Preparing your Off-Campus Property for Winter Break
For many Cal U of PA students the only thing on their minds after completing a last final exam is to get home for the Winter Break. The 2016-17 winter break is four (4) weeks. The Office of Student Affairs takes this opportunity to remind students who intend to leave their rental property for extended periods to make preparations before departure.
#1 Temperature Control: Students should read the terms of their lease for any specific provisions regarding temperature control in the winter months and be sure to comply with the lease. In the absence of a specific lease provision, students should set the thermostat at a temperature that will be sure to keep the pipes from freezing. This temperature will vary depending on the condition of your rental property and the temperature outside. We recommend setting the thermostat on at least 60 degrees to ensure that pipes do not freeze, however, this temperature could be lower for a newer, well insulated rental unit. Students should also keep in mind that long absences and low temperatures can lead to musty or moldy conditions.
#2 Safety Precautions: An empty rental property for an extended period of time can increase the risk of criminal activity. We encourage students to remove valuable items from their rental properties. In addition, we encourage students to temporarily stop mail delivery and consider putting a few lights in the home on timers in order to give the appearance that the home is occupied to deter criminal activity. Most importantly lock your property, even if you are leaving for a short period of time. If you are responsible for snow removal, arrange for it to be removed in case of snow to give appearance someone is there.
#3 Notice to Landlord: Students should read the terms of their lease and determine if they are required to give notice to their landlord of an extended absence. If there is work that may need to be done in the unit this would be a good time to remind the landlord of the repairs needed. We recommend that all students notify their landlord in writing of their intention to be absent from their rental property over the holiday and indicate the time period, their home address and telephone number. In addition, we recommend that students include in this notice any problems with the property that might make temperature control more difficult, such as a broken window, drafts, etc. and request the landlord to check on their property if weather conditions become severe.
Lawrence J. Sebek
Associate Vice-President for Student Affairs