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Leaves in the Gutters? Clean ‘Em Up!

Bar Harbor Rain Gutter Full of Leaves Being Cleaned OutThe moment autumn signals its coming and the leaves begin to fall, this can frequently mean that gutters are congested with debris. To have your Bar Harbor rental property in excellent condition year after year, it is vital to make cleaning gutters a routine part of your property maintenance routine. But who should be responsible to clean them out? You could be tempted to ask your tenant to do the job as it feels right; however, there are important reasons why you should not have them perform regular gutter maintenance. Even though they seem to be capable of 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 end up with damaged foundations, roofs, and other structural elements of the property. They can also bring in a lot of insects and other pests, not to mention other health hazards like mold. When gutters are not cleaned on a routine basis, they can trigger serious problems that you might not be able to see until it’s very late.

Cleaning gutters is not a difficult task, but it demands time and a thorough understanding of how to do it correctly.  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. By means of these tools, you can easily remove large debris from the gutters to keep water flowing in the right direction. It’s important 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 methods 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 part of why asking your tenant to perform gutter maintenance is not a good idea. Your tenant may have no idea about 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 who have the best intentions may accidentally cause damage that will be expensive to repair. In the same way, if a tenant cleans the gutters but does a poor job of it, you may not understand, but there is a problem for months or even years to come. Assuming the job has been done correctly could cost you months or even years down the road.

One more aspect 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 at stake, it is not a good idea to ask your tenant to get on a ladder to perform 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 high-priced repairs. Whether you do it yourself or hire a professional to do it for you, the time and costs involved are small compared to the consequences for not ensuring your gutters are properly maintained. At Real Property Management Acadia, we include regular gutter maintenance with our other quality property maintenance services in Bar Harbor. With our help, you will have more time to direct your efforts on the more valuable aspects of your real estate investing business. For more information, contact us or call us at 207-561-7482 today.

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