- Trees and Shrubs take care of us by beautifying our Properties and mitigating some of our harsh weather, so now’s the time as the leaves are falling off, to get your tree guy in, check and treat for any disease and catch up on pruning!
- And of course get those leaves and debris off the lawn, they turn acidic and inhibit grass growth. Check the grade and make sure any water would drain AWAY from your property.
- Gutters and Downspouts need a cleaning and check for water tight connections. A backup in your gutters may not seem bad now but if it freezes as Winter arrives it could back up onto your roof and start ice damming.
- Look for any areas around the property that could use Exterior Repairs. Know how you take Sherlock around with a magnifying glass when you’re buying something new? Yes your property should get that same scrutiny, these things Do get worse as time goes on and especially with our Winters.
- It’s tough to find the small openings that Mice and Squirrels use for access to our properties but if we’re not getting rent from them, they’ve gotta go! Wire screening and insulating foam are helpful. Squirrels are especially persistent. In my Contracting business I’ve had luck watching squirrels “come home” around sunset looking for that access, otherwise it’s so small you could easily miss it.
- Walks & Driveways should be free of trip hazards, no loose pavers or cracked asphalt. Railings usually aren’t important until someone is falling and grabs for them which will really challenge the connections and supports. I believe the code has something about 200 pounds of force from 12 inches away from it? I’ve replaced enough 1st Steps which have rotted out since they’re often half buried. Last year we replaced a lot of those 1st steps with Granite Stairs after digging a secure footing. Don’t forget the slight pitch and complying with the code Riser and Tread measurements.
- I stock up on Winter supplies now like Salt, Sand and Snow Shovels. Our Tenants know we’ll get to them but if it’s an emergency all our Units have those Shovels, Sand and Salt to get them started. Seems like last year we had a lot of Salt left over that I’ll be glad to get rid of. And NEW Shovels por favor, nothing ticks off a Tenant like an old broken shovel when they’re knee deep in snow and ice. I’ve found those New Shovels are an excellent investment and spray paint the house number on each! Snow Blower could probably use a new spark plug, check the oil, Pam no stick cooking spray for the insides and chute that are exposed to the snow and ice and the Specific shear pins for your machine.
- We changed most of our Outside faucets to Frost Proof Sill Cocks with an inside shut off. There’s nothing like a deep, fast freeze to crack an old exterior faucet and double your water bill. Also don’t forget to drain that hose and get it in the garage or basement otherwise it’ll leak like a soaker hose next Spring.
- Weatherstripping, Door Sweeps and Minimum expanding foam should reduce drafts. Usually ticks me off when I see that a Tenant has installed clear plastic with a heat gun (and used super adhesive tape stuck to a painted surface)
Holy Weather alert, Batman! just got an Emergency Alert 9/18/18 11:01am, Flood warning at 2pm and Tornadoes at 11:15am I’ll finish this a little later! Hope I don’t need Len Theran, Professional Loss Adjusters 888-747-8260
OK no tornado, back on track, only a little rain and a quick trip for a swim at the beach!
- Safety Equipment Smoke alarms and CO (Carbon Monoxide) detectors now come with 10 year batteries We usually check them at the end of Daylight Savings Time (Sunday, November 4, 2018 at 2am EST) with the test button and a quick look at the date to see that it hasn’t expired. Also check with your City/Town Fire Chief because they do have different requirements: Ionization, Photoelectric or combination of both. Radon detectors, not required, yet.
- If any Tenants have window A/C units I tell them we’re glad to install or remove them. I don’t want to lose a window frame, have a leak into the wall or have one drop out to the yard/sidewalk below.
- Dryer vents should be checked/cleaned once a year, since many folks forget to check the lint screen on the dryer itself. Code now says you’ve got to have metal duct/pipe and no sheet metal screws for wet lint to build up on. The strong adhesive aluminum duct tape seems to do the job of securing the connections.
- Landlords, I’ve been thinking of having cleaners for our Tenants kitchens annually as a reward for signing another Lease or Tenant at Will (monthly) agreement. Seems that when Tenants leave, the kitchen isn’t the most sanitary place in the apartment… You could have the Range Hood degreased, Oven Cleaned, Refrigerator coils vacuumed, Grout scrubbed, Clean light fixtures, walls and backsplash washed, recycling and trash barrels washed, small appliances cleaned, garbage disposer cleaned with ice (sharpens blades) and a cut up lemon (seems to deodorize). You may also want to take a photo of below the bathroom and kitchen sinks (showing they don’t leak, some insurance companies are asking for these to mitigate losses).
- Landlords, don’t forget to have that new Lease with the rent Increase, taken care of! This hot market has all your competitors raising rents. Of course do not forget you need ALSEL Application Updated, Lease (or TAW), Statement of Conditions, Escrow statement and blue Federal Lead Form, to be compliant in the Massachusetts Tenant/Landlord world.
- Every Utility in Massachusetts has to have a small portion of their budget available for Energy Audits & Efficiency increase suggestions. Be sure to check with your providers, Natural Gas and Electric to see their programs. They usually start with a base line of how much energy consumption you have. Next, what your consumption could be with Energy efficient equipment, Finally which improvements to make, that’ll reduce consumption, like insulation, weather stripping, insulated windows and doors and Energy efficient appliances! Energy.gov has a DIY energy audit you may be interested in?
- A chimney cleaning company could make sure your equipment is vented safely and efficiently. They usually start with a video camera to spot any big problems. Then a chimney cap could make sure nothing climbs down or drops in to block those vented fumes.