Thanks to Marc Insul and the Commercial Asset Preservation (CAP) Team for providing this great reminder for those of us charged with listing, managing or leasing a vacant property. Vacant properties can create a complex set of problems that are not often considered. For instance, we recall taking over a vacant big box and the owner wanted all of the floors cleaned and waxed, as well as a general overall clean up. It was the dead of winter in Chicago. Due to the freezing conditions water had been shut off to the property. Well, not having water turned on really made this project much more difficult than it sounded. The cleaning company had to actually bring a water supply! The point is the easiest tasks can be made complex depending on weather and other factors when dealing with vacant properties.

To Do ~

  • Consider the geographic location of the property
  • Protect the property from outside intrusion
  • Base the level of service upon whether or not the property has been winterized previously
  • Turn off or install an interior shut-off valve in the property to protect against the risk of the main water line to the building being turned on- Consider whether or not to maintain heat in the building
  • After the winterization is complete, conduct follow up inspections to check on the property (very important)

 

To Avoid ~

  • Winterizing a property that has not been secured
  • Shutting down a boiler unless absolutely necessary
  • Winterizing a fire suppression (sprinkler) system
  • Shutting off the water supply to a fire suppression system
  • Winterizing a property with shared water and occupied units
  • Leaving damaged plumbing un-repaired
  • Not attempting to use forced air through the plumbing lines even if there are visible damages
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