Winter is a tricky time for property maintenance; the cold weather, the rain, potentially even the snow all combine to create issues. Add this together with the fact that there are limited numbers of tradespeople available and that all properties are going to be suffering from the same problems, and you can see how your tenants might have cause to complain. It makes sense, therefore, to protect your property as much as possible to prevent (or at least reduce) the possibility of these issues occurring. Here are some ideas to put in place before the cold snap really hits.
Winter Roofs and Guttering
Roofs can have serious problems during the winter. High winds can loosen or even completely dislodge tiles, and that means that the rain can get inside, causing damp, leaks, and mould. A blocked gutter can have similar results. Water damage is expensive to fix and can cause a lot of damage, which is why it makes a lot of sense to prevent it where possible.
Gutters should be cleared
at the start of the winter season. This will remove any build up of leaves that
have fallen. Do this job before the worst of the weather comes and you can save
yourself (and your tenants) a lot of misery.
Check your roof on a
periodic basis as well. Repairing a few tiles that are missing when you realise
they are gone is a much more cost effective plan than allowing the roof to stay
damaged and for water ingress to cause damage and make living conditions
difficult for your tenant.
In most cases, the garden will be the responsibility of your tenant, but if the property is empty then this is something you will need to take into consideration – garden maintenance needs to be on your list of things to do, especially during the winter.
Take broken fence posts,
for example. It’s best to fix these and ensure any fences are stable and
properly secured before the weather becomes wintery and windy – losing a fence
is a harder thing to deal with and could cause problems with neighbours than
fixing a fence that is a little bit wobbly but still in place.
Check the trees on your
property as well. Overhanging branches can be dangerous; if a branch fell and
damaged the property, a car, or – worst of all – hurt someone, then you would
be liable for the cost of making things right.
Pipes can be a serious problem during winter. When water freezes within the pipe it expands and can crack the pipe or even cause it to burst. Again, you could have massive water damage within the property, but you could also leave your tenant with no water. Neither of these scenarios will put you in a good light as a landlord.
Check that the pipes are well insulated and make sure there are no cracks in them. You should also have the boiler serviced regularly, and when the property is empty ensure the heating is on all the time, at a low temperature. When a new tenant moves in, walk through the house with them and show them where the stopcock is just in case of an emergency – their quick action should a pipe burst could save you a lot of money but if they are searching for the stopcock because you haven’t informed them where it is, precious time could be wasted.
If your property has a working fireplace then a professional chimney sweep should be engaged to clean the chimney before any new tenant wants to use the fire. This will remove any build up of debris and reduce the risk of a fire hazard. If your property is occupied then it is the tenant’s responsibility to do this, but to ensure that it happens (and that you are covered) it should be written into the tenancy agreement.
Investing in a
professional inventory report can help you to ensure your property is properly
maintained during the winter period. You will immediately be able to see just
what work is required, and you’ll know that you left the property in a fit
state to be occupied, just in case of any disputes.
Contact us today to find out more and to book your inventory report.