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Leaves in the Gutters? Clean ‘Em Up!

Alexander Rain Gutter Full of Leaves Being Cleaned OutJust as autumn signals its coming and the leaves begin to drop, this can usually lead to gutters being jammed with debris. To make sure your Alexander rental property is preserved in good condition year after year, it is vital to make cleaning gutters a normal part of your property maintenance routine. But who should be responsible to clean them out? Although it would seem reasonable to ask your tenant to do the job, there are important reasons why you should not have them perform regular gutter maintenance. Regardless if they appear to have a clue with what they are doing, asking a tenant to clean your rental property’s gutters could lead to serious injury or property damage, both of which could result in expensive problems later.

Functioning gutters are an essential part of preventing expensive repairs. Overflowing gutters can lead to damaged foundations, roofs, and other structural elements of the property. They usually have the tendency to draw in insects and other pests, not to mention other health hazards like mold. When gutters are not cleaned on a routine basis, they can be the root cause for more serious problems that you might not be able to see until it’s too late.

Cleaning gutters is not a difficult task; however, it does require ample time and a clear grasp of how to do it properly.  The right equipment is required, and proper safety procedures should be observed. Most gutters can be cleaned with a ladder, hose or sprayer, and a trowel or plastic scoop. Using these tools, you can easily remove large debris from the gutters to keep water flowing in the right direction. It’s crucial to make sure that you move debris away from the downspout and check vertical pieces of the gutter for blockages. Flushing these parts with a hose can be quite effective in most cases. Other methodologies may use a power washer to get the more stubborn dirt out of gutters and downspouts but must be used with care or risk damaging the gutters or even the house itself.

This is one of the many reasons why asking your tenant to perform gutter maintenance is not a good idea. Your tenant may have no idea how to clean a gutter without damaging it, or even without causing damage to the roof, siding, and other areas of the house. Even tenants with good motives may accidentally cause damage that will be expensive to repair. Similarly, if a tenant cleans the gutters but does a not so great job of it, you may not see it now, but there is a problem for months or even years. Assuming the job has been done correctly could cost you months or even years down the road.

One more thing to consider is your tenant’s health and safety. To reach the gutters, it is often necessary to use a ladder and other equipment notorious for causing accidents and injuries. By one estimate, there are more than 36,000 deaths from falling off ladders in the United States every year. Ladder-related injuries are even higher, with more than 164,000 accidents reported annually. With so much risk at stake, it is not a good idea to ask your tenant to get on a ladder to do property maintenance on your rental. Should they fall and hurt themselves, you could be sued and found liable to pay their medical and legal expenses.

Cleaning the gutters on your rental property once or twice a year can help keep your tenants safe and avoid expensive repairs. Whether you do it yourself or hire a professional to do it for you, the time and costs that are associated are insignificant as compared to the consequences for not ensuring your gutters are properly maintained. At Real Property Management Hometown, we include regular gutter maintenance with our other quality property maintenance services in Alexander. With our assistance, you will have more time to focus on the more valuable aspects of your real estate investing business. For more information, contact us or call us at 501-701-4702 today.

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