Despite the fact that the calendar indicates that spring is right around the corner, much of the country is still battling severe winter weather. As a property manager, it’s critical that you take the appropriate measures to protect the properties you’re in charge of against things like snow storms, ice and extreme temperatures. If you haven’t done so already, here are some winter weather prep tips to add to your to-do list.
Take Preventative Measures
Winter weather can cause more than just shivers and slippery roads. It can also result in a host of headaches for property managers, like frozen pipes and leaking roofs. You can prevent these disasters by taking proactive steps, like insulating windows and doors, wrapping basement pipes, clearing away snow from roofs and shutting off the valves to the water heater and pipes in empty properties. You should also make sure landlords and tenants know who to call in the event of an emergency.
Square Away Heating Equipment
To avoid any potential mishaps due to winter weather, verify that all heating equipment is in good working order. Make sure propane and oil tanks are adequately filled and that water heaters, generators and gas lines are all functioning as they should be. Any fuel-burning equipment should be properly vented to the outside and chimneys should be regularly cleaned. Ensure carbon monoxide and smoke detectors are all functioning properly and that all units have a working fire extinguisher.
Touch Base with Vendors
The time to make sure your contracts are up to date with vendors isn’t after a disaster situation has already occurred. Be proactive by verifying that all contracts – such as those with HVAC techs, plumbers, electricians and snow removal companies – are up to date and any outstanding payments are made. If you wait until after a big storm hits, you could end up in a bind or at the mercy of last-minute emergency pricing.
Audit Your Insurance Policies
Realistically, you should be going over your insurance policies on a regular basis to ensure that you maintain adequate coverage, but winter is a great time to double down. With things like heavy snow causing potential structural damage to your properties, it’s important to make sure that your insurance is up to date and that your current coverage type and amounts are still in line with your needs. For instance, if your policy covers fair market value of a new roof, but your property has depreciated, you may want to consider changing to coverage that offers replacement cost instead.
As a property manager, it’s up to you to make sure all the little details – like frozen pipes and ice dams – are adequately avoided. Follow the steps listed above and you can avoid potential costly winter-weather disasters.