Landlord Tips for Extreme Heat

Written by Posted On Friday, 23 August 2019 07:08
extreme heat extreme heat

July 1995, in the historic Chicago heat wave 465 people lost their lives. Fast forward to 2003 during the European heatwave and some put the fatalities as high as seventy thousand. This year heat waves affected the East Coast and even Alaska. As extreme heat is one of the deadliest natural disasters, it’s important to take heat wave preparation seriously.

Start with a Cool House

Air Conditioning

In many states and local areas, air conditioning is not a requirement for rental properties. Having said that, they are a sought after amenity that could provide needed relief in a heat wave. If your tenants have requested air conditioning, perhaps now is a good time to review how you handle reasonable requests as approving them might improve turnover rates while providing a cool environment.

If you choose to install one, and in the event of a malfunction be familiar with local and state laws regarding the responsibilities of repair or replacement. 


Fans

Leading up to and sometimes during extreme heat, fans can be useful, especially when humidity or temperatures begin to drop such as in the evenings. As humidity rises, it is inconclusive if fans are helpful as they may create a false sense of comfort as humidity makes it harder for sweat to evaporate.

However, used wisely, they may bring down body and room temperature if used in conjunction with wet clothing or sheets to create evaporative cooling. 
Purchase fans with high-quality motors for quiet enjoyment. A quiet fan will be utilized more often than a loud; noisy one. 


Insulation and Sealing

Keeping cool in and heat out will go far in keeping your tenants happy. Make sure your rental is insulated properly. Consider adding insulation to the ceiling, walls, and underfloor if not currently installed. Seal all seams and cracks to stop cool air from escaping. Provide weather-strip doors to keep heat out and cool in.


Windows


Consider installing insulating windows and/or window glazing (double-glazing, secondary glazing) or window films. If the tenant is not responsible for window coverings, consider blinds and drapes that provide the optimal heat and sunblock.


Don’t forget the exterior. External sunshades and awnings help bring the temperature down. While you are addressing the exterior, it may be a good time to install insect-proof security screens so windows can be opened during cooler temperatures at night. 


Appliances and Lighting

Switch out incandescent or halogen light bulbs to the longer-lasting LED bulbs. LED bulbs emit less heat and will also cost less in usage as they draw less energy. In an apartment or other multi-unit housing, it is cost-efficient to switch to LED but consider switching single dwelling rentals to LED as well. It won’t lead to a cooler house but it will contribute to your local energy conservation efforts and save money. If you are thinking of upgrading appliances, be sure to install energy-efficient appliances as they produce less heat. 


Landscaping

What grows around the home can impact the home in many ways from added security and privacy to cooling; especially useful in extreme heat. Planting deciduous plants near windows and use other low maintenance landscaping such as evergreen trees and bushes to provide shade. 


Community Spaces

In multi-unit community housing such as an apartment complex or mobile-home park, if you have a common area, consider all the above to create a cool environment where your tenants can find relief. You may want to have a backup generator installed in the community space in the event of a power outage. Have cold water and cooling cloths available to pass out during an extreme heat episode. 

Prepare Extreme Heat Educational Material

Well-informed property managers and landlords can pass on awareness and information to their tenants which potentially may help save lives. This material should be prepared and distributed before the next extreme heat event. Items to provide should include: 

Summer Maintenance Checklist

It’s important to be prepared for any disaster with a good disaster preparedness plan. Although heat waves have been known to show up in spring and fall, not just in summer, keeping your properties maintained is vital. As each season has it’s own maintenance routine, as heat waves are the deadliest of disasters, summer is especially important to home maintenance.

One item to put on your summer maintenance list is to advise your tenants to make sure all fans are switched to the counter-clockwise position for optimal cooling during the summer months. When the heat of the season is over, they can switch it back for fall and winter. 

Keeping Your Cool

Sometimes in the service industry caring for your properties and tenants, it’s easy to forget to take time to care for you and your office. Take time to weatherize and cool your office down as well. If you have employees, especially those that are required outdoor exposure, provide them with the best support and direction during times of high heat as heat stress can be dangerous. Be sure to follow good advice on keeping you and your staff cool. 

Conclusion

A cool house in summer equals happy residents. Knowing the potential dangers to address and learning about extreme heat and a heat wave phenomenon is a good place to start.  

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Heather Peake

Heather, a writer in the rental and property management industry, applied her skills as an onsite property manager and landlord for many years before lending her talents to Rentec Direct. She now focuses on sharing her research and insider insights with landlords and property managers in the trenches. To learn more about Heather and find valuable property management tips visit www.rentecdirect.com

www.rentecdirect.com

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