6 Winter Maintenance Tips For Landlords

One of five homes last year suffered a boiler breakdown, of these households the average cost per repair was a staggering £245.00. February is the worst month, with claims for broken boilers rising by as much as 163%. Carrying out routine maintenance checks before the cold weather sets in will help to prevent such breakdowns and your relationship with your tenant.  Avoid escalating problems, expensive repairs and unhappy tenants with our top tips for landlords:

  1. Give Your Boiler The Once Over

You should always try to ensure that you have the boiler serviced ready for the cold months. As soon as the heating goes on there are always call outs to boilers which have not been tested before they are needed. As a landlord you are required by law to have the boiler and any other gas appliances tested annually and a copy of the up to date certificate provided to the tenant. Ensuring the boiler is ready for the tenants when the temperature drops is good for your relationship with them.

  1. Protect your Pipes and Tanks

Have a good look around your property and identify pipes which can be protected from the frost and ice. Ensure all external pipes are lagged and insulated, by doing this you are protecting your property from bursts and floods when the temperature drops, and it is helping your tenant keep their winter fuel bills down. You could also buy a hot water cylinder jacket which is low cost and easy to install.

  1. Consider Boosting Your Insulation

Draught proofing is one of the cheapest and most effective ways to insulate and save energy; check for any gaps in windows and doors and use sealant to help keep the cold weather out and moisture levels down. A quarter of the heat from a property is lost through an un-insulated roof, so don’t forget to check the loft. Heat will always flow from warm areas to cooler ones so make sure your tenants encourage the circulation of heat around the property. They will appreciate the reduction in heating costs, and you will be helping to protect your property from condensation and damp.

  1. Check Your Roof, Gutters and Drains

Whilst you are checking the loft for insulation it is advisable to ask a builder to have a look at your roof. They will check for cracked or slipped tiles, make sure they are replaced quickly to prevent any leaks. You should also make sure that your gutters are drained are cleaned out especially after the leaves have fallen. Blocked gutters and drains can cause a whole heap of issues such as damp especially if water is left to run freely down the external walls.

With the leaves gone, you can assess whether trees or shrubs surrounding the property could do with pruning. If there are branches that are looking unsteady and might pose a health and safety hazard, it is better to cut them back now in a controlled way than have them come down in bad weather. Before carrying out any work it is also worth checking whether the tree is subject to a tree preservation order, particularly if the property is in a conservation area.

  1. Talk To Your Tenants

Offering your tenants helpful advice on how to stay safe and warm can strengthen your relationship and help ensure your tenants are taking care of themselves and your property. Remind them to keep the heating on low, freezing water in pipes can expand and cause cracks very quickly, resulting in leaks as soon as you turn your radiators back on. You should also check that they know where the stop cock is, and crucially how to turn it off, in the unfortunate event there is a leak. It is also worth reminding them that they need to insure their own possessions as they won’t be covered under the landlords insurance.

Ask tenants if there is anything they are having problems with – any drafts or dripping taps for example. Even a trickle of water could freeze and block pipes.

  1. Check Your Insurance

It is always worth checking that your landlord’s policy is up to date and covers you for all the potential winter disasters such as storm damage and burst pipes. If you are going away over the festive period, and do not have an agent taking care of your property, if might worth considering taking out some extra homecare cover to ensure that any issues are dealt with promptly.

To read more about managing tenancies please see the various blogs on our website.

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