Condominium living essential means less stress and less to worry about especially when it comes to repair and maintenance, and it certainly is a preferred method of home ownership for many, especially snowbirds.
Even though maintenance of exterior services continues to coast on autopilot while you’re down south (for the condo owner, not for the hustling property manager!), there are several things that condo owners must be aware of before packing the golf clubs, crocs, and sunscreen and leaving behind the cold Manitoba winter.
The first task is to check your homeowners’ insurance. Make sure you understand what is required of your personal policy to maintain your insurance while you’re away. Most insurance companies require house checks to be carried out on a regular basis if you’re away from the premises for an extended period of time. Even if house checks aren’t required by your insurance company, your condo corporation may require them. Having some check your property on a regular basis may prevent damage that you could be liable for. For instance, they may discover a leak in the hot water tank and get it fixed before it leaks down to the unit below or next door.
The interior of the condo is, as you know, your responsibility. It is important to maintain a comfortable temperature inside your unit to ensure that pipes and water lines do not freeze so shutting off your heat completely is not recommended.
A common practice for snowbirds to avoid the hassle of a water leak or burst pipe is to shut the water off. However, before you reach for the off lever, make sure you don’t house the main line to your neighbours’ unit as well. Quite often, the main water shut off is shared between several units. If you’re unsure whether or not your valve will affect any other condo units, contact your property manager.
If you rent out your unit or have house-sitters while you are away, make sure they are aware of the rules governing the use of the unit and common areas. Fines levied by the condominium corporation are ultimately the responsibility of the homeowner, not the tenant.
And lastly, remember to leave emergency contact information with your property manager. The property managers of a condo corporation will not have a key to your individual unit, so if you’re out of town and need to gain access to your unit for an emergency, the property manager will need the name and phone number of someone in close vicinity.
So, with all these tasks taken care of, enjoy the sunshine and be rest assured that you’ve done everything you need to in order to keep your home-sweet-home safe.