With it’s freezing temperatures, high winds and storms, winter can be a period of concern for landlords. But with some preparation, you can weather the big freeze with relative ease. Here’s how you can safeguard your property when the temperature plummets.
BE READY FOR THE COLD
Start by insulating your pipes. You can get insulation material from any DIY shop and install it with ease. Ensure you don’t overlook pipes in seldom-visited areas like the loft, which are more susceptible to the cold.
Boilers need annual servicing from a gas-safe registered engineer. Ensure it’s serviced well before winter, leaving ample time for necessary repairs before the icy weather sets in.
CLEAR OUT AND CHECK UP
It’s astonishing how much debris, including dead leaves, can accumulate in your gutters. This can result in water pooling and seeping into the walls. Regularly clear out the gutters and inspect the roof for any broken or missing tiles. Repair these promptly to be storm-ready. Also, make sure outside taps aren’t leaking.
CONTROL AIRFLOW AND REDUCE DRAUGHTS
Proper air circulation is crucial for maintaining a healthy building. Advise your tenants against blocking ventilation holes or closing vents, irrespective of how cold it gets. Draughts, however, are less desirable and easily fixable. Install brushes at the bottom of doors and inside letterboxes, and add rubber strips around windows. These are cost-effective ways of reducing draughts. A metal disc over the keyhole can also make a significant difference. If an unused chimney is causing heat loss, consider fitting a temporary chimney draught excluder.
During colder weather, people tend to keep windows closed, leading to a humid atmosphere and consequent condensation, which can cause dampness. Ensure your bathroom and kitchen extraction systems are efficient. Encourage tenants to let in fresh air, even on the coldest days.
Provide your tenants with efficient laundry drying methods during cold or wet weather. This can help avoid the practice of hanging wet laundry on radiators. If a tumble dryer is available, ensure it’s correctly vented.
PROTECT VACANT PROPERTIES
The best way to care for an unoccupied property is to keep it warm. A mild heat of around 13ºC will prevent pipe freeze and guard against other cold-related issues. Ensure proper air circulation to avoid dampness. Keep doors (including cupboards) and loft hatches open, and maintain window trickle vents open, too. Move furniture away from walls to improve airflow.
Arrange for regular visits to the property until it’s occupied again. A warm, lived-in home is more attractive to potential tenants than a mothballed one.
COMMUNICATE WITH TENANTS
If you’re letting your property this winter, provide your tenants with essential information, such as emergency contacts (like your contracted plumber) and basic instructions like where to find the stopcock.
Don’t forget, our professional friendly advisors are on hand to support you and can help you explore all of your options.