It’s getting colder outside, its starting to get dark sooner and your air conditioner doesn’t kick on, are signs that good old winter is coming! We may not like it but as a landlord, we must protect our assets so they will remain profitable assets for years to come. Our guidelines will help you perform the needed maintenance to protect your rental properties from the cold, wet, wind and ice of the season. Completing these tasks will save you time and money from costly damage during the winter months.
Inspect roof and clean out gutters
Stop leaks at the source by checking your roof for broken shingles or holes. Replace problem areas and seal with watertight caulk. While you’re up there, scoop out leaves and debris from the gutters. Checkout how to perform this work properly and safely by going “HERE”
Winterize exterior faucets and sprinkler systems
Insulate outdoor faucets with foam or towels held tight with a bungee cord. Drain water from irrigation or sprinkler systems and garden hoses to prevent freezing and cracking.
Check snow and ice removal tools
Make sure you have the necessary supplies to keep your properties safe, including salt for making sidewalks and paths walkable and a snowblower or shovel for clearing driveways.
Secure snow-removal services
Sometimes a shovel isn’t enough: If you live in an area that generally gets a lot of snow, line up a plow service. Look for a service that lets you pay as you go in case you don’t get the expected snowfall.
Fertilize grass and mulch beds
Mow and de-thatch your lawn with a rake, aerate and fertilize. Apply fertilizer to beds as well, and then spread mulch. Water well to get the fertilizer into the soil to do its work. This is a good time to plant spring bulbs, like tulips and hyacinths, for added appeal,
Trim flowers, plants and trees
Cut back dead flowers and seed heads, and prune bushes and plants. Be on the lookout for trees that need trimming. Remove dead branches, and take out unstable trees.
Check the water drainage in your yard
Check outside areas for disconnected drain spouts and landscaping that slopes toward your foundation. Add sand or gravel to improve draining in low areas.
Check window and door seals
Check for drafts and air leaks to prevent heat escaping and cold air coming in. Caulk over trouble areas or call in a professional to replace a window or two if they are beyond repair.
Make sure the furnace is working (and replace filters)
Replace furnace filters, and check the connection between the furnace and the thermostat.
Clean out air ducts
Hire an HVAC professional to use negative pressure to clean out your ducts at least once a year.
Have your fireplace and chimney checked
If your properties have fireplaces, check for buildup and make sure the damper and flue are functioning properly. If needed, call a professional chimney sweep to come and clear soot and creosote to avoid accidental fires.
Replace batteries in smoke and carbon monoxide detectors
Make sure your smoke and carbon monoxide detectors are in tip-top shape by replacing the batteries every six months and testing them monthly.
Check your dryer to prevent fire
If you provide washers and dryers for your tenants, now’s a good time to clear lint. Check the dryer’s lint trap and ductwork, and clean out any built-up lint or debris.
Wrap pipes to prevent freezing
If you have pipes in chilly basements, exposed crawlspaces or accessible attics, insulate them with foam covers or towels.
Add insulation to the attic and basement
Add extra insulation to your attic ceiling and basement walls. You can use traditional insulation or spray-foam that acts as an instant barrier against freezing temperatures.
As a landlord, you must be diligent in the maintenance of your properties because the rental units that you own represents a portion of your financial future. Its all about cashflow and the less repair work that you’ll have to do on your properties, the greater your returns. We’re not advocating that repair work is avoidable but unnecessary ones are, if you do a good job with your maintenance work.