Posted by Mitchell Vinnitsky

Troubles For Your Multifamily Properties This Winter?

If you manage properties in an area that faces harsh winter conditions, it’s important to take proactive steps to prevent any potential damages. Whether it’s from storms, cold temperatures, ice buildup or indoor hazards, like candles, holiday lights and space heaters, there are plenty of things to plan for. If you haven’t started the winterization process, now’s the time to start. Here are a few critical items to add to your winter property management to-do list.

Service Heating Systems

It’s always cheaper to prevent a maintenance issue than it is to address one after the fact. This is especially true when it comes to heating systems. Step one of your property winterization process should be having all boilers, furnaces and HVAC systems inspected and serviced by a qualified professional. And remember – this is one of the busiest times of year for technicians, so the sooner you schedule your appointments, the better.

Clean the Gutters

A home’s gutters can easily become full and end up clogged due to an overabundance of summer debris and autumn leaves. If not addressed before the winter, this can result in rain and melting snow becoming trapped, which can lead to dangerous and damaging ice dams. Fortunately, you can avoid this as much as possible by hiring someone to clean out all that gutter clutter before the weather turns.

Prepare for Snow

If you don’t already have existing service contracts for snow removal, then you’ll want to get a jump on that as well. Ideally, you’ll be able to hire a company or contractor now and get your properties on their scheduled route, so that by the time those flakes start to fly, you’ll already know that your properties and their residents will be well taken care of.

Inspect Roofs

A good roof is supposed to last anywhere from 10-20 years. That doesn’t necessarily mean there won’t be small issues along the way. Something as simple as a loose shingle could result in leaks that could ultimately cause water damage to both your property as well as your tenants’ belongings. A thorough roof inspection can help identify problem areas so they can be corrected before they cause serious and costly issues.

Have a Plan for Ice

Icy walkways can lead to injury, which could spell legal trouble for you. Plan ahead by purchasing plenty of de-icing products, such as rock salt or calcium chloride. Then, establish a strategy for making sure all common areas are adequately treated to prevent slips and falls. If you are unable to handle this task yourself, make sure to designate someone else to do so.

Fill Cracks & Check Pipes

Frigid air, water, snow and ice can all seep into a property that isn’t properly insulated. This is especially dangerous for pipes, which have the potential to freeze and burst during bouts of extreme cold. Prevent this by inspecting your property thoroughly, filling any cracks or breaches, and ensuring that all areas where pipes are located are adequately insulated.

Practice Fire Safety

Winter tends to see an increase in house fires due to the use of things like space heaters and holiday lights. Now’s a great time to speak to your residents and remind them about the importance of being vigilant. They should never leave candles or Christmas trees lit, nor should they leave heaters running unattended. You should also use this time to inspect smoke and carbon monoxide detectors and ensure that any equipment, such as alarms, sprinkler systems and fire extinguishers, are in good working order.

There are many important steps a property manager can take to keep their properties safe and secure during the winter months. The tasks listed above should provide a good foundation. And remember – you can leverage technology to help make most of these tasks easier and more efficient. For instance, with property management software, you can automate preventative maintenance and provide an online portal where residents can quickly and easily report any potential issues early.

To see this powerful industry-specific technology in action and learn how it can be customized to your specific needs, book a free, interactive product demo today.

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