take root and pop through to beautify the property come the spring months.
Call Up Your Contractors
If you are responsible for several or a large amount of rental units or homes, call the contractors that provide your properties services. Make sure that you are up-to-date on all payments and that contracts are in good standing through the end of the cold season. If not, get them all up-to-date immediately to make sure that you will have all the services your tenants will need provided for them through the coldest months.
Review Your Insurance Policies
Calling up your insurance company and review your policies. Make sure that all of your policies are up-to-date and that you have enough insurance to cover a major structural issue if it were to occur to one or more of your rental properties throughout the coldest months.
These are just a few of the things that should be on the landlord's to-do list before the coldest months of the year hit and the snows begin to fall. If tenants request anything else, looking into that will also keep them satisfied, happy, and possibly warm during the year's upcoming and coldest months.
For more information on keeping ahead of the winter maintenance that your rental properties will require please feel free to contact us.