The last couple of years has seen weather events happen at times not often expected and winter can be particularly harsh with its thunderstorms and heavy downpours. Properties that are not well prepared for the change in season can be hit particularly hard. Use this checklist to stay on top of winter property maintenance for your landlords.
Adopting a seasonal approach to property maintenance is a proactive method that benefits everyone involved. It is a simple way to ensure year-round comfort and enjoyment of a property while at the same time delivering long-term benefit to landlords. Being aware of the different seasons and the maintenance requirements of each will mean property managers can stay ahead of the game and minimise the effects – and risks – the external elements can have on a property.
Winter maintenance tips
- Safety is paramount and will always be at the top of any property maintenance list. Ensuring the property is safe for tenants and visitors is of utmost importance. During inspections, think about the winter weather conditions (rain, hail, storms, lightening, floods) and what’s in and around the home that could potentially cause an issue and address it as a priority. No one wants that phone call to say something has happened that requires urgent attention. This can be frustrating for the tenant, time-consuming for the property manager (not to mention the potential damage to the agency’s reputation) and expensive for the property owner. The best way to assess the safety of a property and reduce risk is to recommend landlords have an annual PropertySafe inspection conducted. These inspections are conducted by experienced safety inspectors. It’s a small price to pay for peace of mind. Click here to learn more.
- Check the garden and surrounds as much of the emergency repair work and reported damage during winter relates to factors around the property. Check for dead trees and broken tree limbs which could fall during high winds, notice any problems with fences that might be affected during a storm and look for areas which could suffer from flooding with high rainfall.
- Inspect the exterior of the dwelling, paying particular attention to common areas of concern during winter. Issues with roofing and guttering can lead to water leaking into the interior of the home, meaning inconvenience for tenants and serious dollars for property owners. Examine the roof and look for any aspects that could pose a problem, including loose or broken tiles and damaged gutter guard, and check that the gutters and downpipes are secure and clear of any debris.
- Inside the home is where most of the tenants’ time will be spent during the cold months so keep familiar risk areas in mind. While there’s nothing better than sitting in front of the fire in winter, a fireplace is one of the biggest hazards in a home. Regular professional chimney cleaning is highly recommended. Ventilation of the home’s interior can also be a problem when the temperature plummets, leading to nasty issues with damp and mould as well as stale, musty indoor air. These can cause serious health concerns for those living in the property. If the home has air conditioning, confirm that the filters are cleaned and changed regularly, check that exhaust fans are in good working order and remind tenants to properly ventilate the home as much as possible.
While property managers can’t predict and prevent every weather situation, you can do a lot to protect the investment of the landlord and ensure the safety and wellbeing of the tenants. There are some excellent tools available to streamline this process in Maintenance Manager, such as scheduling future maintenance, viewing the status of maintenance and prioritising jobs requiring attention. It also gives you access to a network of qualified, verified and licensed trade professionals. If you use InspectSafe you can customise your routine inspection templates to include seasonal checks.
Keeping on top of property maintenance doesn’t have to be time consuming for property managers. This technology saves time and money through its automated communications and workflows. Want more information on how to utilise Maintenance Manager – and put an end to winter (and year-round) maintenance worries? – Contact us.