Young Girl in Warm Winter Jacket with Hood Near a Heater.

The freezing temperatures and the first big storm of this fall/winter season has got me contemplating a faraway vacation and my emergency protocol. I have property management manage my properties for many reasons. One reason is so that I don’t have to deal with those middle of the night phone calls. Finding a property management company that is available 24 hours a day and 365 days a year that knows how to handle major problems is key to being a happy landlord. Things never go wrong at an opportune time, not that it’s ever a good time to deal with broken water pipes but dealing with a flooded yard in the middle of the night due to frozen water pipes is unpleasant to say the least.

My protocol includes detailed instructions on what to do under the following four circumstances.

1. Structural damage

Structural damage can come from a number of issues, a tree falling on the roof during a wind storm, water damage from unpainted unprotected surfaces, water damage via other unsealed entities like windows or the roof and I’ve even experienced a   tenant driving through the living roomStructural damage that may warrant paying for a hotel for your tenants include a failing or sagging roof, a balcony or stairway that is collapsing.

2. No Heat

With the colder temps outside not having heat is an issue that needs to be resolved right away. It’s important that your property management company knows what company you prefer to use, a second choice, a limit on how much money you’re willing to spend without further consultation and a place to rent or buy some temporary space heaters.

3. No Water

No running water is an emergent situation as well, one that needs to be remedied right away. In freezing weather broken pipes may be the cause of no water and can cause flooding which can cause severe property damage in a short amount of time.

4. Leaks

Leaks can come about from damage caused by winter storms or by things such as a leaking sink, toilet, or shower. Again, make sure your property management company is aware of your preferred vendors.

It’s imperative that your property management company is diligent and that they will take the necessary steps to protect your investment properties and the tenants in your absence. For instance if your preferred vendor isn’t available for three days the pm company must take the initiative to get someone else if it is a true emergency. Remember to always communicate clearly with the manager in charge of your properties so that you can enjoy the holiday season and your family with peace of mind.