Take it from us, winters in New England can be tough. With the shorter days, colder temperatures, and #thundersnow blizzards, staying inside quickly becomes appealing, even for the most diehard New Englander. This makes it even more important to keep up with home maintenance, especially for renters.
Our best advice — see something, say something. Your landlord may be the one who is responsible for maintenance of your home, but if they miss something, you’re the one who ends up dealing with the repercussions. Here are a few things to think about as we hit the snowiest months of winter.
Taking the time to make sure your home is energy efficient will not only keep you warmer in the cold winter months, it’ll also save you money on heating bills! Consider investing in window coverings like blinds, shades or curtains that can help insulate your windows to keep warm air in. You should also inspect doors and windows for drafts and notify your landlord if you find any. In some cases, your landlord may be able to fix the problem, but if not, something as simple as a blanket stuffed under your door could help.
In general, landlords in MA are responsible for shoveling after it snows, but renters should always review the terms of their lease to make sure. Pay special attention to stairs, which could get icy during inclement weather … the last thing you need is someone slipping and falling in front of your own home!
Icicles & Ice Dams
Icicles can be extremely dangerous in the winter. Thawing icicles can fall from roofs causing potential injury or property destruction. They can also be indicators of an ice dam forming on your roof, which could lead to some major leaks if left unchecked. If you do notice icicles forming on your home, make sure to notify your landlord immediately.
Frozen pipes are one of the biggest hassles of a New England winter. If you know the temperature will be dipping below freezing and are worried about your pipes freezing, here are a few tips:
- Keep cabinet doors open under the sinks in your kitchen and bathroom to let warm air circulate around the pipes.
- Turn your heat up — your thermostat shouldn’t dip below 55 degrees in the winter.
- Ask your landlord about insulating any exposed pipes along exterior walls. You can easily find affordable pipe covers at your local hardware store.
- Keep the water dripping in your sinks. The flow of water can prevent your pipes from freezing.
In general, a broken or cracked window can be a pain any time of the year. In the winter, however, it can make an entire room freezing, putting your pipes in danger of bursting and costing you more in your heating bills. If you notice any cracks in your windows, notify your landlord immediately so they can begin to address the problem. In Massachusetts, it is mandatory for landlords to maintain all structural elements of a building, from doors to windows to ceilings, so that they exclude wind, rain, and snow. (See mass.gov’s list of Tenant Rights in MA.)
Smoke and Carbon Monoxide Detectors
Test your smoke and carbon monoxide detectors regularly to make sure they are up-to-date and working. If you notice that a detector is not working, let your landlord know so that they can replace it. Remember — carbon monoxide poisoning becomes an especially dangerous threat in the winter; make sure you have working detectors throughout your home.
One of our biggest tips for renters in winter is to get renters insurance! For less than the cost of one cup of coffee per week, you can insure your personal belongings while also getting liability coverage to help if you were ever taken to court over someone being injured in your residence. It’s a no-brainer, right? Visit our website at www.bostoninsurance.com to learn more about our renters insurance offerings.