If you're like most property owners who rent out residential homes, you already know that even the best tenants usually won't treat your property as if it were their own. However, if you're new to the landlord game, you may not have yet figured out that there are certain measures you can take that will minimize the amount of damage caused by tenants.
Winter is usually tougher on residential property than any other time of the year. Following are three things that you should do at the beginning of winter to help minimize damage caused by seasonal conditions.
Have Your Trees Inspected
Even if it's the responsibility of your tenants to maintain the landscaping, they may not do much more than mow the lawn and weed the flowerbeds -- and it's unrealistic to expect them to maintain large trees. A professional tree care expert should inspect your landscaping before the start of winter so that weak branches and other potential hazards can be removed. Otherwise, you may find yourself dealing with damage to your property or the personal injury of tenants or their guests. Mature trees also add monetary value to your property, so it's in your best interests to keep them in good condition.
Schedule a Visit From a Pest Control Expert
Although most people consider spring and summer to be prime seasons for pests, indoor pest populations of mice and rats often skyrocket during late fall and winter as they seek shelter from cold temperatures. They can gain access to home interiors via openings as small as a dime, and once they've set up shop indoors, they can create a great deal of damage. Scheduling an inspection by a pest control service helps ensure that rodents don't run rampant throughout your rental property.
Not only do rodents spread disease, they can damage insulation, burrow into furniture, contaminate food supplies with their droppings and hair, and create a risk of fire by gnawing on electrical wires.
Winterize Your Plumbing
Installing heat tape or insulating pipes can prevent the expense and hassle that happens when pipes freeze and break due to prolonged exposure to subfreezing temperatures. If your rental property is located in an area where winter cold is a part of the picture, you should also provide your tenants with a best-practices sheet to provide plumbing with an extra layer of protection. For instance, leaving a trickle of water running in faucets overnight helps prevent water from freezing in the pipes.