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multifamily winter weather checklist

Winter Weather Checklist for Multifamily Operators

Winter and the hazardous conditions that come along with it can make life difficult for residents and on-site teams alike.

Winter holds a special charm for many. There’s a certain joy that comes from being nestled in the warmth of your home, sipping on a cup of hot cocoa. However, if you own a multifamily property, this time of year is not always so peaceful for your property’s on-site team.

From freezing temperatures and icy walkways to the threat of burst pipes, the winter season poses challenges to property operations. Let’s not forget about those indoor hazards either. Christmas trees, festive lights, and those pesky evergreen candles add to the complexity, with risk seemingly present at every turn.

But, not to fret. With some advanced planning (and a little bit of luck), you, your residents, and your properties can make it through the winter season unscathed. If you prepare your property following these tips, you’ll be more than ready for the winds of winter.

PROPERTY MANAGEMENT MAINTENANCE CHECKLIST

Preventative maintenance is critical year-round but takes on even greater importance as winter approaches. Property managers must be proactive and have a plan in place before the cold weather arrives.

  • Make sure boilers, furnaces, and HVAC systems are in good working order and properly maintained
  • Clear your gutters to prevent ice build-up
  • Examine roofs for any possible damage, or needed repairs
  • Trim 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 poorly insulated units.
  • Keep walkways and sidewalks clear of snow and ice to prevent slips and falls. 
  • 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.
  • Be accessible, and encourage residents to report any potential problems

WHY THIS MATTERS: LOOMING MULTIFAMILY INSURANCE CRISIS

In February 2021, a deep freeze, known as Winter Storm Uri, took hold across multiple regions of the continental United States, notably encompassing the entire state of Texas. Multifamily operators in Texas were caught off guard. The record cold led to lengthy power outages, frozen pipes, flooded units, and sadly left some residents without a home. By failing to winterize, property owners were left with considerable damages.

In fact, in 2021, insurance losses attributed to winter storms skyrocketed from approximately $1 billion to an astonishing $15 billion, according to the Insurance Information Institute. The trend continued in 2022, with losses totaling just under $6 billion.

Whether it’s a winter storm or a hurricane, scientists advise we should expect to see these extreme weather events occur with greater frequency and severity in the future. 

Insurance companies are starting to take note. The cost of property insurance increased roughly 13.6 percent on average across the 50 largest MSAs from 2021 to 2022 and is up as much as 28 percent in some markets. Some insurance companies have even started to bail out of certain states entirely, namely Florida and Texas, two regions known for extreme weather.

As the industry grapples with rising insurance rates, operators need to adopt innovative strategies when it comes to insurance procurement.

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HOW PROPERTY OPERATIONS SOFTWARE CAN HELP

While natural disasters are beyond anyone’s control, the best approach for operators regarding extreme winter weather is to expect the unexpected and take proactive measures in risk mitigation. This is where property operations software can help.

Carriers are looking at more data than ever when evaluating who to insure. Property operations software, such as Leonardo247, provides you with a centralized system that automatically saves all your data, providing easy access and transparency for a potential carrier.

Property operations software also enables you to schedule preventative maintenance tasks and workflows. It gives you the visibility you need to ensure things are getting done while providing your on-site team with the daily guidance they need.

In the event of a weather-related emergency, your property operations software streamlines the incident reporting process with fast submissions, accurate data, and seamless integration of all components for swift resolution. The reports can be easily distributed to your Risk Management team, enabling you to evaluate and enhance your property’s risk management strategy. 

Winter and the hazardous conditions that come along with it can make life difficult for residents and on-site teams alike. Operators who understand their risks and embrace creative solutions will have better coverage options and lower costs. Mitigate weather-related risks with Leonardo247. Request a demo today!

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