With the warm summer days behind us, the chill and dark of Autumn and Winter nights can change the look and feel of a property. The drop in temperature and increase in damp and wet weather can result in problems and issues with a property that weren’t present before.
Previous research by upad.co.uk found that around 50% of landlords fail to carry out routine maintenance on their property before the winter weather sets in, leading to expensive repairs and unhappy tenants.
Financially and practically, it makes sense for landlords to proactively take care of their properties during the Autumn and Winter months – essentially, this work is protecting their investment. To help you prepare rental homes for the cold weather, we provide some tips for landlords to follow.
Preventing Frozen or Burst Pipes
Frozen or burst pipes can have an enormous impact on the lives of tenants living in a property, as well as being a significant expense and inconvenience to a landlord.
It is best practice to protect and cover pipes before the weather becomes freezing, to reduce the likelihood of pipes becoming frozen or bursting. The best way to do so is to use affordable foam tubing. Not only does this provide the required protection, but it can also reduce condensation and lower the tenant’s energy bills – something they will thank you for.
Anything related to the boiler falls under the remit of the landlord. It is a sizeable financial investment and a large part of the functionality of a home. Although it is important to note that the tenant should carry a level of responsibility when it comes to being vigilant around any warning signs that the boiler isn’t working as it should be.
Landlords that are thinking about their ROI and long-term rental income should be investing in new boilers that are aligned with the required focus on EPC ratings, provide long term savings for the landlord and reduce monthly energy bills for tenants. These elements make the property more attractive when on the rental market.
Boilers need to be serviced every year without fail. By doing so, landlords can proactively keep on top of the maintenance of the heating system, offering peace of mind that there will be minimal nasty surprises in the future.
Inspect and Improve Insulation
Your rental property should be adequately insulated. This could mean largescale work, such as installing double-glazing, or more cost-effective options. Suggestions include adding more insulation to a loft, fixing any ill-fitting doors and windows that are causing drafts, adding heaving curtains to act as an insulating layer.
The loft really should be paid attention to – 25% of heat is lost through the roof, so by adding some extra lining or insulation, you could help keep tenants warm and create a homely, cosy rental property.
As one of the most reliable and enduring, not to mentioned most used, features of a property, radiators do encounter wear and tear. When the heating doesn’t work correctly – the first port of call should be taking a look at the radiators.
Radiators should be replaced between every 15-20 years, and regular maintenance is required to make sure they work correctly. This means bleeding them.
While bleeding radiators is usually left to tenants, many can be concerned about the execution and causing damage to flooring or radiators caps etc. when carrying out this task. Some landlords choose to have this done by trusted maintenance workers before the cold weather hits.
Proper ventilation is so crucial because condensation can become a serious problem. During the winter months, air must flow properly around the property to prevent damp patches in rooms known to be humid like bathrooms and kitchens.
As part of the winter maintenance, landlords should be checking that extractor fans are clean and in good working order.
Clear gutters and drains
Make sure that gutters, downspouts and drains are free from debris like leaves, moss and dirt to prevent build-ups that can cause leaks or block drains.
These features are the first line of defence against wet winter weather, carrying water away from walls and foundations, and letting them get blocked could be catastrophic.
This job involves working at height, so many landlords choose to leave it to the professionals.
Inspect the roof
It is worth giving the roof of property the once over before frost, snow, wind and rain and does damage.
Make sure that there are no trees that overhang the roof, and that there are no broken, loose or missing tiles. Inspect the flashing, a material used to protect the joints from water, used around chimneys and skylights. Changes in the weather can cause flashing to expand and contract and if not repaired where required, could cause leaks.
It is a good habit to make an annual call to your insurance provider to check everything is up to date, and that your policy offers the right protection for winter-related damage, especially if the property had a flat roof.
The right letting agent
It’s so important for landlords and tenants to have a good line of communication. This relationship can offer peace of mind to each party as they are both confident that the property is safe and secure, making the perfect home and a good investment.
The right letting agent will look after and nurture this relationship with the tenants, removing the pressure and the day-to-day communication and keeping a detailed record of maintenance and tenancy issues.
To learn more about the details of our tenant management service, you can take a look at our Landlords Page.
We hope these tips provide you with some great tips and advice to protect your rental property for the winter months and keep your tenants feeling happy in their home. If you are looking for further advice when it comes to rental property or tenant management, please contact a member of the team today.