Now autumn has arrived and with the winter months just around the corner, landlords need to be thinking about how best to prepare their property for the months ahead. Being on top of essential maintenance isn’t just about maintaining happy relations with tenants. It also makes sound financial sense. So it’s important to plan ahead. A failure to prepare your property could lead to emergencies that will cost you money and upset your tenants. To avoid expensive repairs now is the time to carry out routine maintenance checks. From burst pipes to clearing gutters, here’s a guide to the sorts of things landlords should be aware of.
A boiler service is often cheaper than the bill for emergency repairs would be, and you’ll have happier tenants if they haven’t had to deal with a boiler failure in the cold weather. Legally, you must have your gas boiler inspected at least once a year and provide a gas safety certificate to your tenant. It’s worth booking that inspection in the autumn to ensure that everything is in good working order for the winter months.
As the radiators likely haven’t been used since last winter, they might need bleeding to avoid central heating failures. Plan to do this in the autumn.
If the temperature reaches freezing, your pipes are vulnerable to damage. Visually inspect them for cracks and weaknesses while the weather is still warm. You might want to add lagging, which can help to prevent frozen pipes, and also improves the energy efficiency of your home.
When the leaves fall from the trees, they can end up in your gutters and drains, blocking the water from flowing freely. Once the winter rains come, this can cause flooding and lead to significant property damage. This is easy to avoid by clearing the blockages from your gutters and drains after the autumn.
Winter weather is unpredictable, and you’ll need to be prepared for storms and high winds, which can bring down fences surrounding the property. Check the fence panels and posts to see if there are any points of weakness and reinforce them in advance.
Another area of vulnerability in the winter is the roof. If some of the tiles are missing or damaged now, once the winter weather comes, your property could easily suffer leaks and water damage. This is often far more expensive to deal with than simply replacing a few tiles.
Even if you already have landlord insurance, now is a good time to thoroughly read your policy documents. Make sure it’s up to date and check your policy gives adequate protection for any winter-related damages. You’ll want to know exactly what you’re covered for in an emergency. Boiler insurance is also a good idea. And if your property has a flat roof, it’s worth checking your insurer covers flat roof damage – most insurers do not cover flat roofs, and structures of this kind can be prone to collecting water as it can’t drain off. Depending on your property’s location, condition and unusual features, you might need specialist insurance.