From freezing temperatures and piles of snow to icy sidewalks and burst pipes, winter can wreak havoc on your multifamily property. And let’s not forget the indoor hazards of the season: Christmas trees, holiday lights, and those pesky evergreen-scented candles. Risk is lurking around every corner.
According to the Insurance Information Institute, between 2020 and 2021, insurance losses from winter storms jumped from about $1 billion to over $15 billion. Last week, a massive winter storm worked its way across the U.S., knocking out power to hundreds of thousands and halting holiday travel. While we wait to see the fallout from the most recent storm, it’s clear winter brings a unique set of challenges.
But, not to fret. With some advanced planning (and a little bit of luck), you (and your residents) can make it through the winter season unscathed.
If you prepare your multifamily property following these tips, you’ll be more than ready for the winds of winter.
Perform Preventative Maintenance
Preventative maintenance is critical year-round but takes on even greater importance as winter approaches. Don’t wait until the storm hits. Property managers must be proactive and have a plan in place before the cold weather arrives.
- Make sure that your building’s boilers, furnaces, and HVAC systems are in good working order and properly maintained. This will help to ensure that all residents are kept warm and comfortable during the winter months.
- Clear your gutters to prevent ice build-up
- Examine your roof for any possible damage, or needed repairs
- Trim your trees, as the winter elements can snap limbs and cause entire trees to fall
- Insulate windows and doors to help keep the heat in. This can be especially important in older buildings or units that are poorly insulated.
- Keep walkways and sidewalks clear of snow and ice to prevent slips and falls. This may involve hiring a contractor to handle snow removal or providing shovels and salt for residents to use.
- Check and replace the batteries in smoke and carbon monoxide detectors. These devices are critical for detecting and alerting residents to potential hazards during the winter months.
- Consider providing a community space where residents can gather to socialize and stay warm. This could be a common room with a fireplace or a game room with a pool table and other activities.
- Remind residents to be mindful of their energy use during the winter months. Encourage them to turn off lights and appliances when not in use and to lower their thermostats when they are away from home.
- Be accessible, and encourage them to report any potential problems
After the Storm
You made it through the storm. Now comes the hard part – clean up.
- Leverage your property operations and maintenance platform to expedite the recovery process.
- Encourage your residents to report even minor damages, and help them work through any insurance claims
- Use what you’ve learned to be better prepared for next time
Winter and the hazardous conditions that come along with it can make life difficult for residents and property managers alike. Not sure if your multifamily property is ready for winter? Mitigate weather-related risks with Leonardo247. Request a demo today!