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How to Navigate the Winter Lease Landscape: Top Tips for Property Managers

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Winter can be a harsh season, depending on where you are in the world. As a property manager, it’s up to you to ensure that your properties are ready for the winter. 

This means that your property must be physically prepared for inclement weather, and your rental business must also be prepared for this slow rental season.

With that in mind, let’s review some top tips for navigating the winter lease landscape as a property manager.

1. Create a plan

Property managers who work in regions where winter is harsh should have a plan to navigate leasing throughout this season. This type of plan applies to the business in general and to equipping specific properties.

The more properties you manage, the more critical it is to have a standard process for dealing with the winter. Creating a plan your team can repeat each year and easily reference will set your business up for success. This way, you’ll know exactly what you must do to prepare for the season each year.

Not sure what to include in this plan? Use the rest of the tips in this article to develop your plan. 

2. Winterize the property

Winterizing your properties is another vital tip for navigating the colder months as a property manager. Winterizing a property aims to avoid accidents or damage caused by snowstorms and freezing weather.

Some things to do when winterizing the property include:

  • Prepare the plumbing system with an emergency release
  • Inspect heating systems before they are needed
  • Inspect the gutters and repair them accordingly
  • Check carbon monoxide and smoke detectors
  • Seal and insulate where necessary
  • Protect pipes against freezing

The best time to winterize your property is before the weather becomes harsh. The fall is typically an ideal season to run through your winterizing checklist.

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3. Prepare for emergencies

Inclement weather can create emergencies, so ensuring that your properties and leases are prepared for emergencies is critical. Not only does this ensure your residents’ safety, but it also helps protect you against a negligence suit.

For example, blizzards can cause power outages or freeze gas pipes. Being cut off from a power source in below-freezing temperatures is a safety hazard for many, such as young children, older people, and pets. If this is a major risk where your properties are located, it’s crucial to ensure that you equip your property with alternate heating sources.

Suppose your property management company doesn’t provide resources for emergencies. In that case, it’s essential to work with your legal team to ensure that your residents understand the risks of power loss during the winter months and know how to prepare accordingly. 

The responsibilities of the resident and the property owner or manager should always be listed in the lease agreement.

4. Be accessible 

As a property manager, it’s important to remain accessible to your residents in case of an emergency during the winter months.

Integrating digital business cards with Mobilocard can help property managers efficiently exchange contact information with prospective residents, maintenance personnel, or other stakeholders involved in property management tasks during the winter season. 

Property managers can swiftly share essential details, property information, and emergency contacts using digital business cards, enhancing communication and fostering quick responses. 

This is particularly beneficial during winter when timely communication is crucial for property maintenance and resident satisfaction. 

5. Create solid administrative systems

During the busy winter season, property managers must manage their teams efficiently so any requests from residents or emergency calls can be addressed quickly. Such a demand may require having extra staff on call to handle these things.

An all-in-one property management software solution can facilitate time management and productivity for property managers. With a powerful software’s ability to streamline day-to-day tasks it’ll ensure all properties receive the necessary attention and all tasks are completed. 

6. Make the rental process seamless

Moving is overwhelming, so it’s wise to make the rental process as seamless as possible for new residents renting an apartment

Moving in the winter can be a significant pain, so if you’re trying to attract renters when it’s cold, you’ll have to make the process even more straightforward.

To streamline the rental process during the winter months, consider implementing the following strategies:

  • Create welcome packages with information about winter living on your property, such as how the heating system works and local winter emergency contacts.
  • Provide information or partnerships with moving companies that are experienced in winter moves.
  • Utilize digital platforms for rental applications, lease signing, and rent payments.
  • Offer virtual tours of your property.
  • Be flexible with move-in dates.

A few of these simple strategies can work wonders to create a seamless resident experience and may make your rental property more attractive to potential residents.

7. Invest in property management software

Investing in property management software can make your life easier as a property manager through any season. However, this technology comes in handy during the winter months when a lot of preparation and maintenance is required.

Descriptions of ManageGo's property management features

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ManageGo, for example, is a property management tool that includes everything you need, from payment processing to resident communication. It even keeps track of staff notes to create transparency among your team on what different properties need throughout the winter season.

8. Provide snow and ice removal

Landscaping and outdoor upkeep are standard parts of many leases. During the warmer months, many landlords and property managers provide lawn care and other relevant upkeep. But in the winter, this changes to snow and ice removal.

Snow and ice removal have an obvious convenience factor, but they should also be done for safety. Icy sidewalks and driveways can cause slips and falls, which can cause serious injuries. Clearing any ice and snow as promptly as possible is important. 

Fortunately, many landscaping companies offer these services during the winter, so you can likely use the same company you use for groundskeeping throughout the rest of the year. 

At the very least, it’s wise to provide salt to residents to salt their driveways. This situation is one of the responsibilities you can outline in your lease if this is a direction you decide to take.

9. Optimize listings 

Empty properties can be costly for real estate investors and property management companies. Since the winter months are slow for the home rental market, it’s imperative to work with realtors who are aware of these shifts and optimize rental listings accordingly.

Part of this is optimizing online listings to ensure that they are enticing to those who are house hunting. You should use visually appealing pictures and all the information someone would need to access when choosing a home to keep them warm during the colder months. 

Zillow listings with 3D tour and gas fireplace descriptions

Screenshot provided by the author

Another critical aspect is ensuring that the rental property is kept up with an excellent curb appeal when potential residents visit. Winter weather can be gray, making properties look drab. 

Plus, dirt picked up in snow can also cause an unappealing appearance. Do your best to stay on top of these things.

10. Find seasonal renters

If you can’t find long-term residents during the winter, consider finding seasonal renters. Many seasonal renters will look for warmer areas to enjoy more tolerable weather, but some may be attracted to locations where winter is in full swing for various reasons.

With that in mind, it may be worth prospecting short-term renters who are only coming for the season if you’re struggling to get another resident in. Of course, short-term renters aren’t allowed in every building and don’t make sense in every market, so research to see if it makes sense for your properties.

Final thoughts

Navigating the winter lease landscape as a property manager may feel daunting. However, if you’re equipped with a plan, the properties have been prepared, and you’ve made the proper arrangements in an emergency, you’ll navigate the chillier months like a pro.

How will you prepare your properties for the winter?

About the Author

Joanne Camarce grows and strategizes B2B marketing and PR efforts. She loves slaying outreach campaigns and connecting with brands like G2, Wordstream, Process Street, and others. When she’s not wearing her marketing hat, you’ll find Joanne admiring Japanese music and art or just being a dog mom.

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