Winter Is Coming -- 5 Steps To Winterizing Your Rental Property

Posted on: 11 January 2017

As a landlord, protecting your rental properties from damaging weather means lower repair costs, a longer life for your buildings, and happier tenants. If you're not sure where to start this winter, here are 5 must-do things to prepare for the change in seasons.

Clean Gutters. Gutter cleaning should be on top of your outdoor maintenance "to-do" list. Start by getting up close and personal with the length of your building's gutters, cleaning all the debris, dirt, and branches that have likely accumulated. While you're up there, examine the gutters themselves to look for cracks and leaks. Leaky gutters can cause building damage by diverting runoff back toward the house and its foundation rather than away from it. If the gutters appear to be sagging or have a lot of leaks, you may want to consider hiring professional help to get them back in shape. 

Check Weatherstripping. Next, take a good look at all the weatherstripping around door frames and windows (including the garage seals) to look for signs of aging or damage. Replace old or broken weatherstripping or reapply caulking if necessary.

Trim Trees. Prepare for winter storms by ensuring that the trees are in good condition and healthy. Damaged, sick, or dead trees are a hazard and a liability risk, and they should be removed before the next snow. In addition, look for branches that hang at odd angles or that hang over the house, outbuildings, or power lines—these could snap under the weight of freezing rain or snow. Remove debris and plants that may create a falling hazard during freezing weather. 

Inspect the Roof. Whether you can do it yourself or you decide to hire a professional, you should examine the roof at least once per year. Look for missing, damaged, or warping shingles. Flashing should be in good shape, with no signs of deterioration around joints, walls, chimneys, or skylights. Replace damaged flashing and shingles, and seal joints to prevent water from penetrating from above. Work with tenants to be on the lookout for signs of any water damage from inside. 

Cover and Put Away. Finally, collect unnecessary tools and furnishings, then clean them (and oil the tools) and put them in inside storage for the winter. This may include covering outside faucets, draining hoses and sprinkler systems, removing outdoor furniture, and covering vents or outlets. Add a layer of mulch around plants that will winter in place, and move more delicate plants indoors. Talk with your tenants about their winter outdoor usage to make sure you know what they need access to for maintenance and recreation. 

Spending a little time caring for your rental property before the cold sets in will help protect your investment no matter what climate it's in. 

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