Fall is a time of contrast. The warm colors of the leaves with the chill in the air; the oncoming holidays with the darkness of winter; the joy of the season with the irritation of necessary home maintenance. But as pretty as the falling leaves might look in an Instagram photo, they’ll need to be raked up sooner rather than later. Many parts of your fall maintenance checklist are essential not just to help keep your property in good repair, but also to help make sure your tenants stay safe and comfortable all winter long. So grab your rakes and caulking guns, and don’t let your seasonal maintenance fall flat!

Avoid Winter Water Damage

In our rainy Pacific Northwest climate, coping with the constant winter rain is one of a homeowner’s biggest challenges. A walking inspection of your property to search for areas where water might pool and need additional drainage is a good start. But not all water damage comes from the weather. Draining your exterior faucets and sprinkler system is another critical step. Though it doesn’t always get below freezing here, dealing with a burst pipe is hardly the best way to enjoy a surprise white Christmas. Ensure the valve to your outdoor faucets is entirely turned off, then open each of them to drain any remaining water out. You can leave your faucets slightly open to make sure that the ice can expand without damaging them. 

Clean Out Your Gutters and Roof

Fall maintenance starts with looking up. Your roof, gutters, and trees will need a little extra attention this season to get ready for winter. Recent years have shown us that ice storms are a distinct possibility even in our milder climate. Trimming tree branches where they get close to the roof or power lines prevents severe damage and long-term outages. It also stops critters from nesting too close to the house, and possibly inviting themselves inside when temperatures drop. While you’ve got the ladder out of the garage, make sure to give your roof and gutters a clean as well. Clogged drains and roof debris can lead to ice dams and leaks, so be sure to give both a thorough cleaning before calling it a day.

Clean Out Your HVAC Filters

Fall is a great time to take care of this annual chore. With the increased load on heating systems in the winter months, start the season by making sure the filters are clean. Well-maintained HVAC systems run more efficiently, saving energy and improving indoor air quality for your tenants. 

Make Sure Your Home is Fire-Safe

Fire safety is of the utmost importance in the colder months. The most crucial fall fire safety maintenance includes double-checking your fire alarms’ batteries, cleaning or maintaining all appliances and vents, and making sure your home has the proper number of fire extinguishers on the premises. You can also reach out to your tenants to offer a few fire safety tips, especially with the season of space heaters and candles approaching. 

Check For Safety Concerns

Providing your tenants with a safe place to live is a landlord’s first responsibility. With cooler weather comes a whole slew of safety hazards on top of the risk of a fire. Slipping on a dangerous walkway, falling off stairs without a proper railing, or tripping outside due to inadequate lighting after dark are all serious concerns. Now’s the time to tackle any home improvements that would help your tenants stay safe during the colder, darker months. You wouldn’t want to be found liable for injuries your tenants suffer on your property due to neglect or improper care. 

Don’t Leave the Leaves

Raking leaves can be a tiresome chore, but removing this slippery debris is a fall maintenance must-do. Fallen leaves can be a slipping hazard for your tenants, and if left for too long they’ll smother the grass underneath. Either specify in the lease that raking the leaves is your tenant’s responsibility, hire a landscaping company to do it for you, or roll up your sleeves and get raking. 

Patch up Any Holes

Regardless of whether you or your tenants are responsible for the heating bill, making sure your rental is well-insulated and sealed up tight for the winter will benefit everyone. Check your rental’s insulation, doors, and windows to check for gaps that might let in the colder air. Foam insulation needs to be replaced every five to ten years as it cracks and degrades. Improving your home’s insulation can improve your heating bills by 10 to 15 percent! While you’re checking the insulation, keep an eye out for holes in your property’s basement and attic. In colder weather, critters can wriggle into your home and wreak havoc for months to come. Block any likely avenues using wire mesh, plywood, or foam caulk. 

Is Your Fall Maintenance Falling Through the Cracks?

A good landlord is familiar with the necessity of fall maintenance, but that doesn’t make it any less of a drag when that time of year comes around. In addition to seasonal maintenance, landlords must stay on top of unexpected repairs and cleaning or repainting between tenants. If you’re getting tired of the constant churn of home maintenance required to keep a rental property in good condition, you may benefit from working with a property manager who can help take over those tasks for you. 

Rent Portland Homes by Darla Andrew works with Portland property owners to manage some of the highest quality rentals in the area. Quality is the benchmark of our business. We use our long-standing experience in the Portland metro area to connect our clients with trustworthy contractors, saving time and money on extensive repairs. We also know how important fast and thorough maintenance is to both owners and renters; that’s why we stand by our 48-hour repair timeframe, no excuses. 

We stay in contact with your tenants for you, ensuring the door is always open for questions or concerns about your rental. Communication is what makes our company stand out from the competition; You can reach us any time and hear back right away. You’ll never need to worry about long stretches of silence, wondering whether your property manager is treating your rental home right. To hear more, call or text us at (503) 515-3170, or fill out the contact form on our website at any time. We look forward to hearing from you!