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Steps Property Management need to Take before the Onslaught of Winter


Now there is no telling when or in what place there can be a sudden drop in temperature. Even places that are known to remain relatively warm in winter can experience sudden temperatures below freezing (this is happening right now in late January in 2014 in Alabama and Northern Florida), or be vulnerable to freak blizzards and snowstorms. Therefore, it would be wise for property managers to be prepared, and take steps to avoid inconveniences to tenants.

Responsibilities & Ideas

Before the winter sets in, here are certain tasks that property management should perform:

     Initiate a detailed inspection of all units to check for defective weather stripping, inadequate insulation, and cracked windows. Start the required repairs immediately, so that they can be finished before the cold sets in. The repairs will also be much easier to do when the temperature has not dropped considerably.
     For maintaining lawns and gardens, adjust the sprinklers and watering schedules to accommodate less sunshine, and cooler nights. Landscape maintenance should also include the cutting off dead branches of trees and removing dead plants.
     Inspect boilers and heaters, and check if they are functioning properly without any leaks. Early repairs can save a lot of time and money, as emergency service during winter season is very costly, and causes more inconvenience to tenants.
     If there is an outdoor pool, it should be drained, cleaned, and covered. This way you can avoid blockage of the drainage from fallen leaves.
     Check the integrity of the roofing, find potential points where leaks can occur, and conduct preventive repairs. When snow levels builds up, it can do considerable damage to the structure of the roof.
     In individual housing units, check fireplaces, and chimneys. There is a likelihood of critters making their homes in unused chimneys. Clean the flue thoroughly to avoid risk of smoke damage.

A property manager should also take precautions for snowstorms and blizzards, and be prepared to meet the worst eventualities. Here are some points that should be considered.

§    Have adequate number of tools for ice and snow removal. Such equipment should include snow blowers, snow shovels, and sand and salt for melting ice.
§    Be prepared for gas or power outage by stocking on blankets, batteries, flashlights, candles, bottled water, and emergency medical supplies.
§    Check trees in the vicinity, and chop off branches that are hanging low or trees that seem precariously perched. Strong winds and buildup of snow can cause these branches or trees to collapse without warning.
§    Conduct an inspection of the balconies and patios to see if tenants have removed all items. A simple object like a chair can become airborne in strong winds and can cause considerable damage.
§    Check the integrity of shillings and roofing tiles, as they can come off easily in a snowstorm, or collapse under the weight of snow buildup.
§    Make sure there is an alternative power source for operating emergency equipment and lighting.
§    Keep close watch on the weather by accessing weather reports through the radio, television, or the Internet.