Preparing Your Rental Property For Winter Storms

If your rental properties are in cold-weather states, you could be in for a rough winter. Preparing a rental for winter storm season is an important part of maintaining your investment. Here’s how to limit the damage a storm can do:

  • Trim dead tree branches and limbs: Snow, wind and ice can bring down branches, damaging property or causing injuries. They can also take power lines with them, which is even more dangerous.
  • Clean gutters: If gutters are filled with leaves and debris, snow and ice can build up, causing damages to the roof and eaves, and eventually harming walls and ceilings.
  • Check chimney flues: In units with working fireplaces, it’s important to have an annual inspection by a qualified professional. Creosote buildup can cause fires.
  • Check each unit’s smoke and carbon monoxide (CO) detectors: If any unit has missing detectors, add them. If they run on batteries, replace the batteries each year. Now is a good time. Or, convert them to hard-wired units for even more security.
  • Provide tenants with a Storm Preparation Tip Sheet: Prepare a list of instructions and tips to leave with each tenant, so they can consult it if a winter storm arrives. Give them tips on how to survive a few days without power, such as making sure they have flashlights, batteries, and adequate food and water on hand.
  • Prevent frozen pipes: Instruct tenants to let faucets drip when temperatures are expected to dip way below freezing. Wrap pipes that are exposed to external walls with insulation or even layers of newspaper covered with plastic. Show tenants where water main shutoffs are located in case of emergency.
  • Provide tenants with emergency numbers: Let them know how to reach you if a winter emergency occurs on your rental property. Let them know that downed power lines are especially dangerous, and to call the power company immediately (provide the number on a Storm Preparation Sheet).
 


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