By the sounds of it, we could be in for another bitter winter! So, while you're enjoying the last of the autumnal sun, have a think about how you might winter-proof your rental property for the coming weeks and months. Here are some top tips to get you started...
As the evenings draw in and the temperature drops, it’s a period of change for everyone – not least landlords. So with the colder months approaching, here is a list of checks and tasks all landlords should carry to make sure their properties steer clear of any winter catastrophes.
Wrap your pipes up warm - You can keep your pipes snug by wrapping them in lagging – a cheap fix that you can buy online. This trick not only helps prevent frozen pipes but it helps avoid burst pipes and blockages, too. If there’s any areas you think may suffer from the cold, be sure to cover these first. Common areas are where the pipes run outside or in cooler areas such as the garage or loft.
Whether your tenants notice a frozen pipe inside or outside, it’s important they apply warmth to the troubled area with warm water, hairdryer (if safe to do so) or a hot water bottle. For complete peace of mind, Romans’ Emergency Repair Service is available to Fully Managed landlords in the event of a blockage.
Make sure your tenants know where the stopcock is - If you’re not confident your tenants will be able to locate their stopcock, make sure you remind them before the cold weather sets in. If your property suffers from a frozen pipe, pressure can build up behind the blockage and cause it to burst, often causing catastrophic damage. This is rare, but still something to consider, so it’s important your tenants know where the stopcock is so that they can switch off the water mains in an emergency.
Usually, it’s located under the kitchen sink, and should be turned clockwise to cut the supply.
Insulate your loft properly - You’d be surprised just how much difference loft insulation can make when it comes to preserving heat. If you think you’ve got sufficient insulation in your loft and between your walls, it’s still worth making sure it’s up to scratch.
Ensure your gutters are clear - It’s not the nicest of jobs, granted, but gutters clear of debris is important business – especially at this time of year. If you’re clearing your property’s gutters yourself, make sure the pipes can effectively transport rainfall well away from your home. This prevents damp from getting into your walls, which can cause costly damage.
Keep the draught out - Most of us have a nuisance spot in our homes, where draught just always seems to sneak in. if your tenants are feeling the chill, sealing draughty areas is quick and simple – plus it helps save money too! Common places for the cold to seep in includes around window frames, underneath doors and around the letterbox. You can seal around the windows and letterbox and suggest your tenants purchase in fabric draught excluders to block any heat escaping underneath doors.
Don’t forget about offering your radiators some TLC - If your tenants have luke-warm radiators, it’s probably time they are bled. Bleeding your property’s radiators needn’t be a big job – simply release any excess air with a radiator bleeding key and an old towel.
Have the heating on during the day - When the weather gets particularly cold, remind your tenants to heat your property for at least an hour every day, even if they’re not at home. Every boiler or heating system is different, but tenants can find out how to set their heating timers with the manual that came with your unit, or they can search for tips online.
Check your boiler pressure - If you don’t have a regular boiler service, at least check your boiler pressure is as it should be, which is between one and two bars. You can find the pressure gauge on the front of the boiler or underneath it, where the pipes originate, and it will be either a digital or dial display depending on the age of the unit. If you find the pressure to be too high or too low, give a Gas Safe engineer a call to make sure the pressure is safe.
Make sure your property is secure - With the shorter days and longer nights, it’s important to make sure your property is safe and secure, especially if it’s left empty between tenancies or while your tenants are away over the festive period.
Make sure your tenants leave your home looking occupied at the very least. Setting the heating to come on regularly each day will help to prevent pipes from freezing while scheduling a lamp or two to come on with the help of a timer will deter any potential thieves or squatters.
- Are your alarms working? - The Co-op Insurance claims that burglaries spike by more than a third during daylight savings time, so if you’re lucky enough to already have CCTV or a house alarm, ensure they have been properly fitted, serviced and maintained so that they’re working reliably.
Unbelievably, Christmas Day sees the sharpest increase in fire-related insurance claims, so making sure your rental property is kitted out with at least one fire alarm on each storey, a fire blanket if appropriate, and a carbon monoxide alarm for extra measure should be top of your priority list!
And don't forget to ask your tenants about their Christmas plans
And with Christmas just a few weeks away, it could be a good idea to check in with your tenants in the lead up to the festive period if you’re a Let Only or Rent Collection landlord with Romans. Test that everything in the property is fully functioning and check that your tenants are happy.
It’s also worth establishing in writing the procedure you would like your tenants to follow in the case of an emergency, and check that they have spare keys to save you any Christmas Day drama. However, if your property is Fully Managed by Romans, our team of Property Managers will do all of this for you.
If you’re currently managing your rental property yourself and would like to find out a little more about how Romans could manage it for you, contact your local branch today.
CONTACT ROMANS TO DISCUSS YOUR PROPERTY OPTIONS