With record high vacancy rates in the commercial market, more property investors these days have spaces that are vacant. While vacant spaces create challenges for property owners during every month of the year, the cold winter winter season presents unique issues for property owners.
If your building continues to have water service and has not been winterized, you will need to make sure your heat is set high enough to protect against pipes from freezing. Even if you have one vacant space amongst a larger building, examine the space for pipes running through as you may have water runs into other suites to keep from freezing. In empty structures, consider winterizing and turning off the water to the building. That way you don’t have to continuously inspect the property to make sure the heat is working all winter.
Don’t forget your sprinkler systems as a frozen sprinkler head will quickly flood a building.
Also consider snow and ice removal from the property. Does the parking lot still need to be plowed? Can a smaller area be plowed for building access and inspections rather than the entire lot? Does the local government require that you clear snow from sidewalks? Don’t forget your roof. If high snowfalls cause too much snow to accumulate on the roof, it could damage the structure or cave in the roof all together.
Winter weather creates many potential hazards for properties. With a little planning, you can reduce your stress and potential liability.