Getting your Rental Property Ready for Winter
To many householders, the onset of the winter months signals the fear of frozen pipes, broken boilers and expensive call-out charges. It won’t surprise you to learn that landlords are no different.
And, in fact, they’re probably even more concerned about the problems frozen pipes and cold weather can bring. That’s because they aren’t in the properties they own, keeping an eye on things themselves. Instead, they’ve entrusted the task to their tenants. Hopefully they’ve let their property to sensible tenants, but with many student properties out there it means there are plenty of flats out there with young people whose parents have always dealt with burst pipes etc in the past.
It makes sense then, if you’re a landlord, to prepare your property for winter well in advance. Here’s how we do it for our own student properties:
Draughtproof Doors and Windows
Make sure the windows and the doors to your rented property aren’t letting in the rain and cold winds. Insulate them by adding more putty and sealant in general or by getting them re-fitted if necessary. In terms of the latter option, it will cost you much less money in the long-term if the property goes on the develop damp problems. Then again, you may have tenants who move out, complaining their utility bills are so high.
Put lagging round the pipes to prevent the likelihood of a burst pipe during severe cold spells when a tenant may be back home visiting family. Don’t just insulate the pipes you can see though. Check for pipes under the floorboards and even in the loft (these are just as vulnerable to freezing as the pipes in the kitchen etc).
Get Regular Boiler and Heating Checks
An annual boiler check is a necessity and get the engineer to check the heating and pipes at the same time. A clogged-up radiator prevents heat from getting in to the room so make sure they are bled every now and again.
Show Tenants the Stopcock
Tenants should be aware of where the stopcock is to turn off the water should there be a burst pipe. At the same time show them what to do if there’s a gas emergency by cutting it off at the main. Give them a physical demonstration rather than relying on them reading the Home Pack when they move in.
Get Gutters Unblocked and Missing Roof Tiles Repaired
Water ingress from missing tiles and blocked gutters can lead to dampness and mould if not dealt with directly. And no landlord wants to have to deal with wet or dry rot at some point in the future. In additions, it’s unhealthy for tenants to be breathing in damp spores.
Maintaining Outside Lighting
Flood lights and motion sensor lights can be fab for highlighting gardens and any hazards they present at night – as well as being a deterrent for burglars. In winter they come in to their own though. This is when the light they provide can let you know what the ice is like on pathways and whether or not you have some a leaking roof, broken guttering or smashed roof tiles etc.
Keeping Paths and Driveways Clear of Ice and Snow
Remind your tenants to clear the pathway of snow and make sure there’s no black ice on the driveway. You don’t want to be having someone take legal action against you or your tenants because of an icy pathway that caused them to fall and break a leg etc. And it’s not just during winter that pathways become slippery – autumnal leaves can prove just as lethal when bunched up on concrete.
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