How to Prepare Your Rental Property for Winter
As the temperatures drop and the nights draw in, it’s the perfect time for landlords to make sure their properties are ready to endure the winter and to make sure they avoid any potential disasters. These checks can be as simple as ensuring your pipes are bled, to more serious safety inspections for necessities such as alarms. Here are our top tips to protecting your rental property this winter:
As the foliage changes with the seasons, leaves and another bracken can accumulate in your gutters and if left unchecked, can cause blockages. In the UK we’re afflicted with particularly wet winters so to avoid any overflows and resulting water damage that can be costly, make sure your gutters are regularly cleared.
It seems simple enough but one of the main reasons why a property may be cold is because the radiators don’t work properly. Bleeding radiators involves releasing any trapped air from the system, allowing hot water to fill every part of the radiator resulting in the property being heated more efficiently.
With any rental property, it’s always good practice to get the boiler serviced at least once a year. This allows any issues to be highlighted that may go undetected when the heating isn’t being used during the summer months.
There may be times when you’re unable to find a tenant or you wish to forgo a tenant for a while, leaving your property unattended. This may not seem like an issue, but it can be in the eyes of your insurer when it comes to water leaks, fire, or burglary as the property is unoccupied. Make sure you keep your insurance up to date and your insurer informed if your rental property is vacant and for how long you anticipate it to be so – especially if it lasts longer than what you originally stated. Make sure you understand your obligations as policy conditions around void periods vary between insurance providers and you may find that you’re not covered.
We often take warm showers, hot baths, and heating for granted during the cold winter months, giving little thought to the pipes that supply our property. During the cold of winter, pipes can freeze causing them to split which could result in a costly emergency repair bill. If you know your rental property is going to be unoccupied for a while, you can turn off the stop valve inside the home and open the tap on the outside of the property. This will release water in the pipe and allow any remaining water space to expand if it freezes, without damaging your pipes.
It may seem obvious but leaving your property unattended can increase the risk of theft. Even if you do have tenants in the property there may still be periods where it’s empty due to your tenants going away, for example over the festive period. It’s worth investing in theft deterrents such as alarms, motion sensors (for inside) or a video camera doorbell that can be seen from outside the property. If you already have an alarm system installed, make sure you check it regularly to ensure it’s all in working order.
The winter months bring plenty of adverse weather which can cause damage to the exterior of your rental property. Make sure you check the roof for any broken tiles, issues with pointing and rendering, or any cracks in the chimney (if you have one). Spotting issues early will help alleviate any larger issues if your roof is left unchecked such as weak spots which could buckle under heavy snow.
Checking in with your tenants regularly will help you identify any issues before they become larger. Likewise, maintaining a good relationship with your tenants will also mean they are invested in taking care of your property and keeping it in a good condition. Make sure your tenants have all the information they need in the event of an emergency, e.g., where the stopcock is located in case they need to turn off the water supply if there’s a leak. It’s also worth making sure they have several ways to contact you and a list of pre-approved tradesmen they can call if they need help.
Preparing your rental for the winter months can seem like a lot of hassle and many landlords go through periods where their properties are left unoccupied which results in a loss of income. At ZFA, our Guaranteed Rent Scheme means there are no void periods, so you still get paid rent on your property even if you have no tenants.
In a crowded rental market, it’s imperative to know who you can rely on to maximise your return on property rental. If you choose ZFA Group, we will handle the management of your property with expertise and experience to offer you the highest quality service.
If you’re interested in upgrading the energy efficiency of your buy-to-let property, chat to one of our friendly knowledgeable employees – we can help you with a range of services, from rent guarantee and property management estate agency and property investment, and commercial letting.
Contact us today if you have any questions and we’ll take care of the rest.
I have been working with ZFA for 4 years and they manage my full portfolio. I don't need to worry about a thing, they manage every aspect of my properties - highly recommended.
Mr Stephen Jones