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Winter is upon us once again, bringing earlier evenings and brittle frigid. With Christmas and the New Year just around the corner, many tenants are gearing up to go home for the festive season, which means an increased chance of void periods for landlords.
With this in mind, here at 99home, we outline six things that landlords can do to protect their rental properties against the perils of winter.
Pipes that are blocked or leaking can potentially freeze, expand and burst during the winter months, causing expensive water damage. To prevent this, wrap lagging around external pipes or pipes in cold areas such as the garage. This will stop pipes from freezing and will avoid blockages and burst pipes.
If you or your tenants notice a frozen pipe, consider using a hot water bottle or a hairdryer to apply warmth and melt the blockage.
Sealing all draught points is a simple and cost-effective way to keep your rental property warm. Start by checking for draughts around the edges of window frames, gaps under doors and around the letterbox.
Draught excluders are available online, which will block draughts between doors. For windows and other small gaps, seal the openings to keep the chill out.
Another simple but effective way to keep your property toasty this winter is to bleed your radiators. If your radiators feel cool at the top and hot at the bottom, it’s likely they need to be ‘bled’.
Using a radiator bleeding key, release any trapped air from the system and allow hot water to fill every part of the radiator. Also, while your rental property is vacant, consider leaving the heating on at a low level (approx. 12°) to prevent the possibility of freezing damage to the heating systems.
As well as checking the cladding around your boiler and pipes to ensure that taps and faucets aren’t leaking, you will also need to take a look at the boiler’s pressure.
Generally, the pressure should be between one and two bars. The pressure gauge can be found on the front of the boiler (or underneath it where the pipes are) and will either be a dial or a digital display. If it’s too high or too low, contact a Gas Safe engineer to make sure the pressure is right.
As a landlord, you have a duty of care to your renters and will need to provide them with all relevant information about property maintenance in winter.
Consider putting together an information pack, including guidance on stopcocks, basic boiler operations, and any useful contacts should an emergency arise. Tenants will also need to inform you when they’re going to be away and how long for so that you can make the necessary plans.
As the evenings draw in much earlier, the winter season is a prime time for thieves. To hinder any easy access to your rental property, ensure all doors and windows are securely locked.
Also, consider investing it theft deterrents such as alarms (visible from the exterior of the property) and motion sensors. Even setting a light on a timer within the property can be an effective security measure.
With Christmas being the busiest time of the year, it’s important that you are empathetic and understanding when dealing with your renters. In any case, fostering a good relationship with them means they’ll be more likely to help you keep your property in good condition.
Here at 99home, we can help you through every step of the lettings process. To find out more about the services we offer, please get in touch with us on 0203 5000 999.
Also, if you’re eager to find out how much you could be charging in rent each month, we provide a free instant online valuation.