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Landlord Maintenance – What You Need to Check Before Winter

Winter is almost here. As Property Owners, you’ll be readily looking at what you’ll need to have checked off before you stick your Christmas tree up (Yes. We’re looking at you, November tree-ers.)

Small mistakes and oversights can be costly, and your property is your investment, so you’ll want to make sure that any potential molehills are addressed before they turn into mountains.

So without further ado, here’s a list of the bits you’ll want to have covered before winter finally arrives.

House with Snow Cartoon

Interior Property Maintenance

Smoke & Carbon Monoxide Detectors

A pretty simple one. Make sure your smoke & carbon monoxide alarms are up to regulation standards and are fitted with new batteries.

Not only is this required by law, it’s also important to fundamentally protect your investment against the unexpected!

As of new government legislation introduced on the 1st October 2022, all Landlords must ensure that a functional and spec-worthy smoke alarm is installed on every floor of their rental property that hosts living accommodation.

Security & Safety Systems

A small number of tenants, particularly those living in student HMOs, typically return home for Christmas or Holiday Periods.

This could leave your rental units open to break ins, so it’s always worth double checking the security features of your rental property.

Security Woman Cartoon

We recommend checking locks, alarms and exterior safety lights to make sure they’re in good standing. 

If you don’t have a burglar alarm, we recommend getting one installed. They’re a fantastic deterrent against those who intend to break into your property.

It’s important to check locks and any other safety mechanisms your property might be fitted with.

This might cover exterior lighting or even a property alarm.

Insulation

Regulating your home’s climate can help provide a comfortable home for your tenants and can contribute to cutting your energy bills drastically!

This means checking for disrepair in loft insulation as well as checking the seals around doors or windows.

Keep in mind; exterior doors can often cause draughts too if they’re fitted incorrectly or poorly, so it’s well worth double checking before you cross it off your list.

Exterior Property Maintenance

Cracks, Crevices & Other Landlord Repair Responsibilities.

Broken brickwork can be a nightmare. It can cause draughts, look unappealing and invite pests too. Not to mention the potential damp and mold it can invite into your rental property.

Do a short walk around the property and inspect the brickwork for any flaws that might be cause for concern.

After all, there’s nothing more inviting to a pest than a warm crevice in the side of a house!

Check Your Roof & Gutters!

It’s key to check your roof and gutters around the property for things like missing tiles, blockages or clear damage.

Gutters, realistically, should be cleaned annually to prevent any water damage to your property.

Again, you’ll want to align this just before winter every year to clear out any autumn leaves that might be stuck in your guttering!

On top of that, missing roof tiles should be replaced promptly. 

If ignored, they can cause costly structural issues over long time periods and can invite leaks and damp in the event of a bad storm. Get that roof sorted!

Check Internal & External Pipe Work.

The winter freeze can cause any water left in pipes to expand, potentially damaging or bursting them.

There’s a few things you can do to make sure that this doesn’t happen.

Insulating your pipes is a first. If they’re already insulated you’ll want to make sure the insulation is in good standing. This stops excessive heat loss from pipes and also helps them stay hot for longer periods of time, preventing the pipe from freezing over.

Maintenance Cartoon

If the property is vacant for extended periods of time, you might want to nip in and run the heating at a low temperature to keep the boiler in good condition.

Also, bleed the radiators regularly to remove any pockets of air that might be affecting the way your radiator disperses heat.

It’s also key to make sure your tenants know where the stopcock is in event of an emergency. 

We recommend supplying your tenant with a welcome pack that lists key details like the above. If you don’t have one, you can download our free template by clicking here!

Other Tips

Get an Extra Key Cut

It’s always worth having a spare if you don’t have one already. In the event of a tenant locking themselves out of the property, having a spare key can be an absolute lifesaver.

Your tenants will also massively appreciate not being locked out in the cold. 

So nip down to Timpsons or your local locksmith and get an extra key cut.

Leave Your Tenants an Emergency Contacts List

If you’re planning on going away yourself, or you just want a break over the holiday period, you’ll want to consider creating an emergency contact list for your tenants to refer to, just in case you’re not readily available.

This could cover things like emergency locksmiths, plumbers, electricians and other general maintenance people.

Inspect Door Locks

Sometimes, the winter frost can freeze over locks, especially older ones. 

Grab a can of WD-40 or a similar spray lubricant and give your properties locks a once-over.

It’ll stop the lock from sticking, resulting in your tenant being locked out and you being called out late at night!

Pre-empt Garden Maintenance

Mowing the lawn and pruning walkways in -2 degrees celsius is no joke. Make sure any heavy garden maintenance is preempted before the weather gets harsh and unbearable.

Trust me, you’ll be glad you got it done sooner rather than later!

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