Facing up to these cold winter months is bad enough but having to face expensive repairs on a rental property is the last thing any landlord would want! Fortunately, routine winter maintenance checks can ensure everything is in working order with your property and help avoid any hefty repair bills a little further down the line.
It’s estimated that almost half of all private landlords fail to carry out adequate routine maintenance checks on their rental properties before the thick of winter sets in. Failing to carry out these winter checks can mean existing problems that are perhaps unknown are at risk of escalating, resulting in expensive repair bills and unhappy tenants.
Keeping on top of essential property maintenance goes beyond just maintaining a sound relationship with your tenants. It also makes perfect financial sense. Too many landlords simply react to a problem when something goes wrong or choose a short-term solution at a lower cost that ultimately hits them in the pocket again in the near future. Investing before things go wrong can often help mitigate more costly repairs later.
Follow these tips below to help improve your routine winter maintenance checks and keep those repair bills as low as possible.
Gutters, drains and roofs are prone to collecting leaves, mud and all sorts of other debris - especially following the autumn fall. Every 3-6 months, plan to check for leaf-build up that may cause drain blocks and leaks. The same applies to your roof, as loose or missing shingles can lead to unwanted leakages, and flat roofs are also prone to leaks after heavy rainfall.
Boiler failure is one of the most common issues a landlord has to deal with, and with the importance of heat in the winter it’s ideal to have your boiler serviced towards the end of October so that any issues can be spotted as early as possible. An ongoing service plan is a good idea as your boiler will receive consistent check-ups and your tenants will have someone to call should something go wrong.
Beyond the boiler, checks should also be made on pipes and radiators. Make sure your tenants are allowing a little low heat to pass through the pipes for a few hours each day as this will prevent pipes from freezing.
It’s important to make sure your rental property has adequate air flow during the winter months, otherwise there’s a real risk of condensation causing nasty damp patches on the walls - particularly in rooms with high-humidity such as bathrooms and kitchens. Check that extractor fans are working as they should be and encourage tenants to ventilate the property properly.
The winter is the perfect time to check your energy bills and negotiate a better deal that suits your personal needs. Your tenants may be in control of energy bills, so passing this advice on may help them make a little saving. There is no disruption while switching energy suppliers.
Every habitable floor of a rental property must have a working smoke alarm, and any room that has a solid fuel appliance such as a working fireplace should contain a carbon monoxide alarm. Regularly test the alarms so that batteries can be replaced when necessary. If a burglar alarm is present, check this as well to add extra reassurance for your tenants during the dark winter nights.
Ensure your current home insurance is up-to-date and check your policy includes suitable protection for any winter-related property damage. Boiler insurance is something a landlord may want to consider for a rental property, and if the property has a flat roof check to see if the insurance covers flat roof damage.
It’s worth checking in with tenants in the days leading up to Christmas to minimise the risk of any emergency calls on Christmas Day. Check that everything is working correctly, ask them if they have or need a set of spare keys and confirm the procedure of how you’d like them to deal with an emergency by putting it in writing for them to keep.
Here at CPS Homes, we offer a wide range of property management packages to take the stress out of being a landlord, all year round. To find out more about the services that we offer, contact us today by calling 02920 668585, e-mailing email@example.com or by visiting one of our three Cardiff branches.