McWhorter Property Management Blog

5 Winter Maintenance Tips for Landlords

Kevin Chatham - Sunday, November 13, 2016

As an investor, preventative maintenance is essential to keeping your investment property in good condition and generating a positive cash flow. Your tenants will not stay on top of the home repair and maintenance tasks, so there are several tips that will save you money in the long-term and keep your tenants happy as well. If you’re going to own an investment property, it is imperative that maintenance issues – both preventative and reactive – are handled expeditiously. Here are a few of our recommendations:

  1. HVAC System
    Regardless if your investment property is in a cold climate or a warmer part of the country, it is important to ensure that the HVAC system is working efficiently. Before entering into the winter season, it is always a good idea to schedule an HVAC cleaning and tune-up, change or clean the filter and check the condition of the insulation in the crawlspace and attic. The insulation in the crawlspace and attic will help keep the heat inside the living space and prevent warm air from escaping. One of the most costly repairs we see are related to the HVAC system, whether it be in the summer or winter, extreme temperatures can cause the system to fail if it is not in good working condition. In addition, you owe it to your tenants (legally and morally) to provide them with heating and air conditioning for the enjoyment of the property.
  2. Prevent Frozen Pipes
    Although we don’t necessarily have to worry about this issue here in the south as much as some areas around the country, it is important to avoid frozen pipes, and the extreme damage this can cause. It is a preventable condition that will save you a lot of money by adhering to some common sense rules. Exterior faucets and hoses should be drained and shut off. Tenants should also be educated about what actions they need to take during the winter months, such as leaving a trickle of water overnight and keeping the thermostat at a consistent temperature. Our firm sends annual reminders to tenants when winter approaches.
  3. Roof inspections
    Regular inspections of the roof are important and even more so in colder months. Ice dams can form which can compromise your roof and cause water leakage. Close any crawlspace vents in the foundation and seal any cracks that could allow critters to burrow in. Ensure that gutters are cleaned out. Check downspouts to ensure they drain away from the foundation. Putting this work off can result in water damage, clogs and a much bigger and more expensive issue by spring.
  4. Test Safety Devices
    Smoke detectors and carbon monoxide detectors need to be checked regularly, not only during the winter when tenants are using their fireplaces. It is of the utmost importance to ensure the safety of all occupants by testing these devices regularly, but especially during the colder months when fireplaces and gas is being used more frequently.
  5. Inspect the deck
    Wood is susceptible to deterioration in any climate. Repair or replace damaged or missing fence pickets and make sure posts are secure to prevent wind from knocking these items down. A non-slip paint or epoxy can be used on the deck, porch and stairs to prevent slips and falls during wet or icy conditions.

It’s easy as an investor or landlord to forget about these items or to simply ignore them due to the extra costs. As I always say, it is better to spend $100 now rather than $1,000 later maintain your investment property. It’s easy to put maintenance off, especially if the tenant(s) are not complaining. However, you will thank yourself later if you provide maintenance on a regular schedule and avoid any surprises down the road. Maintaining your investment is important in any climate, but a rental property may be more susceptible to certain issues during more extreme temperatures.

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McWhorter Property Management
27 Freeman Street
Cartersville, GA 30120

Phone: (770) 607.4001
Fax: (770) 387.3188

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