Your rental property is your investment and like any investment it needs reviewing from time to time. Just like market swings rental properties have season that can impact your investment more than others. Fall is one of those season to prepare for the dreaded winter months coming and do the small little things that helps save you big money in the winter and help your investment to continue to grow.
In a few days the orange leaves will begin and climate change will make it’s impact on your rentals. Having said that, there are certain items that need to be addressed with the changing of the seasons. Acting now, reduces the chances of a tenant calling you with any issues that arise from things like frozen pipes or broken furnace. So, it’s easier to prevent damage by scheduling those routine maintenance needs and avoid thousands of dollars of damages, not to mention the headache.
Here are some basic fall maintenance tips that landlords should perform:
1. Basic Maintenance
While most landlords do inspections when the lease starts/ends, it is better to schedule seasonal inspections. Start inspections with all doors, windows and outlets. These are where you will find any gaps that will let cold air in and increase the electric bill. Replacing the stripping on the windows or sealing any cracks is much easier in September than it is in January. Also, check the bottom of the doors. To fix this gap, look for an inexpensive door piece which can be bought in major appliance stores. Go up to your property on the next windy day and feel around for drafts and leaks. You probably didn’t notice these in the middle of the summer, and you can bet your tenants will surely mention them come winter.
Related: Your Fall Home Maintenance Checklist: 6 Tasks You Should Do
2. Gutter Cleaning
It is important to clean your rain gutters before the rain season comes and it gets very cold outside. With a strong leaf blower, you can get leaves and debris off the roof and gutters in a matter of minutes. Also, when cleaning the gutters, take a look for any leaks or cracks. If there is a loose connection along the gutters now is the time to repair it. Also check the downspouts to ensure they a still fastened to the house, so when a storm comes they don’t leak in the siding or even flooding around the foundation.
3. Heating, ventilation, and air conditioning
Even though summer held on through most of September, we are finally starting to see a cool down. This should put an end to the use of the air conditioner. Also, contact a licensed heating contractor to inspect and service your gas heater or furnace to avoid carbon monoxide poisoning. Your local utility company will often provide this service for free. If you use a hot water system for heating, drain the expansion tank, check the water pressure, and bleed your radiators.
Related: Home Maintenance Costs: Top 6 Easy Tips To Save Your Budget
4. Tree Maintenance
Don’t wait for a strong wind to make a mess. The wind, rain or snow may not be the direct cause of any property damage. Most damage is caused by tree branches breaking from the weight of snow or a strong wind. While you can’t do anything to prevent a tree from falling, you need to keep your eyes open for any branches that could be a problem. While looking at trees you should also, make note of any moss on the roof as clearing it off in now will help avoid leaks.
5. Exterior Water Faucets
If you don’t have freeze proof water faucets outside then now is the time to make sure you have insulated coverings available for the cold freezes. It is also the time of year of send a letter to your tenants to share with them little tricks for the winter. Things like keep your faucet slightly dripping on cold nights so the pipes don’t freeze. Below we have provide a sample letter you can send your tenants as winter comes.
When it gets cold tenants are the only occupants looking for a warm place to stay. Look around the house for cracks and holes that an unwanted guest might use as an entry point and plug them with spray foam or concrete repair. Also, look under the eaves and awnings as many critters can climb. Something as small a your finger can be a entry point for mice and other rodents, so look carefully.
Most of these items can be taken care of in a relatively short period of time. At first they may not seem critical for the property, but each has a much bigger impact than you may think. For the minimal expense it takes to complete this fall maintenance checklist, it is well worth it. Use property mngt software like TenantCloud and manage the whole process with ease including seasonal automatic reminders, so you don’t have to remember this every year on your own.
Do not take a "hands-off" approach and only attend to your rentals when a problem comes up. Do regular, proactive inspections in order to head off problems before they start. And let this Fall season be a pleasure without any rental issues.
Related: 4 Common Landlord Problems: Resolving Rental Property Issues