With each passing season, your property goes through different types of environmental stress. Many homeowners know that they need to check their gutters and furnace performance as the seasons change into fall and then winter, but renters might not be familiar with the best practices for keeping properties in tip-top shape.
When seasonal pressure causes problems around the property, both you and your tenant are sure to be inconvenienced. Nobody wants to have to deal with lengthy repair times when the weather is harsh outside, so it’s in your best interests to prevent that type of situation altogether.
Today, we’re sharing our tenant winter checklist (and how to modify your own) that we believe all landlords should create and share with their tenants.
A Table Of Contents For Tenant Checklist For Winter
- What Is A Property Manager Checklist?
- Why You Should Give Tenants A Checklist?
- What To Put On A Winter Checklist?
- Creating And Using A Winter Checklist
- Above And Beyond: For Landlords
What Is A Property Manager Checklist?
A checklist made for property managers is a checklist that the person running the property can use to make sure that everything is in working order and set up in the right way. Landlords that own a lot of property often use property managers to keep a closer eye on their properties, and checklists can help communicate expectations.
There are tons of different areas that might have a checklist for property managers:
- Winter checklist
- Move-in checklist
- Move-out checklist
- Listing checklist
- Wear-and-tear checklist
- Tenant screening checklist
- … and much more!
Why You Should Give Tenants A Winter Checklist?
Whether or not you have employed property managers to help with your properties, giving a winter checklist is an invaluable way to help protect your property and to ensure your tenants have a calm, comfortable winter.
Tenants don’t know the property as well as you do, even if they are the ones that are living there. They might not realize that checking the furnace functionality before winter is a good idea, and they will be upset with you, not the furnace, if it won’t turn on once it’s cold out!
By setting your tenant’s up with a suggested winter checklist, you are doing two great things.
First, you are helping your tenant be as happy and comfortable as possible in their home as the season grows harsher and colder. Very small problems can cause big issues as the winter rolls in; giving tenants a heads up about these risks can make all the difference in the world.
Second, you are helping yourself! If something suddenly breaks or isn’t working in the middle of winter, you will need to move quickly to get it fixed. If problems are found and reported earlier rather than later, the repairs won’t need to be so stressful. The checklist helps everyone prepare for a great season!
What To Put On A Winter Checklist?
Now that you know why using a winter checklist can be such a valuable tool, you might be wondering what to put on it! You’ll be able to see our complete sample checklist in the form below, but we know that it doesn’t cover every single area that you might want to cover in your own form.
Think about the areas of your property that may be affected or you know to be affected by the winter weather from time to time. Is there anything that can be done in these areas to prevent winter issues before they occur? If so, these items should go on the list.
Working through these questions can help you to refine and modify your own tenant winter checklist:
- Are there heating appliances that need to be checked?
- Are there gutters or other outdoor pieces that need to be cleaned?
- Is there a fireplace at the property? Is it clean?
- Are the pipes ready for winter? Do they need any special care in the winter?
- Have all AC units been removed? Is that your or the tenants’ responsibility?
- Is the house properly insulated?
- Have all of your detectors been recently checked and tested?
There are dozens of things that you could include on a winter checklist. Ultimately, you need to use your personal knowledge of the house and how winters usually are in your area to make your final checklist. The checklist might even inspire tenants to check more beyond what you suggest!
Creating And Using A Winter Checklist
When getting the house ready for winter, checklist tools are an invaluable way to ensure that the basics are covered before wind, snow, and cold weather put additional pressure on the property. While your tenant is not required to do these checks before the season sets in, helping them see what they could do with a checklist is invaluable.
The sample checklist that we are sharing today is just that: a sample. This list doesn’t include every single thing that you could cover, but we do believe that it covers the most important things.
When you are using this template to make your own form, you might be curious about why some of these items are included in the checklist. Let’s run through each topic so that you can determine if you need each one for your own checklist.
Heating System Checks
Checking that the furnace and heating systems in the property are working properly is one of the most important things to ask your tenant to do or to do yourself. Keeping the property heated is a must in cold weather, so you want to be sure this works as early as possible.
If the property has a fuel tank, make sure it is topped up. Ensure all vents are opened and make sure that any fireplace on the property have been cleaned as necessary.
Window Air Conditioner Units
If there are any AC units installed on the windows at the property, they should be removed from the windows and stored until winter is over. Having a unit on the window when the weather gets cold is sure to let cold air in, and the unit itself could be damaged by the conditions.
Detectors And Safety Precautions
It’s always good to have the following items checked as often as possible:
- Carbon monoxide monitor and batteries
- Smoke detector and batteries
- Fire extinguisher
While checking these items is not directly related to winter’s approach, these items should be frequently checked to ensure that your tenants are as safe as possible in the home.
All hoses that are outside should be drained, disconnected, and stored for the season. Leaving a hose hooked up outside in cold weather can cause serious damage. Additionally, you will want to make sure that exposed pipes that could easily freeze are insulated in some way to prevent any issues when winter sets in.
Windows And Doors
Can all doors at the property close tightly and securely? Do all of the windows seal properly? You will want to make sure of this and also check on storm dorms. Winter weather can be unforgiving at times, so being sure that the entryways into the property are strong and ready to go is a must.
Finally, ask the tenant to check on the outside things that fall into their maintenance scope. Things like gutters, outdoor fireplaces, and the roof should all be given a quick look to ensure that they are not going to break or be easily clogged up throughout the season.
Above And Beyond: For Landlords
While the winter checklist sample that we’ve shared above is a great way to get your tenant involved in ensuring that your property is winter-ready, there are some aspects of winter prep that you as a landlord will be responsible for checking.
Ask your tenant if you can come by to do a winter check if you want to do a more thorough check of things like insulation, sprinkler systems, and other things that are out of their realm of interest or responsibility.
Additionally, make sure you have a snow removal plan if you are responsible for cleaning the sidewalks at your building. If the responsibility falls to the tenant, ensure that they know what the shoveling requirements are in your area.
Being Prepared Is Key
In most cases, the seasons turning from one to the next is no big deal. Winter, however, can bring with it dangerous cold and harsh weather, and that change in the environment can put your tenants and your property at risk.
By setting your tenants up with a winter checklist to complete before the season begins, you’re helping both you and your tenant to be set up for a better winter season. You will never be able to prevent every single issue from arising, but you can do your best to make sure that both your property and your tenant are equipped to deal with whatever winter brings their way.