All Posts February 21, 2019

Rental Maintenance: Snow

Rental Maintenance: Snowmaggedon 2019





What did we learn after Snowmaggedon 2019? Well, we already knew we couldn’t trust the weather predictions, and we knew we wouldn’t believe it till we saw it. Unfortunately, this year, when Seattle winter came, and it really took us by surprise.


What did this mean for landlords and tenants? It meant there are a few more preparations we should have been prepared for and should be for next time.









Typical Preparations


Every October, the office sends a Winterization Letter out to the current tenants to remind them of their responsibilities to protect the home per the lease. These are outlined in the lease, but often forgotten, and should especially be taken care of before it starts to get cold.


We remind the tenants to:

  • Cover the external hose bibbs
  • Replace the furnace filter
  • Clear paths to prevent slips


These are the bare minimum, we know. They also don’t apply to everyone, but the hope is to inspire everyone to start thinking about winter preparations.


What we needed this year was a message that took it one step further.


Urgent Storm Letter


We received a message from one of our plumbing vendors about freezing pipes. We knew this information was important to get out as soon as we could to help tenants prevent and understand the repairs that would most likely happen.


We emailed the following letter out to tenants and added some important information:


With the recent inclement weather, this letter is to remind you that it’s the tenant’s responsibility to winterize your rental property. This includes:

  • Covering Exterior Water Faucets (these are easy to order on Amazon)
  • Clean furnace filters if applicable

Additionally, we’ve seen a rash of frozen and broken pipe issues in rentals. We would like to also suggest:

  • Run the water at a trickle from the hot and cold faucets to prevent freezing. This is especially important for faucets on the exterior walls, as they are typically colder.
  • Make sure hoses are disconnected from outdoor faucets and that those faucets are covered.

In this weather, plumbers are typically unable to help if water stops coming to the faucet. If you experience this issue, you will need to open the faucet that has no water coming out and put space heaters in the room or area. If there are under cabinet doors, leave them open. This will hopefully defrost the pipes and restore water flow.


We appreciate your ongoing efforts to keep your rental home in the best possible condition and avoid disaster. Stay safe and stay warm!


Next Year


This October’s Winterization Letter is going to include the storm warning information, but we’ve also decided to add some more preventative measures in case of another Snowpacolypse.


These extra measures include:

  • Stocking up on snow melt
  • Buy and keep a snow shovel for walk and driveways
  • Create an emergency kits for power outages
  • Check fire alarms and carbon monoxide detectors


We hope that by including these extra tips, tenants and landlords feel more comfortable when the next snow storm comes.


Do you have a plan for your rentals? Let us know about it in the comments!