Property Manager Maintenance Tips for Every Season Monday, March 12, 2018
Every season has its own unique set of challenges, and nobody knows that better than a property manager. That’s why you must be ready for any weather condition, regardless if you’re encountering winter snow or summer winds. Managing apartment buildings, or an office, retail, or warehouse space? The property you oversee must be ready for every seasonal shift. So, get out your calendar and start jotting down these maintenance tips to follow during each of the four seasons.
Spring Offers a New Host of Challenges for a Property Manager
The old idiom about March, “In Like a Lion, Out Like a Lamb,” couldn’t be truer; this is especially the case after the harsh winter that we traditionally experience in Columbus, Ohio. Springtime is about rejuvenation; it’s an excellent time for a property manager to do some cleaning and restore that curb appeal. Start with these three tips, below.
1.) Perform Springtime Yard Maintenance
First things first: clean up any dead plants, broken limbs, and any other debris that may have been damaged under the snow or as a result of a snowplow or shovel. Afterward, pruning and planting may be in order. If you manage an apartment complex with an outdoor space, such as a courtyard, invite the tenants to help plant new shrubs and flowers. Doing so will not only improve the property’s appearance, but your tenant community will get to know one another, too.
2.) Inspect Equipment for Safety
Spring is also a great time to check in on critical equipment, namely smoke and carbon dioxide detectors. Make it a habit to replace all batteries, even if they are relatively new. Better to be safe than sorry! Also, you should look at the HVAC system and perhaps call upon a professional; it’s critical to test your system, clean/replace filters, and ensure that your tenants will be comfortable in the summer heat.
3.) Wash Away the Winter Blues… Or Grays
The winter weather creates lots of muck and grime. And, if dirt, salt, and other pollutants are left on the sides of your building too long, it may permanently ruin the façade. Rid your building of the winter blues, grays, and everything in between with a good power washing. Give new life to your property with a clean look for the spring!
R, R, and R: Summer is for Rest, Relaxation, and… Repair?
We can all appreciate the “downtime” that comes along with summer, but not without critical maintenance to your property. The nice weather is a fantastic opportunity for a property manager to plan for major repairs, renegotiate contracts, and take care of those pesky pests! Start your summer off with a bit of preparation by following the three tips, below. (And, leave time for some fun in the sun!)
1.) Consider the Timing of Capital Projects
When it comes to major repair and capital work on your managed property, is summer really the right time? Your rental units may require roof repair, sidewalk repaving, painting, or structural updates, but have you planned for improvements with the appropriate amount of time?
Planning a major improvement project and looking to carry it out during the summertime may seem like a good idea; however, you should consider the timing. Summertime offers favorable weather for all sorts of projects, yet it is also a busy season for most contractors. Make sure you conduct the necessary research, budgeting, and coordination before the sidewalk starts to show from underneath the snow. In addition, these projects usually “take a village.” As such, plan to be onsite as much as possible to ensure that everything is going smoothly.
2.) Review Finances and Renegotiate Contracts
The summertime is also a great time for a property manager to review bills and renegotiate contracts – especially during those steamy afternoons, where it is even too hot for a dip in the pool. Because you’re halfway through the year, it’s easy to see how your property is trending on utilities and maintenance.
3.) Show Those Pests the “Unwelcome Mat”
Summer usually conjures up thoughts of fun in the sun, but it may also make you think about bugs. Make sure your property gets treated for all sorts of pests and insects that come out in the summer. For many, mosquitos are the biggest offender. Make sure you have the appropriate sprays and eliminate standing water, where they love to harvest.
Don’t Fall for Autumn’s Spell – Remain Vigilant Against Leaves, Leaks, and Cracks
Autumn may bring a beautiful array of colors atop your property’s trees; however, property managers are aware that this season can also bring quite a mess. What is the culprit for the muck and mayhem? Leaves, of course. Those nettlesome leaves make their landing on sidewalks and paths, as well as on rooftops and in gutters. Aside from the leaves, it’s also an ideal time to inspect windows, doors, and rooftops for possible leaks and cracks. Get started on these four autumn maintenance tasks early to keep your properties running smoothly and prevent costly future repairs.
1.) Create a Leaf Clearing Schedule
Don’t wait until the last minute to create an autumn cleaning schedule for your apartment building. Not only do leaves block essential drainage areas, but also they become quite slick when wet. You are responsible for the safety of your tenants. Why risk a lawsuit should someone slip and fall on your property?
2.) Inspect and Clean Debris
Gutters, including downspouts, should be inspected and cleared on a weekly or bi-monthly basis. Also, walk the perimeter of the building to make sure that water isn’t pooling around the foundation; this might cause erosion and leaks. And, of course, don’t forget to have all the equipment ready that are necessary to clear walkways. The items needed to help you do the job include blowers, rakes, and brooms. Consider adding screens to cover the spouts or gutter cap systems, which will keep gutters and downspouts flowing smoothly. These accessories will make life much easier for a property manager.
3.) Conduct a Roof Check
While inspecting the gutters, also check the property’s roof. A basic roof check consists of examining the attic ceiling for leaks, stains, bubbling or sagging areas, and light seeping in. In addition to clogged gutters, damage to the roof also can lead to roof rot.
4.) Check All Windows and Doors
Drafts are the greatest source of heating and cooling energy loss, especially during the autumn and winter. Identifying and then sealing sources of drafts will keep your tenants (and your wallet) happy. When window and door replacements aren’t feasible, weather-stripping and caulking are effective preventative measures that should work wonders. Visually inspect windows and doors (and door frames), and the areas surrounding them to determine if air is leaking in. If they rattle, light seeps in, or you feel a draft, caulking, weather-stripping, or a replacement is likely needed. Lastly, swap door screens with storm doors.
“Baby, It’s Cold Outside” – Winter Will Test Your Property’s Fortitude
Columbus has seen its fair share of snow over the last few years. And, we also know how cold it can get! So, why wait to take care of your commercial building, apartment complex, retail property, or warehouse space? Below are three ways you can ensure a clean, safe, warm, and enjoyable winter for your tenants.
1.) Book Snow Removal Services… Now
Before the first flake sticks to the ground, make sure you’re prepared; have snow removal professionals ready to remove snow from driveways, walkways, parking lots, and even roofs and chimneys. If you have a plow and/or snow blower on hand, take them for a test run. Tenants in your apartment complex understand inclement weather, but they also want a way out in case of an emergency.
2.) Inspect and Wrap Pipes
Many properties, especially warehouse space, have exposed pipes that can cause a dangerous (and messy) situation when the temperature drops. Get some foam sleeves and wrap those pipes to prevent freezing and bursting.
3.) Check for Heat Escape
Take the time to walk through the property you are managing, whether it’s a retail rental space or apartment building; examine doors and windows, as well as the roof, for any cracks, gaps, loose caulking, or damaged weather stripping. It’s best to make these repairs as early as possible in the winter before the weather starts to be unbearable.
Get the Help You Need in Any Weather Condition
If you’ve learned anything from being a property manager, it is that you can’t put off what can (and should) get done today. Your strip mall, apartment building, industrial space, or office building needs consistent attention, despite the weather outside. If you find yourself overwhelmed with day-to-day maintenance tasks, consider hiring a property management services company to assist!
At The Robert Weiler Company, our property management team understands what needs to get done and will deliver! The next season is approaching, so reach out and speak with a property manager on our staff by calling 614-221-4286.