Maintaining your property is one of the most important and time-consuming aspects of being a landlord. This becomes even more apparent in winter due to the new host of issues its infamous weather brings us each year.
The reality of such property problems during winter can feel daunting to face alone, which is why we’ve come up with 7 tips to help you maintain your property in the cold and harsh conditions that we all bear each year.
Hopefully our tips will either help you feel more at ease as a new landlord, or will serve as a reminder of the important things to consider in winter even as a seasoned landlord.
Read on to see how you can combat the effects of winter, protect your property and keep your tenants safe and happy.
Inspect your insulation
Insulation is vital to the warmth of your property. Therefore, the colder it gets, the more important it becomes to have good insulation.
A number of small birds and mammals have the potential to displace and dislodge the insulation in roofs by consistent perching and scampering.
Just as we can’t change the weather, we can’t change nature. Fortunately, you can check the status of your insulation and, if appropriate, make long-term repairs.
This will also be appreciated by the tenant, and less money spent on heating bills will be an incentive for them rent your property for longer.
Be punctual with pipes
Making sure everything is in order with your pipes is important, we can’t stress this point enough. This is because pipes are not only responsible for the flow of hot and cold water in your house, but can also potentially be a source of severe damage to your property if they leak or burst.
Where possible, cease the flow and run the taps dry for any exterior pipes of your property. This is to ensure that any remaining water doesn’t freeze and then damage your pipes. Otherwise, this could result in pipes bursting and other potentially dangerous consequences.
Inform tenants to ensure a warm temperature is maintained if they are away from the property during winter months, they should be more than understanding once you explain the problems that frozen pipes can pose.
Be prepared for power cuts
There’s not much worse than, when you’re relaxing at home, experiencing a power outage. This annoyance is magnified in winter, which is when they tend to happen more often.
Make sure you discuss the possibility of power cuts with your tenants, and to contact you via text message if this happens on a regular basis. This is the best way to keep them prepared for this eventuality, you can even go beyond the call of duty and give them a torch to use just in case.
Act now on niggles
If you have minor issues with the property that you’ve been looking to fix for a while, we recommend that you fix them sooner rather than later.
Things like loose roof tiles can cause serious damage to property and people if blown off in strong winds, so it's worth taking the time to check.
If you take care of the small problems now, bigger, more expensive problems won’t arise later. Plus, your tenants won’t have to deal with any unwanted drafts!
Release trapped air in radiators
Also known as radiator bleeding, this process is important to the condition of a radiator throughout winter due to the complications that cold and extreme weather can otherwise cause.
One of the potential problems is trapped air, which stop radiators from working properly (e.g. cold patches). If you allow trapped air in a radiator to go unreleased, you run the serious risk of having a cold property, unhappy tenants and a hefty price to pay for repair!
Releasing the trapped air from radiators and having them serviced on an annual basis will prevent the nightmare that is having broken radiators in winter from becoming a reality.
Be even more careful with an empty property
Landlords never want to void periods, but this issue becomes more important than rental payments alone in the winter season.
This is because without tenants living in the property, you may find it harder to spot any problems the cold weather could be causing as a result.
If your property is on the market or the tenants are away for a substantial amount of time, arrange frequent inspections over winter to help save a significant amount of time, money and stress.
Inform and update your tenants
Keeping your tenants informed on typical winter problems – and updating them fully on changes you make to their home – is one of the best bets for safeguarding your property in winter time.
If your tenants know what they can do when the symptoms of winter strike, this will improve the chances of your property’s safety in your absence, and give you both peace of mind.
Creating and providing your tenant with a guide that includes maintenance tips, simple boiler instructions, and the locations of stopcocks can really make the difference when it comes to thorough property maintenance and being a responsible landlord.
Want more advice and support?
Our Resource Centre has plenty of information on a range of topics to help you with letting property, particularly when it comes to dealing with tenancy deposit disputes. Find out more about how to avoid, and prepare for such cases in our Disputes Hub here.