When you own property it should always be looked after properly. As a landlord renting out a house or flat to different tenants all the time, it can be difficult to trust that they’ll keep things in working order as well as you do. Even if you have the perfect tenants who do everything right, sometimes homes simply succumb to bad weather conditions and become damaged.
The winter months can be particularly brutal for rental properties and with temperatures often dropping to below freezing in January and February, now could be time for you as a landlord to ensure your rental properties are protected from the winter chill. Here are our top tips:
Draughty windows and doors can increase heating bills, which is no good for you or your tenants. If you pay for the bills yourself, you’ll want to minimise costs. Equally, if your tenants pay their own bills, they’ll be left unsatisfied if they’re paying too much.
Once you’ve requested access, visit the property on a windy day as it’s easier to detect air leaks. Seal up any draughts using self-adhesive sealants and check the current seals are still working properly. Why not attach draught excluders to the doors too?
Whilst you’re at the property, you should check for any broken or burst pipes. Leaks are one of the worst things that can happen in winter as the hot water must be turned off, leaving your tenants cold and unhappy. Remember, if any of your pipes run or flow outside of your property you should run the tap dry before any freezing temperatures set in. This will stop excess water freezing and damaging the structure of the pipes and tap.
Although it’s unlikely that your tenants will be using any outside areas much now, be sure to give them the once over too. Clear any gutters and drains to stop them from becoming blocked and heavy. Bring a rake along and clear away fallen leaves and mulch so it doesn’t get out of hand before the summer. If you’ve got any foliage, make sure the branches which could potentially break off in strong winds or heavy snow have been trimmed away. If possible you should also ask a local builder or roofing company to restore any broken roof tiles – this will keep the heat in and resist leaks.
As a landlord, you’ll already know how important communicating with your tenants is. For the winter, simply request that they follow a few housekeeping rules to make life easier for both of you. Advise them to keep the heating on low, even if they’re away for a weekend. You could also show them where the stop cock is; in the unfortunate circumstance of a burst pipe, they’ll need to turn the water off quickly.
Looking after the heating in your home is, of course, a priority in winter. You could bleed the radiators to ensure they’re heating up fully and not wasting energy. Most importantly, you should service your boiler before any really cold weather sets in. Just give your local gas safety company a call and they’ll check everything is in working order.
At West London Gas, we’re experienced in working with landlords and making sure their rental properties are well looked after. We can provide you with regulated gas safety certificates, an essential aspect of any rental home, and carry out any servicing or emergency repairs efficiently and professionally. Give us a call today on 020 8434 3644.