Tips for Taking Care of Your New Home
Getting to know your residence
When you move into a property, it is helpful to know where important items are located. Take the time to know or locate the:
- Main circuit breaker in the event power goes out.
- Gas shut off valve – turn off during emergencies/disasters for safety.
- GFI plug(s) – so you can check them if your plugs or appliances in the bathroom, kitchen, patio or garage fail to work.
- Electric and/or gas meters to check your utility bills.
- The main water shutoff valve in case of major flooding.
- Water shutoff valves below the sinks and behind toilets in case of water leaks.
- Method of cleaning for the oven so you use the right products.
- Time bake knobs on the oven – in the event the oven will not work, these may be on.
If you are uncertain about any of the above items, contact your LPM management team for help.
It is the LPM policy that tenants do not do repairs or alterations. You agreed to this in the rental agreement/lease. If you do want to make a special request for renovation or repair to the property:
- Submit your request in writing before making any changes.
- Do not proceed with any work until you are notified by LPM.
- LPM will consult the owners to see if the request is acceptable to them.
- If the request is acceptable to the owner, tenants must do one of the following prior to vacating the property:
- Leave the alterations if this is part of the owner’s condition to accept the alteration/repair.
- Return the property to its original state if this is part of the owner’s condition to accept the alteration/repair and pay for any necessary repairs to restore the alteration/repair to its original state.
- Sign an LPM agreement regarding the alteration/repair.
Tenant Maintenance Responsibilities+
The property owner has a duty to maintain your residence to uniform codes of safety for landlord/tenant law. Therefore, LPM has provided you with Work Order Requests when there are legitimate repairs. We want you to report maintenance items.
However, there are items that are the tenant’s responsibility and we have listed them again (please refer to the 5-page maintenance addendum for more details on the list below):
- Replacing smoke alarm batteries
- Replacing light bulbs with the correct size.
- Replacing furnace filters, if applicable, every 6 months, and every month if there is smoking in the property.
- Reporting non-functioning smoke alarms immediately if batteries do not solve the problem
- Reporting all necessary repairs.
- Professional steam cleaning and spot cleaning of carpets while residing in the property.
- Normal insect control.
- Normal rodent control, such as mice.
- Landscape cleanup if a service is not provided.
- Reporting lack of landscape cleanup if a service IS provided in your rental agreement.
- Landscape watering unless there is a homeowner’s association.
- Reporting malfunctioning irrigation systems or sprinklers, even if it is the responsibility of an association.
- Disposal of all garbage in the proper receptacles and using the weekly pick up service
- Disposal of animal feces on the property even if you do not have a pet.
- If the residence has a fireplace, use caution and care when operating the fireplace and disposing of ashes or coals. Do not dispose of coals in the fireplace until they have cooled outside for a week.
- Check to see if damper is open before starting a fire in the fireplace.
- Disposing of toxic waste properly in accordance with local and county laws.
Procedures for Requesting Maintenance
Before calling LPM+
- Determine if there is a true emergency or a non-emergency.
- Check to see if you can determine the cause of the problem that you are experiencing, unless you have an emergency. Read examples of various problems in your maintenance addendum.
If there is an Emergency+
There are few emergencies. An emergency is a life-threatening situation such as a fire, flood and/or uncontrollable water, electrical problem, smell of gas, etc:
- Emergencies causing immediate danger such as fire, call 911.
- Emergencies involving gas call the gas company and if necessary, 911.
- Emergencies involving IMMEDIATE electrical danger, call the utility service or 911.
- After contacting one of the above sources, then call the LPM office and report the problem.
- Emergencies such as backed up plumbing, flooding, call the LPM office 630-324-4267, and listen for emergency instructions and if necessary, call 911.
- An emergency is NOT an overly hot unit, but LPM recognizes this is important and will make it a priority with maintenance staff to have the heat working as soon as is possible.
- An emergency is not air-conditioning, non-working dishwasher, sprinklers, etc.
- A LPM representative will assign a LPM employed Maintenance Technician to contact you.
- LPM Maintenance Technicians are required to make appointments with tenants.
- Remember, this is a NON-EMERGENCY item and in most cases, the maintenance team will not be able to make an appointment immediately.
- Failure to show at an appointment can mean a charge to you. Therefore, be certain to call the LPM office as soon as possible if you are unable to make the appointment.
- If you do not hear from the maintenance team within 5 – 7 business days, call the LPM office and inform your Property Manager that a maintenance staff member has not contacted you.
- The Property Manager will contact the maintenance staff to find out the cause of the delay, and then inform you when to expect maintenance to call.
- After a repair has taken place, if you continue to have trouble, call LPM and state you had a recent repair but there is still a problem.
- Recent repair means within the last 60 days and pest control work means within 30 days.
- If you fail to report an unsolved recent repair, and there is further damage or expense, you may be responsible for the cost, per your rental agreement.
Preventative Cleaning Tips+
Cleaning tips were included in the maintenance addendum with your rental/lease agreement. Here are more tips:
Cleaning is easier when you use a “preventative approach."
- Always put away food and wipe up food debris.
- Clean pet bowls regularly to avoid attracting ants and other insects.
- Do not allow grease to build up in kitchens; use a sponge and soapy water regularly on counter tops, stovetops, and hood filters.
- Avoid cooking with very high heat. This will add to more grease build-up and cause damage to appliances. It can also be dangerous.
- Avoid mildew by venting rooms and bathrooms properly, particularly after baths and showers.
- Clean bathroom tile or other surfaces regularly to prevent the buildup of grime.
- Clean toilets regularly to avoid build up of grime, rings, and mildew.
- Mop tile, wood, and linoleum to avoid “dust bunnies” and the buildup of grime.
- Do not use wax on linoleum or tile.
- Do not use “cleaning products” on tile.
- Vacuum all flooring regularly, particularly carpets. This will save in carpet cleaning bills.
- Regularly pick up debris and pet feces in outside areas.
Additional Cleaning Tips+
It is not always necessary to purchase expensive cleaning products. Vinegar, baking soda, ammonia, and salt are some inexpensive cleaning products with many uses. They also are helpful for people who have allergies to cleaning products. They can be better for the environment than commercial products.
- Air freshener:
- Place a bowl of vinegar in the kitchen or bathroom to absorb odors
- For a great once-a-month drain cleaner, pour 1/2 cup baking soda into the drain, follow with 1/2 cup white vinegar -- it will foam. Cover and let sit 30 minutes and then flush with cool water.
- For stubborn, slow-running drains, pour 1-cup baking soda and 1-cup salt down the drain. Follow this with 2 quarts boiling water. Let sit 30 minutes, and then flush with cool water.
- Tile countertops:
- To clean ceramic tile where mold and mildew accumulate use a combination of 1/4 cup baking soda, 1/2 cup white vinegar, 1-gallon warm water, and 1-cup ammonia.
- Alternatively, regularly clean kitchen surfaces by using a spray bottle mixed with ½-cup vinegar and a quart of water.
- Glass cleaner:
- When glass-cleaning products leave residue on bathroom mirrors, mix 3 tablespoons of vinegar with a quart of water in a clean plastic spray bottle.
- Spray glass and wipe with a clean paper towel.
- Empty the dishwasher, pour in a ¼ cup of vinegar, and run the dishwasher again.
- Even if you prefer not to use the dishwasher, run at least once a week to keep seals from becoming hard and cracked.
- Clean regularly and place a cup of baking soda in a bowl on a refrigerator shelf to absorb odors.
- A cup of dry unused coffee grinds can also absorb odors when placed on a refrigerator shelf.
- Washing machine:
- A half cup of baking soda can be added to the washing machine with regular detergent to help with mild odors
- Remove waterline marks in the toilet bowl by pouring in 2 cups of white vinegar. Let soak overnight, then flush to rinse. If this does not work, rub the waterline mark with a wet pumice stone.
- Carpet stains:
- Vacuum the carpet if the stain is dry.
- If the stain is still wet, blot gently to remove excess – blot, do NOT rub.
- Lightly soak the carpet stain with clean water first to remove the stain – blot, do NOT rub.
- If the stain remains, mix a 3 Tablespoons of vinegar with a quart of water in a spray bottle and spray the stain; blot again; do NOT rub.
- If this fails, consult a professional carpet cleaner immediately; the longer you wait may mean the stain may not come out.
- Carpet odor:
- Regular vacuuming cures most carpet odors, but if carpet odors persist, lightly sprinkle the carpet with baking soda and vacuum thoroughly, removing all baking soda from carpet. Repeat if necessary.
Energy Saving Tips
Saving water is important for the environment and can mean a lower utility bill for your residence as well:
- Always report water leaks to LPM as soon as possible.
- Report water dripping under sinks.
- Report running toilets, they are big water wasters.
- Report malfunctioning sprinklers.
- Report standing pools of water.
- Report malfunctioning water appliances such as dishwashers and washing machines that come with the property.
- Run the dishwasher when it is fully loaded.
- Check water hoses on washing machines for leaks; change hoses every three years.
- Adjust the water level to match the load using less water for small loads.
- Avoid using flushing toilets to dispose of ordinary trash.
- Take shorter showers.
- Avoid letting the water continually run while shaving, brushing your teeth, or washing your face.
- Be sure your water heater temperature is set properly. Note: do not turn the water heater up to “high,” this is a dangerous temperature level.
- Counsel all children on how to prevent wasting water.
- Do not “over water” landscaping; it is not healthy for plants and simply wastes water.
To Lower Air-Conditioning Bills:+
- During warm or hot months, close the windows and doors to your home early in the day to “keep cool air in,” particularly when the air-conditioner is running.
- Close window coverings on the sunny side of the house during different times of the day; this can lower the temperature dramatically.
- Replace the air filter often and with the right size, at a minimum of every three months, monthly if you smoke. A clean filter helps the air-conditioner to run more efficiently.
- When leaving your residence, turn the air-conditioner up a few degrees; a closed house without activity normally stays cooler. This is particularly important when going on vacation.
- There is no reason to keep the residence in a frigid state while you are gone, but do not turn the air off on very hot days – it will only take longer and more energy to cool down.
To Lower Heating Bills:+
- During the cooler months, keep all windows and doors tightly closed.
- Report any major drafts to the LPM office.
- Use a “reasonable” level of heat in the residence. Sometimes, turning down the heat just a few degrees can reduce an energy bill.
- Turn the heat down during the night and use warm covers and comforters.
- When leaving home, turn down the temperature on the thermostat.
- Do not turn the heat completely off. It will take more heat for a cold house than it will save. In addition, this could cause pipes to freeze, which will cause more problems.
- If there is a fireplace, close the damper if you are not using it, but please be sure to open the fireplace if you do start a fire.
- Replace the furnace filter often, at a minimum of every three months. A clean filter helps the furnace to run more efficiently
The safety of you and your family is important to LPM and many things can affect it. Here are some tips to follow:
- Unplug all heat-producing appliances like toasters, irons, and coffee makers when they are not in use to prevent fire hazards.
- Never leave a stove or oven unattended; turn off all stove and oven appliances when you leave the house.
- Never leave heating pads and electric blankets on indefinitely and turn them off when you leave the residence to prevent fire hazards.
- Never leave water running unattended in a plugged bathtub or when leaving the residence.
- If you have an upstairs bathroom and you see water in the ceiling on the floor below, particularly in a light fixture, report the leak immediately to LPM.
- Do not operate electrical appliances while standing or sitting in water.
- Avoid using blow dryers, curling irons, radios, TVs, or other appliances while in a bathtub or over a sink filled with water.
- If you have small children, use child protector plugs when you are not using outlets
- Do not overload extension cords with too many appliances.
- Place lamps on level surfaces and use the correct wattage.
- Avoid running extension cords over walkways, under rugs, or any other place that could cause tripping.
- If you suspect an electrical problem, report it to LPM immediately.
- Do not remove smoke alarms, particularly if they are beeping. Smoke alarms are for safety and removing them can endanger all residents and guests. Change the batteries if needed.
- Do not allow children to leave toys on walkways and sidewalks.
- Replace outside light bulbs so you can utilize lights properly when it is dark.
- Report any exposed tree roots to the LPM office
- Keep a portable fire extinguisher in the kitchen and the garage; they are available in hardware supply stores.
- If you use a grill or BBQ, use common sense, never leave grills unattended.
- If you have a fireplace, be sure to store hot ashes and coals away from the residence. Do not place ashes in garbage receptacles unless certain they are cold.
- Do not store fireplace wood against the residence.
- Always be certain the damper is open before starting a fire in the fireplace.
- Do not build “roaring” fires in the fireplace; build reasonable fires suited to the size of the fireplace.
- Do not leave candles unattended. Blow them out if you leave a room. Do not use candles around young children.
When going on vacation, here are items to check before leaving:
- If going out of town for an extended period, please notify LPM how long you will be gone, and supply an emergency telephone number. Then should any problems arise concerning your residence, there is someone to contact.
- Check your rent payment to ensure it will not become delinquent. It would be a sad thing to come home to a late notice and charges.
- Notify all necessary parties such as your next-door neighbors, the paper delivery person, the post office, or any related service people. By doing so, you will avoid any panic that something is wrong.
- Select someone to pick up items on your doorstep to avoid giving signals to dishonest people.
- If leaving a vehicle in the driveway remove any valuables and garage door openers that can be stolen, giving access to your home.
- Put garbage cans away or arrange for someone to take care of it.
- Place valuables and jewelry in a safe deposit box.
- Avoid leaving a message on your answering device telling people you are out of town and for how long.
- Set timers on interior lights, to deter burglars.
- Be sure to check all windows, window locks, and doors before leaving.
- If you have an alarm, be sure to set it.
- Turn off the water valve to your washing machine.
- Turn off all appliances, large and small, such as stove burners, coffee pots, irons, curling irons, etc.
- Unplug TVs and computers in the event of lightning or power surges.
- Turn your water heater to low or “vacation” setting, but do not turn the water heater off.
- Anything else living in your house besides you, such as plants or pets? Then be sure to water plants and have someone take care of your animals. Do not leave pets in the residence unless a reliable person is going to care for them daily
Everyone enjoys the different holidays, but it is important to exercise care during the celebrations and remove decorations when each season is over.
- Hang lights and decorations properly and carefully.
- Before hanging, check for bad plugs and loose wires. If you find defects, dispose of the lights.
- Only use lights and decorations during holiday seasons; remove them immediately when the season ends.
- Dispose of holiday trees properly; never burn them in a fireplace.
- If you use extension cords, do not overload, do not staple them to the residence, and if outside, use only cords approved for outside use.
- Never leave holiday lights on when leaving your residence to avoid fire danger.
- Do not use fireworks around the property. They are dangerous and could cause fire and other damage.
Unfortunately, emergencies and disasters happen all around the world. The best solution is to be prepared. In the back of this Handbook, you will find a convenient Emergency/Disaster Checklist that has items to do before and during an emergency/disaster.
We are also providing you with our “Resident Emergency/Disaster Handbook.” There you will find a wealth of information on how to handle a true emergency or disaster.
There are different emergencies
- Maintenance emergencies:
- We have reviewed maintenance emergencies in this handbook.
- Please follow the maintenance instructions and call LPM when appropriate.
- LPM requests that you treat the LPM staff courteously while under stress of the situation – we will do everything we can to help you as soon as possible.
- Area emergencies or disasters:
- Be prepared and use the LPM Emergency/Disaster checklist enclosed with this information.
- When major emergencies or disasters such as a hurricane, tornado, earthquake, flooding or some other force of nature occur everyone experiences great inconvenience and difficulty. Remember this and be considerate of others and the degrees of different problems.
- LPM requests that you call emergency services first in a disaster.
- Then notify the LPM office as soon as possible and describe what has happened.
- LPM will assign priorities to work and during an area emergency/disaster, will work to assist you as much as possible
- When calling the LPM office, we ask you to be patient and calmly state what problems you are experiencing. We will handle the problems as quickly as possible.