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Tips for Landlords—Proactively Communicate with Your Tenants on Preparing Your Property for the Winter

Eric Guggenheimer - Monday, October 21, 2019

As the fall season settles in and winter slowly approaches, property managers throughout the Northern Virginia and DC area are beginning to prepare their rentals for the cooler seasons.

While your efforts go a long way to ensuring your property stays safe during the winter, communicating with your tenants is an essential component of preparing and protecting your investment from damage.

With a few effective communication tips, you can ensure that your tenants as well as your property are prepared for what may come this winter!

When Leaving the Home for Vacation

Many people travel during the fall and winter seasons. Whether your tenants decide to head south in search of some warm sunshine or are visiting relatives over the holidays, it’s important that your renters know how to leave the unit to prevent problems from the colder weather.

  • Keep the heat on. Tenants may be tempted to turn the heating off to save money on their electric bill, but this isn’t a good idea—if temperatures get low enough, it could cause pipes to freeze and burst.

  • Turn faucets on a slow drip. If your unit has uninsulated pipes, you can help prevent them from freezing in temperatures below 20 degrees by turning faucets on a slow drip. Consider advising tenants to do this if they’re leaving and know it’ll be really cold. 

  • Notify the property manager. Ask tenants to notify you of the dates they’ll be away so that in the event of inclement weather or extreme temperatures you can go and check on the place!

By communicating these things with your tenants, you can help eliminate common problems that occur during the winter and have your renters return home to a safe and warm house!

What to Do in the Event of Inclement Weather

Your tenants should know whether or not they’re responsible for snow and ice removal when inclement weather strikes. The same goes for debris from high winds or hurricane-like weather. 

Advising your renters of steps they can take in the event of severe weather can help keep everyone safe and reduce damage to your property. For instance, they should know whether or not to contact you if there’s a need for ice or snow removal, and if so, you can discourage them from going out until you can get there to remove the debris.

It’s also a good idea to advise tenants on best practices for when a storm comes. For example, establish a communication system with them before inclement weather strikes. If you know there’s a hurricane or snow storm on the way, alert them to the weather and any recommended precautions.

These precautions could include encouraging them to stay inside, secure any loose items on the property, and moving their vehicles from under trees. Any issues with the property and they should contact you!

Notify Them of Scheduled Maintenance

When preparing your property for the colder months, most landlords will need to have furnaces or other heating elements serviced.

For example, fireplaces and chimneys may need be cleaned, and windows and doors will need to be inspected for proper sealing and intact caulking and weather stripping.

Notifying your tenants of when these tasks will be performed as well as what they should expect can help the entire process go smoothly for everyone. You may also want to give them a list of potential issues they may notice and to contact you in the event that they happen—for instance, a burning smell from the furnace, drafts from the windows, or evidence of pests taking up residence!

Let Us Assist with Your Rental Property!

Circle Property Management knows that the changing seasons can present new challenges for property owners. However, this time of year is also an excellent time to inspect your property and make note of any maintenance to take care of before the colder temperatures really settle in.

Contact us at (703) 349-0144 to learn more about how we can help you manage your rental property in the Northern Virginia and Washington DC area. We can assist with getting your unit ready for winter and establishing effective communication with your tenants!

About The Author

Eric Guggenheimer - SFR, ARM ® » Principal Broker, Certified Property Manager, IREM, ARM, NARPM, NVAR, NAR, VAR