While landlords are kept busy all year round, there is an acceptance that winter is usually the most active season for letting industry professionals. The drop in temperature and icy conditions cause problems at a rental property, and this means landlords have work to do. However, you can be proactive in preparing rental accommodation for winter, hopefully ensuring your property remains in excellent condition throughout the winter months.
While it should be obvious why landlords should winter-proof their property, it never hurts to go over the primary benefits of this work. Winter proofing a property can cost money and take up your time, so you need to justify it. Also, tenants may complain about initial inconvenience for them, but it is helpful to remind them of the benefits they will receive from a winter proofed home. A winter-proofed home is: • Safer for tenants and their guests • Warmer and more comfortable for tenants • More affordable for tenants, as their energy bills should be cheaper • Helpful for landlords as it reduces the need for expensive and inconvenient emergency repairs • Useful for minimising void periods and the inconvenience of the tenant being rehoused during any repair work Acting now can save a lot of time, money and trouble for all parties in the long-term, so winter-proofing rental property is in the interest of landlord and tenant.
If the tenant is on board with winter-proofing procedures, it becomes easier for a landlord to manage, and it should increase the likelihood of the rental property remaining in good condition. Tenants should be informed how to work the boiler, how to locate and stop the water stop tap, and how to adjust the thermostat. The tenant should be encouraged to contact the landlord in an emergency, and to advise the landlord if they are leaving the tenant empty for a spell. Tenants should also be encouraged to maintain a low heat in the property during the colder months of the year.
Before winter, landlords should review the standard of insulation in their rental property, and upgrade if required. Loft and cavity wall insulation is affordable and can be installed quickly and easily. This style of insulation helps to retain heat, making a home more comfortable for tenants, while hopefully helping to lower energy bills . Given rental property must meet Energy Performance Certificate (EPC) standards, it makes sense for landlords to review and improve insulation. Areas around doors and windows should also be considered, as cracks and gaps allow warm air to escape and for cold air to enter the property. It also makes sense to draught-proof the home, and simple rugs or blockers behind doors can retain heat effectively.
There are some external checks landlords should be undertaken when preparing a rental property for winter, including: • Check the roof, walls and chimney stacks for any gaps, missing slates or tiles or potential problems • Review and clear all guttering and drains • Review all paths and walkways, clearing them • Make sure gates and fences are secure • Offering gritting for surfaces where there is a risk of people slipping You may not like the idea of spending too much time outside of the property in winter, so it is best to carry out this work in autumn before it gets too cold!
You should also consider the impact of condensation on the rental property. Condensation creates damp conditions and can lead to mould. This outcome is unsightly, but in the longer-term, it can negatively impact the property and tenants’ health. Two key issues to consider in the prevention of condensation include: 1. A lack of suitable heating 2. A lack of ventilation If you can resolve these issues, you will reduce the likelihood of condensation becoming an issue. If you are a landlord looking to winter-proof your home, now is the time to act. At Dunedin Sales & Lettings, we are pleased to offer as much support and guidance as we can to Rubery landlords. If you need assistance for any rental issue, please contact us today.