5 winter property maintenance tips for landlords
21 January 2019 | Admin
Taking the time to arrange for routine maintenance checks and deal with any issues that arise can mean avoiding costly and disruptive crises for property landlords.
Getting into the habit of regularly inspecting your properties, particularly over the winter months, means you can keep them in good condition and minimise any nasty surprises.
Use our 5-point checklist to make sure you’re ready for the cold weather season.
1. Roof and walls
Make checks to the roof and walls before the winter sets in and arrange for repairs to any damaged roof tiles, chimney pots or pointing. Unused chimneys should be capped with ventilated cowls to prevent water, leaves, birds etc. getting in, but to allow air flow around the chimney.
Make sure anything attached to the roof is secure, such as television aerials. While checking the roof, look at nearby trees and see if they need trimming or surgery if they are overhanging the property or looking sickly in any way.
2. Guttering and drains
Gutterings should be regularly cleared to remove leaves and moss, otherwise they will overflow and bow under the weight of water and debris.
Downpipes should be cleared if necessary, although regularly emptying the guttering will help to avoid blockages.
Check that drains are clear and that the water is flowing away well. Outside surfaces such as hardstanding for cars should be sloped towards drains to allow water to run away. This will help prevent damp around the property and also minimise hazardous ice formation.
3. Boiler, central heating and pipes
As well as the annual Gas Safe check, make sure that the central heating system is functioning well, with all radiators getting hot and no leaking pipes. Lag any external pipes to protect from extreme cold.
If a property is standing empty over the winter months, leave the heating on at a low level to lessen the risk of frozen pipes.
Proper insulation will help reduce the energy needed to heat the property. Think about cavity wall insulation if suitable as well as loft insulation and double glazing. Simple measures such as draught excluders and thick curtains will also help.
Double check any insurance policies to make sure cover is in place, that nothing has changed since the policy was taken out and that the level of cover is still appropriate.
Property owners’ liability insurance and alternative accommodation cover are good options for landlords to include on their policy.
Carrying out routine maintenance checks and investing up front rather than having to deal with emergencies is the most efficient and cost effective way of dealing with a rental property. Form a good relationship with any tenants and keep in touch with them to find out if anything is becoming worn or problematic.