For many people, winter really is the most wonderful time of the year, a chance to crunch through frosty fields, make the perfect snow angel or snuggle up by the fire.
But from a property perspective, winter can be hazardous, with snow, rain, ice, high winds and low temperatures all posing potential risks.
Landlords who fail to prepare for these risks could face a hefty repair bill and a disrupted holiday season (not to mention the distress your tenants may experience if something goes wrong).
To avoid a nightmare before Christmas, follow this ten-step guide to winter-proofing your rental property.
1) Have a qualified Gas Safe engineer check your boiler is in good working order.
2) When the temperature plummets, pipes can freeze and burst. Stave off this danger by insulating pipes and the hot water cylinder. Pipe lagging and hot water cylinder jackets are cheap to buy and easy to install.
3) Show your tenant where the stopcock is so that if a pipe bursts or tap breaks, they can switch the mains water off until a plumber arrives. Swift action will reduce the damage and repair costs.
4) Mend any wobbly fences so that they can withstand heavy gusts. Also, ask your tenants to fix trampolines and garden furniture to the ground or store them somewhere safe so they can’t blow away or become damaged.
5) Damp and mould can be harmful to health and cause significant damage to your property. As many people are avoiding using their heating this year due to the energy crisis, it could be a serious problem. Check the kitchen and bathroom extractor fans are working and that the property is well ventilated.
6) Confirm that your insurance policy is up to date and covers storm and flood damage.
7) Clear the gutters so that water runs off efficiently. If your gutters are overflowing with dead leaves, water will flow down the sides of your walls, causing penetrating damp.
8) As December is one of the worst months for burglaries (criminals often take advantage of the dark nights), check that all doors and window locks are secure.
9) Take the time to build a good rapport with your tenants. Encourage them to report any issues swiftly. It’s always easier and cheaper to address small problems than wait until they develop into major headaches.
10) Get a letting agent to manage the property. They’ll deal with regular maintenance and be on call 24/7 to resolve any problems.
For more information about our property management services, contact us here at Cooke & Co Estate and Letting Agents
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