Seasonal Maintenance: Preparing Your Rental for Fall and WInter
We might not see a drastic changing of the seasons here in the Bay Area, but if the shelves of your local Trader Joe’s are full of pumpkin spice flavored goods, that’s a solid indicator that it’s fall, and winter is right around the corner. Fall is a great time of the year to spend some time making sure your rental property is ready for the winter, and I’ve put together this handy checklist for your reference.
- Check your gutters and downspouts
Gutters and downspouts are essential in protecting your property from water damage by directing rainwater away from the foundation. If your gutters are full of leaves and other debris, they can’t do their job, which can lead to water buildup and possible flooding. Clogged gutters can lead to clogged downspouts, so ensure yours are clear. Adding rain gutter extenders helps to direct rainwater away from the foundation, preventing pooling, which can cause major problems.
- Check the roof
Inspect your roof for missing, buckled, or broken shingles, remove debris, check for missing chimney caps, inspect any rubber gaskets or caulked areas to look for defects. Don’t wait for a tenant to report a leak inside their unit; by that time, costly damage could have occurred inside the walls and/or ceiling.
- Trim trees and other foliage
Experts usually say that tree branch trimming should ensure that the branch tip is at least six feet away from the roof. This allows for the branches to sway in the wind without touching the rooftop. Allowing tree branches and foliage to be in direct contact with your roof or the side of your building invites moisture to collect, which can damage your property. Trim foliage, leaving a space away from your building, and remove growth like ivy or other invasive vines.
- Check the heaters
Chances are your tenant hasn’t even thought about using the heater since January. Depending upon when you conducted your RHSP, it might have been six months since you ensured a unit’s heater was operational. Now that it’s fall, check that each unit’s heater will be ready to go when the temperatures drop. You can ask your tenant to test it themselves, or you can arrange for a heater servicing vendor.
- Check windows and doors for leaks
Water damage is expensive to remediate. The best time to check that doors and windows are properly sealed is before the start of wet weather. Having tightly sealed windows and doors will prevent moisture damage and keep those heating costs down.
- Aluminum windows?
Aluminum windows are notorious for “sweating” when the indoor temperature exceeds the outdoor temperature, and tenants don’t usually say anything about it until they see mold growing on the windowsills and walls. Fall is a good time of year to send a reminder out to tenants to continue to ventilate by opening blinds and windows as often as possible, even when its cold outside, and drying off condensation to prevent pooling of moisture. Running the heater helps to keep humidity levels at or below 50%; another way to combat mold growth.