Winter brings with it snow, sleet, plummeting temperatures — and property maintenance to prevent all of these from becoming more than a slight nuisance. While these are all concerns for full-time homes, they’re also things that must be addressed if you have rental properties. Here’s everything you need to know about winter maintenance for turnkey properties in order to keep your assets safe and your tenants happy.
6 Tips for Winter Maintenance for Turnkey Properties
1. Perform Maintenance On the Heater/Furnace
Before the first cold snap of the year, you need to schedule a technician to go out and do an annual check of your heating system to make sure it’s good to go before it’s needed. Otherwise, you risk your tenants turning on the heat when the mercury drops, discovering that it doesn’t work, and you footing the bill for an emergency repair call. The technician will physically inspect the unit to make sure it’s in good working order and turn it on to make sure it’s working perfectly.
2. Check All Water Heaters
Water — especially in areas that have hard water — often contains minerals that can build up in hot water heaters. Over time, this can cause them to work inefficiently or even damage them. This is why they should be flushed every year or so and checked before the winter season to ensure that they don’t need to be repaired or replaced. Showering in ice cold water on a winter morning is no fun – and your tenants will appreciate having a great landlord who ensures that their hot water is always ready and plentiful.
3. Trim Shrubs and Trees
When a winter storm hits, trees and branches that have been on their last legs for months will freeze, break off, and fall on anything that’s unfortunate enough to be below. This includes the roof of your rental property, as well as tenants, guests, or passersby who may be walking underneath.
Before the cold begins to drift in, a key step in winter maintenance for turnkey properties is to hire a landscaping crew to tackle trimming back anything that’s dangling, unhealthy, or obstructing doorways and windows.
4. Repair/Replace Seals on Doors and Windows
Damaged seals and old windows can create drafts, making your tenants uncomfortable and raising heating costs in the winter. Check out the weather stripping on all of your doors and windows. It’s a quick and easy process to replace damaged or missing pieces and it will make the dwelling infinitely warmer. If you don’t have door sweeps at the bottom of all exterior doors, install them to prevent drafts from entering that way.
Also consider replacing old or damaged windows that simply can’t do the job of insulating the home anymore. Newer double-paned windows may require an initial investment, but they’re worth the long-term savings.
5. Clear Out Clogged Gutters
Gutters don’t just direct rainwater away from a home; they also allow melting snow to drain properly. Clean out all gutters before the winter to get ready for the deluge of snow and ice. This will help you prevent roof leaks (as the water has to go somewhere). It will also help keep ice from accumulating on the roof, which is something you definitely want to avoid because the added weight of large amounts of ice could damage the roof or even cause it to collapse.
6. Make a Plan for Pipe-Wrapping and Snow Removal
Especially if you own rental properties in other cities, make sure you establish a relationship with someone who can do winter storm prep and ice/snow removal once a storm hits. This includes wrapping all uninsulated pipes, detaching garden hoses, and covering outdoor spigots. They’ll also need to have a ready supply of salt on hand to lay down should things get icy.
Winter maintenance for turnkey properties doesn’t need to be difficult or stressful. With a bit of help from a property management company to ensure that everything gets scheduled and accomplished ahead of time, you’ll get points for being an excellent landlord and avoid unnecessary damage down the road.