Property Management Issues
Strategic Planning: Getting Ready for Winter
From the CCI Review 2021/2022—November 2021 issue of the CCI London Chapter
Times feels like it is flying by every day; for some in an almost frightening rate. Planning ahead becomes almost a requirement or we might miss it. Reminders in a seasonal newsletter will be helpful for safety sake.
Before we can even blink, it will be time to put out some helpful tips to our community to use and be safe over the winter months. It really is hard to believe nor do we even want to think about it.
Before snow falls and takes hold
Take some time to enjoy the beauty of autumn while you are tending to tasks to be tucked in before winter arrives.
Exterior taps should be winterized once you are done with them for the season by turning them off inside and on outside to allow trapped water to drain. This will prevent water being trapped and freezing into the line, which could lead to flooding in your unit.
Fire prevention - clean out clothes dryer exhaust duct, damper, vent and space under the dryer while you are able to.
Protecting contractors during winter: clear areas in front and behind the townhouse units of all items such as pots, mats, wires, etc., that would interfere with snow or ice removal; that will provide housing for wildlife; or that might put the contractors at risk when they are on the property tending to maintenance issues.
Check kitchen and bathroom fans to make sure they are in good shape and working to remove moisture that accumulates. In the winter there is more humidity. It is recommended that fans run for at least 20 minutes after showering or bathing. Exchanging moist interior air with dryer exterior air can be done by occasionally cracking a window open.
If you are prone to using your patio door during the winter, leave the patio screen door in the open position so that it isn’t damaged by snow when opening and closing it.
After the snow falls
Owners may need reminders to share with those in their household. Sandboxes and plow markers along the curbs to mark the roadways will soon appear on the property. Hydro and cable boxes and other low lying hazards will also be marked. Please ensure these markers remain where they are placed as it will help the crews avoid damage to the property.
In order to curb the many calls during a snow event, make sure your residents are aware of the process and procedure you have in place with your snow removal crews, as well as any responsibility they may have between calls for snow removal. For example, they may be responsible to sweeping off porches and walkways to prevent build-up between snow clearings and to ensure safe passage in the event of emergency services; clearing furnace vents from snow and ice.
Parking and speed on the property
During the winter months there may be some limitations to parking on the property. Boards will confer with their snow removal contractors as to where on the property to pile snow and residents should be cautioned about parking on or in front of the snow banks. It is also important to address any rules about Visitor Parking spaces.
All residents can be forewarned to reduce speed and to ensure visitors to the unit do the same. Residents should also provide visitors with parking instructions in advance of their visit as owners are responsible for their visitors’ compliance to the rules.
There is no getting rid of icicles that create hazards of falling ice. How residents should proceed with reporting and removal of icicles should be shared. Remind residents of issues that you are familiar with during the winter, especially during freeze/thaw cycles and how they can protect their property and persons in the units. Suggestions might include:
- covers on A/C units and items stored outside the unit to keep them from being damaged by falling icicles
- icicles will melt and cause slippery ice patches below so caution is needed when entering and exiting
- prevent falls - de-ice frequently and sweep away pools of water that are likely to ice over
- where needed parking away from a roof edge where icicles develop is recommended
During a snow storm
We don’t like to be out in a storm, so caution should always be used and especially on the properties as folks are still out walking their pets or getting some exercise. Residents should take every precaution possible when walking or driving. It would be very helpful for those out walking a dog to use reflective gear for high visibility. Your safety and that of others is of paramount importance.
Away during the winter?
During these very uncertain times, many are staying put. Some will be facing winter for the first time in a long time. Everyone can be reminded of some important notes just in case the plan is to be away:
- turning off the unit water so that damage as a result of a failed hot water tank, toilet seal or break in the water line is minimized
- provide management with “emergency contact” information before leaving.
- leave a key on the property with a friend/neighbour for any emergency access.
- review your insurance policy for qualifiers in the event of a claim.
While you may find the winter season challenging on some levels, we hope you all have a very safe and smooth one.
Trish Kaplan, CCI (Hon’s) is the current part-time Administrator for the CCI-London and Area Chapter, also having served in the position from April 2003-September 2010 and was awarded the Distinguished Service Award from CCI National in November 2006.
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