One of the worst things about winter is that property damage often occurs during the cold season. Snow, ice and low temperatures can be harmful to your property, especially if you are not prepared. Property management can be even more concerning if you have multiple properties to protect from the wrath of winter.
However, if you are proactive and follow these simple preparation steps you can save yourself some stress and damage this winter season.
Problem: Bursting Pipes – Just one severe freeze can do permanent damage to your property’s pipes. When pipes burst it can lead to much more than just pipe repairs and replacements. Bursting pipes most often lead to flooding and moisture, therefore can cause damage to flooring, paint and infest your property with mould. These issues can be very expensive to repair.
Solution: Insulate & Inform – By taking appropriate precautions and preventive maintenance, you can ensure that you are not faced with colder drafts or a high heating bill, First, make sure your pipes are insulated. Secondly, always keep the heat on in unoccupied units. Finally, inform your tenants about necessary measures to take when temperatures reach their lowest points. Some of these preventative measures include:
· Opening cabinet doors to ensure heat reaches the pipes
· Leaving faucets dripping overnight to avoid freezing water.
Problem: Space Heaters – Many tenants like to use space heaters, especially if they do not have direct access to the temperature controls in their unit. Space heaters can warm up a living space and make it feel cozy. The problem is that space heaters (especially when left unattended) can be a fire hazard.
Solution: Have Policies in Place – Before the winter strikes, make sure that tenants are aware of your policies surrounding space heaters. Policies and contracts are a formal tool in property management to make sure that tenants and property managers come to an agreement.
If you are restricting space heaters, outline the penalties if tenants choose to use them anyways. If you do allow space heaters, make sure you outline the guidelines and stipulations associated with using one. Furthermore, make sure your tenants understand the rules surrounding other fire hazards such as burning unattended candles in their units.
Problem: Roof Damage – Heavy amounts of snow and ice can cause roof damage making it a very expensive winter expense.
Solution: Preparation – Have your roof inspected every year before the winter to make sure all loose shingles and tiles are replaced. It’s imperative to keep your roof leak-resistant and waterproof for the upcoming winter months. Likewise, be sure to keep gutters clean so water can effectively run off the roof as snow melts.
While snow covers cities like a winter blanket, it can cause hassles and inconvenience for day-to-day operations. The best policy to prevent winter property damage is to take preventive action for all buildings and surrounding area. Ensure condos, buildings, and residential homes are properly inspected and winterized for the colder season. Don’t forget to remind tenants of emergency plans and evaluations in the event of a severe winter storm or fire.