We’re in the heart of winter, and aside from shoveling snow off the driveway, and making sure your tenants are stocked with firewood, have you considered the ways you can protect your rental property from winter weather? From gutter maintenance to pipe insulation, there are plenty of ways you can protect your property investment and your tenants from any unsavory consequences caused by inclement weather conditions. Utilize the following strategies and ensure your rental property is protected against any upcoming storm or sub-zero temperatures.

Clean Out Your Gutters

During the fall and winter months, it’s easy for gutters to become plugged with falling leaves and debris. It’s important to hose out your gutters. While you do, keep an eye out for any misaligned pipes or leaks that could prove to be troublesome down the road. Run the hose for a bit and step back; take a look at the downspouts. Are they directing water away from the property’s foundation? If not, the buildup of water could result in freezing and flooding.

Don’t Let the Pipes Freeze

One of the biggest concerns during winter months is frozen pipes. If your pipe does freeze and is left unattended, it can burst—meaning thousands of dollars out of your pocket. Tell your tenants that if they’re leaving for an extended period of time, they should allow the faucet to drip just slightly. This alleviates pressure in the system and will prevent freezing. Make sure you caulk any holes or cracks found near the pipes, both inside and outside the property. Adding extra insulation and heating tape can help you prevent further damage, so long as the pipes are easily accessed. If not, you may consider hiring a professional to perform insulation upgrades for you.

Check out the Furnace and Ducts

If temperatures are dipping, rest assured your tenants are going to be making use of your furnace or heating system. It’s important to make sure everything is functioning properly; if it’s not, you’ll want to spot the issue before it worsens. As far as your furnace goes, you need to ensure your chimney is inspected each year, and clean it out to prevent any fire danger. It’s also important to ensure your tenants are prepared with a modern fire extinguisher. When it comes to ductwork, it’s best to make an appointment with an HVAC professional. They should take a good look at all of the duct work and ensure everything is in order before any small problem becomes a major issue with major costs. Consider this: according to the U.S. Department of Energy, a home with central heating may lose almost 60 percent of heated air if ductwork is shoddy. It’s important to ensure your ducts are cleared of dust, animal hair, and debris to ensure best usage.

Why You Shouldn’t Leave Winter Maintenance to Your Tenants

You might assume many of these upkeep tasks could be completed by tenants, but it’s a mistake to leave the future of your property in the hands of renters. Remember that your tenants likely don’t feel a sense of ownership over the property, so they won’t be itching to run out and buy winter home upgrades. In most states, they have no responsibility to. Also consider the quality of your current renters. Finding good tenants takes the right balance and many landlords find this balance tough to achieve. For some, quick placement of renters trumps extreme vetting, which can lead to less than stellar tenants residing in your rental property. Remember that as landlord, upkeep is ultimately your responsibility.

Don’t let cold weather ruin your investments. If you have rental properties and live in an area facing inclement winter weather, it’s important to take preventative measures to keep them in tip top shape. Consider making these upgrades this winter season and keep your rental property in mint condition throughout the cold months, whatever storm comes your way.

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