With fall around the corner, now is the best time for rental property owners to carry out inspections. The resulting damage of inclement weather can detract from your investment, but fortunately damages can be avoided by preparing in advance. Investors should use this time to ensure their properties are safe for the upcoming months.
Schedule to inspect the property’s exterior with the tenants prior to starting any fall maintenance. Giving tenants the opportunity to voice concerns will not only strengthen trust—it is also the perfect occasion to take note of any potential infrastructure issues before real damage arises. Taking preventative measures will save you from more expensive problems in the future. To protect your investment and keep renters safe and comfortable, focus on these areas:
- Turn off the exterior faucets of your rental property and store garden hoses in a warm location. Doing so can prevent frozen water from causing damage when the temperature drops.
- Seal any gaps around the windows and doors of your property. Frequent wear and tear on the areas will create larger gaps if left untreated. Applying weather stripping and caulking can be especially necessary if your property does not have double paned windows. When cold weather comes, your renters (and heating bill) will thank you.
- Clear debris out of gutters and downspouts. If water isn’t being directed away from your property effectively, expensive damages to the roof, siding, or foundation could be incurred. Gutters are also the perfect place for animals to make a home in the fall and winter months; cleaning prior to cold weather will help prevent infestations. You may consider investing in gutter guards to extend the time between cleanings.
- If your property has trees, remove any branches that hang over the roof or powerlines. Along with the potential of breaking off in a storm, overhanging branches also serve as bridges for pests like squirrels and insects to access the roof and attic. Clearing the area of tree limbs is important for the safety of your renters and your property.
- Check all smoke and carbon dioxide detectors and replace batteries when necessary. Having functioning detectors within the premises is a legal obligation. Some renters tend to smoke indoors or use portable heaters when the weather gets cooler—both are potential fire hazards, and the importance of smoke detectors cannot be stressed enough.
- Perform yearly maintenance on chimneys if your property has a wood stove or a fireplace. Because few landlords or managers have the tools needed for chimney cleaning, this is a task best left to the pros. An animal-proof chimney cap can be installed to stop critters from nesting inside.
- Change the HVAC filter, a task which takes five minutes and lasts a year. It is a simple item to check off your fall regimen. If you believe it is necessary, have a professional come in to do a complete tune-up.
This list of pre-fall essentials can serve as a starting point for reviewing your property—only you will know where maintenance is most necessary. If you have not been conducting maintenance inspections for your property, now is the perfect time to review your investment before the weather gets colder.
Please contact us if you are interested in professional management of your property. We are here to help make the most of your investment, no matter the season.