September 2010: Plan Winter Maintenance Now

Tuesday, August 31, 2010

Thinking about winter maintenance needs for your investment before the season hits can often save you money. An extra benefit is that it can help keep tenants happy. For example, if you wait until the rains or winds come and the roof leaks, you will be competing with everyone else to have the work done because roofing contractors are at their busiest. This can mean major delays and higher costs. When the weather is better, contractors may not charge as much because their workload is lighter and they are looking for more work. Tenants can become unhappy with the inconvenience of a leaky roof but if the problem is severe enough, there can be loss of rent because of uninhabitable or unsafe conditions.

There are many areas where early winter maintenance can be a benefit. Here are items to consider during summer and fall months to see how you could avoid unnecessary repair expense or tenant problems.

Heating
Heating is simply a necessity and in the eyes of the legal system, it is a requirement for the health and safety for tenants. You could experience loss of rent if the tenants are without heat for an unreasonable amount of time. Having the heating system checked out yearly before cold weather hits could avoid bigger maintenance problems and making necessary repairs can prolong the life of the heating unit.

Walls, foundations, windows, doors, and plumbing
Checking walls, foundations, windows, doors, and plumbing can reveal problems with moisture, leaking, cracking, drafts, and more. It is truly important to avoid water and moisture problems that could lead to toxic mold - one of today's biggest liabilities for investors.

Gutters
Having gutters and downspouts cleaned and if necessary, repaired after leaves fall and before heavy rains hit can reduce damage and avoid other problems. Many landlords want tenants to do this but it can become a safety issue. Having a qualified vendor handle the problem can be a safer and more cost effective solution.