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Fall Maintenance Checklist for NYC Area Landlords

fall landlord maintenance checklist
Fall is a time for more than raking leaves. Tackling these fall maintenance items will help keep your property in its best shape.

Staying on top of preventive maintenance can help you reduce your building’s energy costs and extend the life of your property and its essential systems.  

Take advantage of the cool weather to tackle the following tasks before winter arrives.   

 Interior Checklist 

  • Walk through interior spaces to check for water damage on the walls and ceilings. Look for bubbling drywall, water stains and cracks. Schedule leak detection and repair services as needed to ensure your building’s plumbing is in good condition. New cracks could signal potential foundation issues.  
  • Hire a qualified chimney sweep to clean and inspect all chimneys, fireplaces, exterior vents and flue seals. You’ll remove obstructions and pests, and your tenants will enjoy cleaner air.  
  • Prepare your indoor piping for cold weather. Hire a plumber to insulate indoor pipes that are exposed to the elements, such as pipes that lead outdoors or are installed next to exterior walls. 
  • Place protective mats in front of each entrance. Visitors and tenants will soon be tracking in snow, ice and de-icing materials. Prevent falls and protect your flooring by placing sturdy mats in front of each entrance.  
  • Create freeze warning signs, flyers or digital notifications. Prepare any signage you plan to use to notify tenants of hard freezes or severe weather so it’s ready when needed.  
  • Clean dryer vents. In addition to keeping lint traps clear, regularly removing lint from the dryer vents in your building’s laundry facilities reduces the risk of a fire. Clean vents also prolong the life of the dryer while drying clothes efficiently.  
  • Consider scheduling an insulation inspection. You may be able to reduce your building’s energy costs by upgrading insulation in areas where old insulation has deteriorated.  

Essential Systems & Emergency Planning Checklist  

  • Schedule a heating system tune-up and plan upcoming air filter changes. Routine maintenance can prevent many heating system breakdowns. Schedule a tune-up with an HVAC professional who can identify small issues before they become urgent repair needs. Ask the technician when you’ll need to change your system’s air filter this winter and make the necessary arrangements.   
  • Winterize your outdoor AC unit. Protect the unit from snow, ice, rust and nesting critters to ensure it runs efficiently next spring and summer. You can hire an HVAC technician to do this, or you can winterize the unit yourself: remove debris, flip the power switch at the unit, and cover the unit with a waterproof cover. (NOTE: Some manufacturers do not recommend covering outdoor AC units.)  
  • Service the hot water heater and boiler. Flush the systems of mineral deposits before they see frequent use. Also, check the pressure valves and sacrificial anode rod (as needed).  
  • Test your building’s smoke alarms and carbon monoxide detectors. Ensure your tenants have time to evacuate in an emergency by testing your building’s smoke alarm system. Check your facility’s carbon monoxide detectors as well, and install new ones in recently renovated areas.  
  • Review your building’s fire safety plan. Remove any clutter or décor blocking emergency exits or pathways marked on your building’s fire escape plan. Distribute fire safety materials and post signs according to city requirements 
  • Inspect all fire extinguishers. Look for signs of corrosion on the cylinder, and check that the contents are still pressurized (the needle should be “in the green”).   
  • Make sure emergency lighting equipment functions properly. Press and hold the “test” button for at least 90 seconds to ensure each piece of equipment will stay on in a real emergency.  

Exterior Checklist 

  • Clean gutters and downspouts, and develop a plan to keep them clean throughout the season. You can avoid ice dams and other issues by regularly removing leaves and twigs from your building’s gutters and downspouts.   
  • Inspect your roof. Look for loose shingles or flashing, and check for gaps around vents that could allow snowmelt to seep into the building. If you have a flat roof, remove any equipment stowed there.  
  • Seal cracks around doors and windows, and patch holes in the building’s exterior. Replace last year’s weatherstripping, and look for gaps in the façade that have appeared since last year. If you plan to replace the windows soon, consider installing low-e storm windows to help reduce energy costs. 
  • Drain and insulate outdoor plumbing. Prevent hose bibs and spigots from freezing by draining them of water and covering them with insulation material. Seal away crawl space vents to avoid frozen pipes.  
  • Make sure your drainage directs water away from your building’s foundation. Erosion can sometimes displace a sloped drainage slab and direct water into the ground near the foundation. Inspect the soil beneath downspouts for signs of pooling water.  
  • Replace trash receptacles that no longer have secure lids. Outdoor trash receptacles should have well-fitting lids to keep out rodents and other pests.  

Landscaping & Walkways Checklist 

  • Prepare your sprinkler system for winter. Drain the system, shut off its water supply, and insulate the valves and backflow preventer.  
  • Remove loose tree branches. Hire a landscaping crew to cut down any loose branches hovering over the roof, big and small.  
  • Inspect sidewalks and walkways for potential violations. As a property owner, you’re responsible for maintaining the sidewalks adjacent to your building. Look for uneven pavement, cracks and chips, settlements that cause water to pool, and slopes created by tree roots. You might be eligible for assistance from the city to make sidewalk repairs. Also, walk around all outdoor pathways on your property and keep an eye out for loose nails, sagging stairs, broken handrails, etc. Repair these hazards now, or rope them off, before they’re coated in ice and snow.  
  • Plan ahead for timely snow removal. Gather tools and supplies now to remove snow and ice before city deadlines. If you plan on hiring a service, make the arrangements so everything will be prepared in time for the first heavy snowfall.  

If you have any questions about landlord insurance, or if you would like a free insurance review, call us at 877-576-5200. 

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