thermostat | winter maintenance for rental properties

A Checklist For Winter Maintenance for Rental Properties

Although wintertime brings great joy to most people, for landlords, it means going through extra work to ensure their properties stay in tiptop shape. To make sure you don’t miss any critical issues, prepare a checklist for winter maintenance for rental properties.


A Guide to Winter Maintenance for Rental Properties

As a landlord, it is part of your job to perform routine maintenance work on your rental property. Regular maintenance guarantees livable conditions for your tenant — something that you are required by law to provide. Apart from that, though, excellent maintenance can also help improve your resident retention rate. After all, tenants are more likely to pack up and move out of a poorly-maintained space.

Maintenance work can change depending on the season, though. For instance, if you live in an area with mild to harsh winters, winter property maintenance should be a priority.

Determining what you must do to prepare your property for winter can come as a challenge. Leaving out just one important item can result in a storm of problems. Here is a winter rental property maintenance checklist to help you out.


1. Assess Your HVAC Systems

To get rental properties ready for winter, start with your HVAC systems. Make sure to examine all heating, ventilation, and airconditioning units to see if they are working properly.

Have a contractor service your HVAC systems before the start of the cold season. See if any filters need replacing. Wintertime can be rough, so heating is an absolute must. Tenants can even file complaints and take you to litigation if you fail to provide proper heating.


2. Ensure Alarms and Detectors Are Working

smoke alarm | prepare your property for winterSmoke alarms and carbon monoxide detectors help keep your tenants safe. Your lease agreement should cover which party is responsible for maintaining these items.

If it falls on you, then make sure to check all alarms and detectors are working as intended just as winter begins. Replace the batteries and, if some are not working, call a repairman to fix them for you.


3. Clean Your Chimneys

Fireplaces add a certain appeal to a property, especially if it is located in an area with a colder climate. While they can up the value of your property, fireplaces can also be tough to maintain.

One of the most underrated winter maintenance tips you should follow is to clean your chimneys. Over time, wood-burning fireplaces can become clogged or damaged. Have a professional inspect and clean your chimney before winter begins. This way, your tenant can use it without worry.


4. Drain Your Pipes

Frozen pipes are among the biggest winter problems landlords face. As such, draining your pipes is an essential part of winter maintenance for rental properties.

Outdoor pipes, sprinklers, and fountain systems are at risk of freezing, especially in below-zero temperatures. To prevent this from happening, make sure to drain them prior to the start of the winter season.

Winterizing rental property units also involves preparing exterior plumbing and pipes for the cold. You can do this by wrapping foam pipe insulation around the pipes to ensure they don’t freeze. Foam pipe insulation is relatively inexpensive, so this extra precaution won’t cost you too much money.


5. Inspect for Cracks and Openings

In the process of winterproofing rental properties, you must also check the property for any cracks, crevices, or openings. These openings will allow the cold to enter your property. When that happens, tenants tend to turn the heat up to make up for it. This will lead to a higher heating bill.

Apart from that, cracks and openings can also let unwanted critters into the property. Like your tenants, these critters seek warmth during the winter season and may crawl into your unit to escape from the cold.

Openings can also come in the form of gaps under doors, garages, and between windows. Make sure to seal these cracks, gaps, and openings as best you can prior to the wintertime.


6. Ensure Proper Insulation

insulation | prepare your property for winterInsulation keeps the cold out and the heat in. With that in mind, you must make sure your rental property is properly insulated before winter comes knocking.

This includes insulating basements, attics, and any crawl spaces. Heat retention is critical during the cold season, and an uninsulated property can significantly drive up heating bills.

7. Trim the Trees

While it may not seem like the best idea to focus on landscaping at a time like this, you must consider what role trees play during winter. Snow can accumulate on top of branches, weighing them down until the limbs give in and snap. This is why so many tree branches fall during snowstorms.

Falling branches pose a risk to the safety of your tenants and the property itself. These branches can deal significant damage to the exterior of your property, your neighbor’s property, and any parked cars in the area.

As part of your winter maintenance checklist, it is essential to check if any branches might fall on your property. Rotting trees have branches that are more inclined to break. Have a professional inspect and trim the trees around your property. In the case of rotting, they may even suggest taking down the entire tree.


8. Don’t Forget the Roof

Inspect the roof for any loose or broken shingles. It is also imperative to examine the gutters and get rid of any clogs. All sorts of debris can block your gutters and cause problems for your drainage.

When melting snow fails to drain properly, it could lead to roof and water leaks. Sub-zero temperatures can cause water to freeze and accumulate. This weight will eventually cause your roof to collapse, resulting in plenty of damages and potentially harming your tenant.


9. Get Ready for Snow Removal

Although a lot of people associate snowfall with romance, landlords tend to disagree. Snow removal is one of the items that should be on your checklist for winter maintenance for rental properties, especially if you live in an area with heavy snowfall.

Prior to the start of the season, look for a snow and ice removal service that fits your budget and needs. If you already have one, make sure to call your contractor and confirm your arrangement.


10. Keep the Heat On

It is integral to remind your tenants to keep the heat on at all times, even when they are not around. Maintain a minimum of 55 degrees Fahrenheit. Doing this will ensure pipes don’t freeze and burst. Additionally, if your tenant intends to go on vacation, make sure to completely turn off the water supply. It is also worth placing non-toxic antifreeze in toilet bowls for the duration of their vacation.


The Cost of Ignoring Winter Maintenance

Winter maintenance for rental properties is a critical part of your duties as a landlord. Performing these tasks will not only keep your tenant warm and safe but also prevent any damages to your property. Some may require you to spend money on materials and contractors, but that is certainly nothing compared to how much you will need to shell out for expensive repairs and replacements.

Being a landlord certainly comes with its fair share of headaches. Make your life easier by hiring a property management company to do the work for you. Start your search for the best companies in your area using Florida Property Management’s online directory. Our directory also consists of reputable HOA management companies and real estate agents.