Landlords and property managers should prepare property for winter to avoid expensive repairs by carrying out routine maintenance checks.
Gutters, drains and roofs
Clear them from debris such as leaves and mud to minimise the risk of water damage. Planning six-monthly checks of drains for leaf build-up that could block drains and cause leaks.
Make a similar regular date with your roof. Loose or missing shingles may lead to leakages with rain or melting snow, and flat roofs may be prone to leaks after heavy rain.
Also look out for ailing tree close to the property as they can easily fall in high winds.
Heating and lighting
Boiler failure is the most common issue we deal with and generally happen when demand is high in the colder months. It’s advisable to have your boiler serviced at the end of October to flag issues early. This should also include a health check on the pipes and radiators too. Having some form of landlords heating cover maybe a good idea…
Set the property’s heating to come on for a few hours each day on low heat to prevent pipes from freezing. Having a lamp or 2 on a set timer in the evening will help to avoid break-ins or squatters.
Condensation can also be a major problem. It’s important to allow air flow in the winter months or you will end up with nasty damp patches on the walls – particularly in high-humidity areas such as bathrooms and kitchens. Ensure extractor fans are working and encourage tenants to ventilate the property properly. Tenants can be tempted to dry clothes in bedrooms with windows closed, especially in houses of multiple occupation (HMOs) and this can cause major condensation issues.
At this time of year it can be a good opportunity to check your bills and negotiate a deal that better suits your needs and there should be no disruption while you switch.
Alarms & Security
Passive Infrared security lights should be checked and potentially changed to LED to save energy if Halogen fitted.
Every habitable floor of a rental property must have a working smoke alarm – and any room with a solid fuel appliance (e.g., a working fireplace) should be equipped with a carbon monoxide alarm. While testing your alarms, check the burglar alarm is working for added tenant reassurance on dark nights.
Ensure your current home insurance is up to date and check your policy gives adequate protection for any winter-related damages.
Avoid Christmas Day Issues
It’s advisable for landlords to check in with their tenant in the days running up to Christmas. Check everything is working, check they have spare keys and confirm the procedure in writing of how you would like them to deal with emergencies.”
We’d be interested in your thoughts and experiences with property in winter. Please comment below…