Although the temperatures are still warm and the pool is still being used, summer is rapidly coming to an end and fall is just around the corner, which means it’s time to start thinking about your property’s fall maintenance. Back to school for your residents means back to the drawing board for property managers as you work to ensure that your complex is ready for fall and the new set of maintenance concerns this season brings with it. The chilly, sometimes wet weather of fall can be hard on your property so be sure to do as much proactive maintenance as you can. Maintenance is one of the primary benefits of renting and most tenants are happy to leave that to their landlord. With just a few simple preventative checks, you can minimize maintenance calls and maximize your peace of mind as you head into cooler temperatures.
Check All Gutters and Roofs
Part of an appealing apartment complex is the landscaping which usually includes a fair amount of trees. While the fall foliage is a beautiful reminder of the impending autumn weather, the falling leaves can wreak havoc on your gutters. Clogged gutters can lead to improper drainage and roof damage. Be sure to clear all gutters of any leaves or debris and follow that up with a rinse to check that all downspouts are draining freely. It’s also a good idea to visually inspect all the drains on your property. If not graded correctly, drains can cause water to pool around the foundation which leads to erosion and leaks. While you’re at it, do a quick check of roofs as well. Sun exposure and moisture can shorten the lifespan of a roof so keeping up on any maintenance issues and be addressing them can save you money on the back end by fixing minor issues as they arise rather than waiting until you have a bigger problem. Some items to put on your roof checklist: checking ceilings for stains, dark spots and peeling, cracked paint and any peeling wallpaper or wall discoloration can all be indicators of a leaking roof. An ounce of prevention truly is better than a pound of cure.
Schedule Chimney Cleanings and Inspections
One feature that appeals to prospective tenants is a fireplace. While they do add value to your property and appeal to tenants, fireplaces must be inspected annually to maximize your resident’s safety. The National Fire Protection Association (NFPA) reports that more than 20,000 fires begin in chimneys every year. For this reason, it is essential that all fireplaces and chimneys in your complex be inspected annually regardless of their use. A thorough inspection should include all fireplaces, chimneys, flues, and vents to ensure the safety of all residents. Everything from nesting animals to soot and a buildup of debris is all potential fire hazards. While this fall maintenance task tends to be put on the back burner for most property managers, move it to the front of your mind as you head into colder temperatures.
Prepare the Grounds
One aspect of fall maintenance that is often overlooked by property managers is yard and grounds maintenance. As fall approaches be sure to keep up with any raking and removing any debris that might be brought in with fall winds. To keep your property looking its best do one last hedge manicure and branch trim and fertilize the grass. This is also a good time to inspect, clean and store any patio furniture and grills on your property. Depending on the type of climate your property is in, there are a few other things you might want to consider. If you’re in a cold climate you need to turn off the water to any outdoor spigots. Shut off your sprinkler systems and drain and store any outdoor hoses. This will prevent any residual water from freezing and potentially bursting the water lines. If hurricanes are a concern in your area you’ll need to properly secure any large outdoor objects to prevent them from causing damage during high winds.
Prepare Heating Systems
Colder temperatures mean that heating systems will soon be turned on. Regardless of the climate, heat is a necessity in winter and will be used at some point during the fall and winter. Heating units are also one of the top maintenance issues for property managers during the fall and winter. Tenants expect their apartment to be in working order and a broking heating unit causes frustration for them and extra work for you. One of the most important things to do to keep all heating units in optimal condition is to ensure proper air flow. Vacuum vents before the first use of the season. Check all filters and replace any that are dirty or clogged. Send out a notice to residents explaining that turning off their heating unit before they leave for the day actually increases their utility bill. Maintaining a steady temperature will save them more money in the long run. An HVAC professional can also check units for any potential life-threatening carbon monoxide leaks.
Check All Doors and Windows
The final step to finish your fall maintenance checklist is to check all the doors and windows as the weather stripping can leak. This quickly drives up heating costs which hurts the tenants or the landlord if they pay the utility bills. Drafty apartments mean a constantly running furnace. To check for drafts turn on any exhaust fans in the unit and then carefully move a lit candle around all door and window frames. If the flame flickers then you know that air is either leaking in or out. Most of the time this can be fixed by simply replacing the weather stripping; however, once in a while an entire window or door might need to be replaced. These types of maintenance repairs will save you money long-term and also keep the value of the property high.
We know you have a lot on your plate. But seeing to these preventative maintenance tasks on the front end will save you a lot of time and frustration on the back end. You can rest easy knowing your property is in optimal condition for the next season.