With more rainfall, colder temperatures, the possibility of high winds and increased demands on the time of both you and your tenant, the winter period can be a troublesome time.
Here are 7 tips to help you keep your property in good condition over the next few months.
Inspect the pipes
Water pipes are a particular concern, especially if there is a cold snap on the horizon. A broken or burst pipe can cause untold amounts of damage.
If you have any pipes that run outside of the property, eg. a garden tap, turn off the water flow to these and run the tap dry before the temperature drops below freezing.
A good tip is to ensure your Tenancy Agreement contains a clause stating the tenants must not shut off the heating system if they are away from the property in the winter. Keeping the temperature up in the property, and in the pipes, should avoid any major problems.
Get the radiators bled
Bleeding your radiators involves releasing trapped air that can prevent them from heating up – it’s a good way to guard against winter boiler problems.
It can be easy to forget tasks like this when you aren’t living in the property. Talk to your tenant about having them bleed the radiators and ensure you get the radiators serviced annually.
Check the roof
Autumn winds can leave your property’s roof in less than perfect condition. The winter weather will quickly expose any damage that has occurred, leaving your tenants cold and unhappy – plus if there are any leaks, you’ll be left with a hefty bill.
Inspect the property’s roof and ensure your investment, as well as your tenants, are protected from winter weather.
Be ready for power outages
Power cuts tend to be more frequent in the winter months and, when they occur, will likely leave your tenants in darkness. Talk to your tenants and make sure they are prepared for this possibility. You can even go the extra mile and put a torch in the property yourself.
Clear the gutters
Following the autumn, gutters can become clogged with leaves. This can cause water to back up and freeze when the temperatures drop. If this happens, you may end up with water overflowing or, in the worst case scenario, breakages to the external pipes.
Clearing the gutters before frost sets in gives you a good chance of avoiding these kinds of problems.
Share information with your tenants
As a landlord, it’s always a good idea to keep yourself informed. However, it’s also important to share your knowledge with the tenant – ultimately they are the ones that will be living in, and looking after, the property.
Any warning signs will most likely be spotted by your tenants, so it’s worth telling them what to look out for. Giving them a maintenance handbook at the start of the tenancy and providing information on the basics, can prove to be a worthwhile move.
Be extra vigilant during winter void periods
It’s never good news when your property is empty – however, this is especially true during winter.
Winter brings extra maintenance worries and you need a pair of eyes in the property to spot any problems the cold weather may be causing. If you do find yourself dealing with a winter void period, then it’s vital you make time for more regular inspections.
Additionally, remind your tenant that if they are going to vacate the property for more than 14 days in the winter they will need to inform you (this is usually covered in the tenancy agreement).
Want more advice?
Winter property problems are just one of the many challenges landlords have to deal with. If you are looking for expert information, help and guidance, our Resource Centre contains a range of guides and FAQs. Additionally, you can find information on how to deal with tenancy deposit disputes – which may come in handy if you are let down by your tenants over the winter months.