Category Archives: water damage

snow plow

Winter Worries for Property Managers 

Winter in New England comes with some definite perks including snow-capped mountain scenery, options to ski, and idyllic imagery of cities and towns dusted by snow. Unfortunately, with this winter beauty comes winter worries for property managers. From concerns about ice dams and slippery sideways to frozen pipes and leaks on the roof, the work of a property manager may never seem like it is done. 

Let’s take a look at some of the top winter worries for property managers so that concerns can be proactively dealt with rather than as they occur at your property. sidewalk plowing

Schedule Snow Clearing Contractors Early 

Living in this corner of the world there is no question about whether there will be snow every winter, it’s just a matter of when the snow will happen rather than “if.” 

Knowing this, it’s smart to schedule out contractors that will plow your driveways, shovel your walkways and use de-icing components on those well in advance of the first snowfall. If you use the same contractor each year, it may be necessary to review your contract and ensure that your property is top on the priority list as a loyal customer. 

Pro Tip – When interviewing contractors find out how early they can be at your property after a snowfall and if they will come back for a clean-up later in the day. This is especially important to residents who need the area plowed early to get out to work and will expect that their parking spot will be cleared upon their return. 

Take Steps to Prevent Fires 

The start of winter also marks the start of the fireplace and wood-burning stove season as well. Additionally, it signifies a time of year when candles are burned and holiday decor may be overloading outlets. All of these are potential fire hazards in the making. 

As a property manager, it’s a good idea to remind your residents about proper fireplace use and wood stove use. Add in recommendations about the amount of lighting for decor per outlet and common sense reminders about candle use during this season. 

Pro Tip – Require that homeowners or residents have a professional chimney cleaning every year to avoid creosote build-up in the venting of their wood stove or fireplace. Additionally, have all residents check all smoke and carbon monoxide detectors to ensure they are in good working order. icicles

Be Vigilant of Winter Risks 

Winter may be a welcome season for some, but property managers know that things like ice dams on roofs, frozen pipes, and malfunctioning furnaces can be real issues during the cold winter months. 

Take steps early in the season to have the furnace tuned or inspected for potential issues. A roof inspection and attic inspection of insulation can help prevent ice dams, and keeping thermostats at a constant temp can help avoid frozen pipes. A little vigilance can go a long way to lessen these winter risks. 

Pro Tip – Remind residents that during the coldest nights keep cabinets open to allow kitchen pipes to absorb heat and, if necessary, allow faucets to drip water so that freezing does not occur. 

Does your property have winter issues to stay on top of? Let our team at Thayer & Associates help out. Talk to our team today. 


The Worry of Water Damage in Your Condo

New England has its fair share of wet weather to deal with, from rainstorms in the spring, summer, and fall, to ice storms and mounds of snow in the winter. Add in issues of frozen pipes, aerial flooding, coastal flooding, and water/sewer backups, and “Earth’s most abundant resource” (water) can quickly become a huge problem. Water damage is a common and tricky issue that homeowners all over our region deal with no matter the season. Let’s take a closer look at the questions to consider when trying to determine where responsibility may lie.

Whether it is a small “drip, drip, drip,” or a larger “gussssh,” the problems related to water damage can be one of the more complex issues when it comes to living within an association. There is often a fine line that determines who is responsible when it comes to water damage. Determining who is liable for the damage means taking into account several factors such as the root cause of the damage, the location, and insurance guidelines. The general rule of thumb for HOA repairs versus homeowner repairs are usually differentiated based on whether the damage is to the exterior of the building or the interior. Unfortunately, many cases of water damage tend to start on the exterior of a building and work their way inward. This makes it difficult to decide where to draw the line. The answer, then, to the complex question is often found within the governing documents of the condominium association.

Questions to Consider:

While it is difficult to discern specifically who would be responsible for what in this blog, there are some questions you will want to consider.

  1. Where in the condominium complex did the water damage occur? For instance, did the leak happen in a common area such as a hallway, stairwell, lounge, or gym? Normally, this would be covered by the HOA.
  2. What was the ultimate cause of the water damage? For example, did your toilet back up or a pipe burst in your condo unit? In that instance, your condo insurance will most likely be the one to contact about repairs, not the HOA. If the water damage is caused by a roof malfunction the HOA would probably be responsible for the outside damage and then determine if interior damage will be the responsibility of your insurance or the association.
  3. What is covered and what is not? Before you buy into a condo association, always ask what may or may not be covered. For example, would water damage be covered from a flood? Who would handle the financial responsibility if a leak originated in another unit and spilled over into yours? What would be the deductible in the case that the leak originated within my unit?

The answer to these questions and who is responsible for water damages is unique to each association. Be sure to review your copy of the master insurance as well as your own condo insurance. Any questions? Contact Thayer & Associates, Inc., AMO at 617.354.6480 or visit our website.