Yesterday we hit record-braking low temperatures which we haven’t experienced in over a century. Forecasters say that this trend of fr
igid-cold weather is here to stay with us for a while.
Here are some important steps to take in order to make sure that these cold weathers do not shatter your bottom line.
Slip and Falls are the most common type of accidents resulting in law suits against landlords.
- Sidewalks; Start from the ground up. Cracks in the sidewalks are a very common cause for slip and falls, even when they are visible. But when it’s covered in snow it is even a greater hazard. So make sure that all the sidewalks and pathways around your buildings are in perfect conditions with no cracks or bumps.
- Snow and ice; As soon as it starts to snow or even rain, make sure to shovel and salt the surface in front of your building. Re-salt at night after some snow may have melted during the day and formed new ice. Black ice can be more dangerous than snow in many cases.
- Lobby/Entrance; When there are wet conditions outside that means that the lobby or the entrance to your building is definitely going to be wet and slippery. Make sure to have dry carpets at the entrance of your buildings, and a heating blower if necessary.
- Lighting; Make sure that the front and all-around your building is well lit, so that visitors and tenants can see where they are going and where to watch for ice.
- Surveillance Cameras; Unfortunately some people try to take advantage of these hard weathers and file bogus slip and fall claims against the landlord. Make sure to have cameras outside your building as well as in the lobby, entrance, hallways and stairwells. This can make all the difference of your claim being dismissed in a day, or dragged for a decade long, with excessively high payouts for undeserved settlements
- Boilers; If your boiler is in the basement of your building, make sure the temperature in the basement doesn’t drop to lower the 55°. If you’re having a hard time keeping the basement warm, a good idea would be to insulate all the pipes in the basement. This will also cut your energy bills.
- Vacant buildings; If you have a vacant building, or you know that one of your units are empty in these cold weathers, make sure to run the heat in the building so the temperature doesn’t drop and cause a pipe to burst. Also turn on the sink faucets from time to time to prevent the water in pipes from freezing and bursting. If you have a large building and it would be very costly to heat up the entire building, it would be advisable to drain the water from all pipes in the building. Don’t forget about those sprinklers. ‘Sprinkler Leakage’ will be excluded in most vacant building policies.
- Roof collapse; Ensure that your building’s roof is in good condition and can hold the weight of heavy snow & ice. Look for cracks in your roof which could lead to water leaking into your building. And it’s never too late to clean your gutters so they can get the water off your roof once the weather warms up a bit.