Winter can be a very challenging time for landlords in the UK; with temperatures dipping into the minuses and lots of rain, wind and snow, it can become challenging to keep your rental property in top condition.
Because of this, ensuring that your property is well-maintained and ready for the challenges it will face during the winter period is vital for landlords.
Here we look at some top tips to ensure you’re not caught out this winter and that your property and tenants are safe.
Frozen pipes are extremely common during winter in the UK, despite being costly yet avoidable in many cases.
A very effective method of preventing pipes from freezing and bursting is to insulate pipes and water tanks with good-quality lagging. This can be purchased cheaply from Amazon, B&Q and most DIY retailers and make the hot water system more cost-effective.
Stay in contact with tenants
It is common for tenants to be away from their property for varying amounts of time during the winter months. If you’re renting to students, the property will likely be empty for at least a couple of weeks. Other tenants are likely to go on holiday or visit relatives during the festive periods.
If no one is going to be in the property for a few days or more, making sure that the heating is on for around an hour per day helps prevent the pipes from freezing.
When the property is empty, you can carry out essential checks and maintenance, which can prevent costly issues.
It’s essential to regularly check bath and shower seals and wastewater pipes from baths, sinks and showers. If these are in bad condition, it can cause leaks – which may not be covered if the overall condition indicates poor maintenance.
For these reasons, it’s beneficial to contact tenants to know when they will be away from the property and make them aware if you will be going round to carry out any checks or maintenance.
After an autumn of rain and falling leaves, gutters can easily become clogged and blocked if not cleared properly.
If too many leaves are built up and stuck in the gutter, adding rain and sub-zero temperatures can cause a frozen mess that may become very heavy and cause your gutters to break.
It is therefore essential to clear out the gutters of any leaves and build-up.
Avoid damp and mould
Damp and mould are two commonly found problems in rented properties but are the landlord’s responsibility rather than the tenant’s.
This can be a hazardous issue for tenants and can cause respiratory problems, allergic reactions, and damage to the property.
To prevent damp and mould, make sure that the property is well ventilated, especially in kitchens, bathrooms, and rooms in which tenants are drying clothes.
Extractor fans are essential in preventing mould, so make sure that these are working ready for winter months when tenants may not think to open windows as often.
Check the roof
if you are not confident doing it yourself, but before the windy weather picking up, it is vital to check that the roof is in good condition.
Loose tiles or slates can easily get broken in the strong winds and cause leaks, so these must be fixed in time for winter.
Insulating the roof is also a good idea, with a quarter of a house’s heat lost through the roof if it isn’t adequately insulated.
HomeLet’s Underwriting Technical Analyst, Adam Clarke, gave the following comments on the importance of winter maintenance:
“Customers are at the heart of everything we do. With our experience in Lettings Insurances and our industry expertise, we want to help our customers protect their properties from apparent risks – any turn in the weather is a key risk to your insured property.
We’re proud to work with our customers to ensure, as much as possible, that our Landlords Insurance Policy cover provides the outcomes our customers expect. We hope that sharing this information will help you not only to prepare your property for the winter months but to ensure you’re meeting all terms of your insurance policy.”
To find out more about our specialised landlord insurance, click here.