As the warmer weather begins to roll around (finally!), it’s time to get your properties prepared for the summer months. For you and your tenants to fully enjoy everything that the summer has to offer, it’s important to remember that with warm weather comes unexpected troubles. By getting prepared before the season hits, you can better manage risks and enjoy summer to its fullest potential!
With that said, here are the most common summer claims and how you can avoid them:
1. Bike thefts
Bike thefts are the number one most common tenant insurance claim and summer is peak season! With more people biking in the warmer months, thieves see this as an opportunity to search for treasures that don’t belong to them.
Here’s how you can help your tenants avoid it from happening to them:
- Remind them of the risk! Simply knowing just how common this is can prevent careless mistakes. Remind them to always lock (or double lock!) their bikes onto bike racks while unattended!
- If your properties are in apartments, scope out your building to see if you have a storage room available—ideally a well-lit space with a security camera. That way, your tenants have a secure place to leave them. This also makes for a great selling feature in attracting new residents.
If permitted by the condo rules, the safest bet is encouraging tenants to store their bikes in their own units.
In addition to stealing bikes, summertime opportunists love the warmer months for breaking and entering vehicles and rental units. Innocent attempts to cool off by leaving a window open, or to save time by leaving things in your car can leave you at greater risk. Taking preventative measures not only protects your tenant’s belongings but also your property in the process. Here’s how you can help residents avoid break-ins:
- Remind them of the risk! Simply reminding tenants of the increased summer risk can help prevent people from letting their guard down and making themselves a vulnerable target. Having access to an underground garage or unit on a higher floor does not make you immune!
- Remind them to bring important objects from their vehicles inside. This not only removes the risk of the items being stolen but reduces their chance of being a target for a break-in attempt. What can’t be brought in should be kept hidden. Even unsuspecting objects like change in the cupholder can increase the attractiveness to a thief.
- If your tenants like to leave their windows open, advise them to open them no bigger than what a human could fit through! Alternatively, you can suggest purchasing a fan to avoid unit break-ins altogether.
3. Deck and balcony fires
Sitting outside is one of the best parts of summer! However, outdoor activities like BBQing and smoking are prone to fire-related damage. Help your tenants prevent hot dog grilling mishaps by reminding them of these few things:
- If you allow balcony barbecues, send out a reminder with key safety tips. Key tips include cleaning off dust and debris that may have built up over the winter months, replacing propane tanks at least every 10 years, placing them at least a meter away from the building and keeping other flammable items away from the grilling station (this includes plants and textiles as well as paper products!).
- Communicate a very strict policy on the proper disposal of cigarettes. Cigarettes tossed off of a balcony have a common tendency to land on other balconies and catch fire.
- Encourage tenants to get balcony furniture made with fire-resistant materials and keep a small personal fire extinguisher in their units (you can get them at Costco for less than $30!).
4. Wildfires and other natural disasters
There are about 8,000 wildfires in Canada every year. While we can’t always prevent natural disasters from happening, we can dramatically reduce the personal impact they have on us. Being prepared, especially if you live on the West Coast, can dramatically affect the time and effort it takes to recover from a terrible situation. Here’s what your tenants CAN do:
- Have tenant insurance! There are too many potential scenarios to list here, but let’s say your tenants had to temporarily evacuate their units due to a wildfire or flooding. The Evacuation Order Additional Living Expense coverage of a tenant insurance policy is designed to cover the cost of temporary accommodations while evacuated!
- Store digital copies of all key documents (ex. ID, lease agreements, etc.) on a cloud-based service like Google Drive or Dropbox.
- Review and follow your local emergency preparedness recommendations. The Government of Canada website is a good place to start!
Remember, the less help you need in an emergency, the more help can be provided for others!
5. Water damage to floors
Last but not least, water damage claims are huge in the summer and some of them stem from tenants attempting DIYs. For example, tenants have been known to try to install or repair their own A/C! However, if installed incorrectly, condensation can cause damage to the unit’s floors.
Another common summer claim comes from attempts to update/fix the plumbing systems. If done incorrectly, you guessed it, many cause damage to their unit floors as a result of broken pipes or leaks.
Here’s what you can do to avoid these issues:
- If tenants are struggling with their A/C or plumbing, or want to install a new one, ensure they hire a professional to get the job done.
- If your rentals have in-unit A/C, do a quick round of testing before the warmer days hit to avoid DIY repairs. The same goes for plumbing, double-check that everything is working smoothly!
We hope these common summer claims give you a head start in preparing your tenants for the season ahead. Taking the right preventative measures can help you and your tenants walk into summer with not just some shades and sunscreen, but also that extra confidence knowing you took the right steps to protect yourself!