Winters can be long and can take their toll on rental properties. Falling temperatures and even more rain than usual can cause huge amount of damage to homes which are not properly looked after. These are five ways to winter proof your rental properties.
Water Stopcock and Gas Valve Cut Off
Ensuring that tenants know how to correctly turn off the water and gas supply to the property in an emergency can limit the amount of damage that can occur due to the changing weather conditions. Water pipes may freeze and burst as the temperature drops. When pipes unfreeze there could be a costly leak.
Providing a property induction at the beginning of the tenancy, or during a winter property inspection will allow tenants to learn how to do these things. As tenants may leave the property when the university semester ends over the winter break, it may be wise to advise them to turn everything off when the house is empty. Landlords can also offer to check on the property while tenants are away. It is important that the tenant knows this for their safety when you winter proof your rental properties.
Insulate Water Pipes
Knowing how to limit damage after a pipe has burst is beneficial, but preventing the burst in the first instance is much better. Insulating pipes using lagging can help prevent any temperature changes that can result in a burst pipe.
Lagging is inexpensive and can be applied quickly and easily. Pipes in colder locations such as outside or garages are most at risk of freezing and bursting.
Check Roof and Gutters
A cracked or missing roof tile can cause a lot of damage, especially during the winter. When cracks are worsened during freezing and thawing, and more water it present to enter the property. A leaking roof can cause damp spots on ceilings and walls, as well as starting more serious structural damage.
Blocked gutters caused by falling leaves in the autumn can also lead to water finding its way into the property.
Boiler and Heater Servicing
Due to the temperature, the boiler will be used much more during the winter months as tenants keep their home warm. Getting the boiler checked and serviced will reveal any potential issues which can be fixed before it is needed more regularly. This can also avoid fewer emergency call outs and expensive repairs over the festive period.
Checking and bleeding radiators to keep them operating at their potential will help tenants keep the property warm. Releasing any excess air from the radiators will allow them to perform more efficiently.
Secure the Property
Burglaries increase by a third during daylight saving time. This could be due to the christmas period or thieves making the most of the increased cover of darkness. To ensure that your tenants do not have to go through the stress of this happening it would help to check outside lights and CCTV systems are functional and that tenants know how to arm and disarm any intruder alarms.This can increase security whilst also reducing unnecessary call outs.
Fire related incidents also peak during the winter period, checking that the fire alarms work is a good idea.
Identifying and remedying areas where draughts are able to enter the property will help keep the property warm and reduce the amount of energy used. This will keep energy bills low for both landlord and tenant.
Seals around windows and doors are often offending areas, as well as letterboxes. Applying sealant will quickly resolve these issues. Loft insulation can help save 25% of a properties heating bill, according to the Energy Savings Trust.
As a student landlord, winter can have a significant impact on your properties. Damage caused from winter weather can be costly in both terms of time and money. Conducting a property inspection before winter can unearth some of these potential issues and give time to fix them before winter begins. It is important that you winter proof your rental properties.
Looking into these areas will allow for a warmer property, less damage and higher tenant satisfaction.
Leaders. 2019. Accessed 5th November, 2019, from https://www.leaders.co.uk/articles/10-tips-to-winter-proof-your-property
Make Ur Move. 2019. Accessed 5th November, 2019, from https://www.makeurmove.co.uk/article/1672/How_Can_Landlords_Prepare_Rental_Property_For_Winter#sthash.HfJczSzi.dpbs