With fall and winter quickly approaching, now is the time to take care of seasonal priorities on your rental properties. If you take the time and spend the money now, you can prevent major expenses down the road. Many landlords wonder why their homes keep breaking down and things keep popping up. It is because they do not take the time to conduct preventative maintenance. If you wait until things actually break, or until you need them to work, it may be too late. Implement a strategy before the year comes to an end. Preemptive maintenance will prevent additional problems in the the colder months of the year.
While often overlooked, gutter maintenance is important. Make sure your gutters are cleaned and working effectively. If you have a traditional gutter, start with a simple cleaning. Once the debris has been removed, look for either a gutter guard or something else to prevent leaf back up. If there are too many leaves in the gutter, water will not flow out and away from the house. Dealing with this in October is one thing, but it is increasingly difficult when you add snow and ice to the equation.
Preventative maintenance requires yard work as well. Take the time to remove leaves and debris that does not belong. Wet leaves can be as slippery as ice. If you have a walkway you could be protecting yourself from liability. Also, excess leaves can get caught in drains. When storms hit, water can back up, potentially causing flooding.
When focusing your attention on the interior, you should have the furnace checked routinely. At a minimum, you should get a new filter every year and check the output to make sure it is running correctly. Seasonal checkups and small upgrades can add five to ten years to the life of a furnace. Your tenants will also thank you when they see that their heating bill is low and they don’t need oil every few months. This is also the time that you should ask your tenants to check the windows and vents to make sure they are ready for the winter. Closing drafts or cleaning out vents can increase heat flow and make the whole house warmer and more efficient.
If you have a fireplace on your property, you should get the chimney cleaned every year. Even if your tenant does not use the fireplace often, having it cleaned can give you piece of mind and keep your house safe. You don’t have to get a full sweep every year, but you should get it inspected every winter. The same goes with smoke alarms and CO2 detectors in the house. Most tenants will simply unplug these when their batteries get low. You certainly don’t have to do this, but supply your property with new batteries every year. It is small things like this that will keep your tenant in the property and paying on time.
Staying on top of small items with your house may seem like an unnecessary expense and a waste of time, but this is what keeps tenants happy and increases the life of your property. Once you let these small items go, you will find that you will have to deal with bigger problems down the line.