If your vacation rental property is seasonal, you can limit your risk of losses by taking common-sense precautions when you close the property for the season. This post shares tips for winterizing property and precautions to minimize theft or vandalism when the cabin is empty.
When you own seasonal vacation rental property, the steps you take to prepare it for the off-season matter.
Simple actions can help ensure your property is in peak rental condition when your busy season begins again, so you are less likely to have to deal with unplanned downtime on your rental calendar. This can give vacationers a better experience, which in turn could lead to increased rental revenues for you.
Being proactive and taking common-sense precautions also help lower your risk of loss related to property damage, theft, and vandalism, as well as personal injury. In fact, good property maintenance practices are the key to mitigating liability hazards and claims by removing hazards that could cause bodily injury to guests.
Follow these six steps to prepare your property for the off-season:
- Clean. While you already make sure your property is cleaned in-between guests, you likely don’t have time during your busy months to do a thorough cleaning. The off-season is the perfect time to clean those things that can be overlooked when you have back-to-back rentals, including underneath and behind appliances, dryer vents, air ducts, and more.
- Inspect. Vacation rental property off-season gives you an opportunity to make sure the HVAC unit, water heater, water softener, sump pump, washer/dryer, kitchen appliances, fireplaces, and electronics are in good working order and arrange for repairs or tune-ups as needed. Inspect the entire property, indoors and out, to identify any potential safety hazards, replace furnace filters, smoke and carbon monoxide detector batteries and burned out light bulbs, or repair features that have simply become worn down with time and use.
- Conduct Outdoor Maintenance. Trim shrubs and bushes, clean the gutters and roof, clear walkways, and deal with any potential pest infestations before they can become problems. Don’t forget about outdoor amenities like swimming pools and hot tubs, draining and covering them when not in use for an extended period of time.
- Consider Enhancements. Many vacation rental property owners also use the off-season to apply fresh paint, replace carpet or flooring, and otherwise give their properties a face-lift to make them more appealing to guests.
- Winterize. If it is used exclusively or primarily in the summer months, winterizing your vacation rental property takes a little effort but can eliminate problems and headaches later. Turn off water and other utilities, make sure windows and doors are securely locked, close storm shutters, unplug appliances, and drain water lines if your property is located in a cold climate. You should also set the thermostat to an appropriate level to maintain a safe air temperature inside the property. This can avoid damage from excessive heat or cold temperatures.
- Monitor the Property. Consider using a security alarm system for your property in the off-season. Doing so can help deter vandals and thieves. If you live far from your vacation rental, you may also want to hire either a property management company or a caretaker who can conduct periodic checks of your property when it’s not being rented.
Of course, despite your best efforts, things can still go awry with vacation rental property. When they do, it’s comforting to have vacation rental insurance in place to limit your out-of-pocket losses. For more tips on how to help you maintain your vacation rental property and grow your rental business, visit CBIZ Vacation Rental Insurance’s Rental Resources page today.
This blog may contain scenarios that are provided as examples only. In an actual claim situation, coverage is subject to the terms, conditions and exclusions of the policy issued. The information provided is general in nature and may be affected by changes in law or the interpretation of such laws. The reader is advised to contact a professional prior to taking any action based upon this information.
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