This article is intended to provide a reminder about the risks associated with winter freezing in apartments, apartment buildings and all rental units. The biggest winter related issues that we typically face in Canadian winters are problems that arise from freezing pipes that burst and cause floods. The consequent losses can be substantial with many thousands of dollars being spent to repair the damage caused by water as well replacing the items in the rental unit that are destroyed by water.
Tenants who are unfamiliar with the climate may not think twice about opening a window and "forgetting" about it because it feels warm out. These same tenants, in the interests of saving heating costs, may not appreciate that turning off the heat or turning it down really low may cause a part of the apartment to freeze and therefore cause a water pipe to burst. Be aware that in Ontario you can not leave windows open for any length of time in the winter. Wildly fluctuating temperatures can freeze an apartment and the pipes, and burst the pipes, even if the window is open just a crack. Be aware that a window that is only open a little bit can spot freeze pipes in the walls around the window and cause an undue amount of damage. Care should also be taken with the furnace to ensure that you don't turn it off or down too low. In some apartments closing a bedroom door or laundry room door or the back of the house can restrict air circulation enough to freeze a room and the pipes in that room. This can be a problem if you go away for a few days and the air doesn't get to move around the house. For tenants, the biggest surprise can be that they are responsible not only for the loss of their own property but the landlord or its insurance company can also sue you for the cost of repairs and the losses sustained by other tenants in the building. This is a good reason to have tenant's insurance to cover you for any mistakes that you might make. On the point of insurance, tenants package, take a close look at the wording and requirements of the policy for holidays and leaving the unit for extended periods of time. Most insurance policies require the owner or tenant to have a responsible person enter the unit on a daily basis if the tenant or owner is absent for more than a few days. Check your own policies to see what the time-line is---it is often 48 hours or less and not the 7 days that many people assume. Damage caused by freezing happens regularly and often in Ontario. It's not always the result of fault--sometimes the furnace breaks or the thermostat gets stuck. However the freezing happens though, the expense can be substantial. Take a little time to make sure that your property/apartment has been properly winterized and that you are ready for the below zero temperatures.
If you are going to be away from your unit from 2 to 7 days or longer please advise us as soon as possible so we can do regular check ups on your unit as per our lease and insurance policies. Failure to notify us of any absences could result in your lease and insurance being void.
If you have any questions or concerns, call us 519-704-0213 or via firstname.lastname@example.org