How to protect your rental property this winter

December, 2018

The festive season is upon us, and as many tenants go away for Christmas and New Year, it’s an important time for landlords to look after their rental property.

As the colder weather presents several potential risks, landlords have a duty of care to their tenants and will need to take extra precautions to protect the property while it’s vacant.

With this in mind, here at Oscar James, we’ve outlined some key points for landlords and tenants to consider...

Check the pipework

Checking all external pipes for breaks, leaks and blockages is crucial. There is a chance that blocked or leaking pipes can freeze, expand and burst during the colder months – potentially causing expensive water damage.

To prevent this, check that all pipes are properly secured to the walls, and assess the brickwork around your property for cracks, which could potentially allow water in.

Insulation is key

As the temperature will likely drop below zero on several occasions over the coming weeks and months, your property will need to be properly insulated.

Make sure that you look at the basics, starting with all draft points. It could be worth investing in some draft excluders to keep doors and windows secure. Check the cladding around your boiler and pipes, and ensure that taps and faucets don’t leak.

Bleed the radiators

An effective way to warm up the property is to bleed the radiators. This releases any trapped air and allows hot water to fill every part of a radiator.

When your rental property is vacant, consider leaving the heating on at a low level (approx. 12°C), which will prevent the possibility of freezing damage to the plumbing/heating systems.

Secure your property

Unfortunately, the Christmas period is a prime time for thieves. To hinder any easy access to your property, ensure all doors and windows are locked securely.

It’s also worthwhile to invest in 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.

Check your insurance policy

It’s crucial that you understand the terms of your landlord insurance policy. Remember that maintenance-related issues are typically not covered by landlord policies. This means that you need to make sure that your property is fit for winter. This will give both you and your tenants peace of mind that you’re covered in the event something goes wrong.

Inform your tenants

Your tenants will have a part to play in keeping the property protected during the winter. As a landlord, it’s your responsibility to educate and provide them with all relevant information about winter property maintenance.

Consider putting together an information pack, including guidance on stopcocks, basic boiler operation, and any useful contacts should an emergency arise.

It’s important to bear in mind that Christmas tends to be one of the most stressful times of the year for people, so remember to be empathetic and understanding when dealing with tenants during the festive season.

For more guidance on selling a property in in Northampton, Kettering and Burton Latimer, please don’t hesitate to contact us.

Additionally, you can see how much your property is worth and what rent you could be charging each month by requesting a valuation today.

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