With the coldest winter for 50 years on the cards, so the forecasters say, it is important that landlords get their buy to let properties ready for the winter before it’s too late.
Buy to let properties that have not been prepared for the winter months can result in landlords having to fork out for expensive repair bills. Preventative action can keep these costs to a minimum, however it is inevitable that adverse weather will have at least a small effect on your property during the winter months.
However after reading recent statistics in a report from Belvoir Lettings Southampton, it seems that many tenants may be facing a winter of discontent as landlords intend to spend the bare minimum on their property maintenance.
That aside, here is our advice on the preventative action that should be being undertaken:
Check Ventilation is Adequate
Once the winter arrives your tenants will be all snug with the heating on and the windows firmly closed, which can lead to condensation. Condensation should be addressed as part of your winter property maintenance to avoid longer term damp and mould problems.
Tour around windows and check that all the vents are working and are free from blockages and debris. Ensure all extractor fans are full operational too.
Invest in a Damp Proof Course
This may not be the quickest solution to making your property safe in the winter but definitely the most beneficial in the long run.
Having a damp proof course is crucial in wet conditions and might be exactly what your house needs when that snow melts. It is also essential in reducing the risk of structural damage and timber decay. If your properties don’t have a damp proof course it may lead to problems such as dry and wet rot, black mould and dampness.
Service the Boiler
The boiler service is a vital winter property step that should be taken prior to the cold weather setting in. The heating system probably hasn’t been used through the summer months so it is important to check the boiler and radiators are in good condition.
Radiators will probably need bleeding to ensure there is proper heat circulation and it is always work making sure the boiler ignition isn’t stuck.
Check all Pipework
When the freezing weather sets in any water pipes with leaks, cracks or blockages are at risk of bursting. Survey all water pipes and add insulation to protect them against frost.
Make sure that your tenants know how to turn off the water supply so any damage can be minimised should the worst happen.
Check the Roof
The roof should definitely be checked as part of your winter property maintenance procedures. Scout around for any loose, broken or missing tiles which could be the cause of leaks and take preventative action, now is the time to call in local roofing services if needed.
Guttering should also be cleared of moss, leaves and other debris to ensure the free flow of water and again avoid long-term damp problems. Your local roofer is sure supply fascias, soffits and guttering services if you are not a DIY fan.
Check all Outdoor Pathways and Lighting
Help your tenants to help themselves and provide them with grit or sand to prepare for ice and snow. This will help prevent trips and falls and possible landlord injury claims. Make sure all outside lighting is in fully working order for the same reason.
Not something that would first come to mind for a winter property maintenance checklist, but it is part of providing the perfect rental property. Ensure that your landlord insurance policy is in place and up-to-date.
The winter can be cruel and even the most vigilant of winter property maintenance cannot prevent all winter weather damage but landlord insurance will minimise the cost.
What is the worst that has happened to your properties during the winter months? Share the ups and downs with us in the comments.