Winter Temperatures Don’t Mean That Landlord’s Have To Feel The Chill

16 November 2012 Categories: News

Winter Temperatures Don’t Mean That Landlord’s Have To Feel The Chill

During the winter months the colder weather presents a whole host of property maintenance issues for landlords to consider. Weather related risks such as burst pipes can lead to expensive repairs however; landlords can help protect their properties from these types of incidents by making maintenance checks before disaster strikes!

When it comes to winter weather one of the most important assessments a landlord can perform is the checking of external pipes. Blocked, leaking or cracked pipes are prone to freezing in cold weather, once a pipe is frozen it will expand and may then burst resulting in water damage that can be very expensive to repair. Whilst checking the pipes also inspect gutters and drains to be sure they are not blocked with leaves or other debris. Due to the weight of frozen water guttering can get very  heavy and is liable to shatter or fall, posing a safety risk as well as a costly repair.

If a rental property encounters a void period over the winter months it is at a higher risk to weather related issues and additional plans should be put in place to avoid problems.

The property should be visited on a regular basis to check on the heating and external pipe work. If  the decision is made not to keep the heating on low it may be tempting to simply turn off the water. However, there will be water remaining in the system which could cause damage to the property if it should freeze. It is advisable to consider having the central heating and water system drained by a professional to eliminate any risk. Keep in mind that if your property will be empty over a prolonged period your insurance may be affected so be certain to check the terms of your policy.

Ensure your tenants are informed of what to do in an emergency, as a landlord it is your responsibility to keep your tenants well informed, so contact them to discuss how they can help protect their home and your investment against damage. There are two main things to make certain your tenants are aware of, firstly how the boiler and heating systems operate and secondly the location of stopcocks and how to use them in the event of an emergency. Also consider issues such as do your tenants know how to bleed the radiators? It can be helpful to put together a guide for tenants containing this type of information alongside various helpful numbers, for instance a trusted plumber.

If you have a timer system it is advisable to prompt tenants to use it if they intend to go away especially over the Christmas period to avoid frozen pipes.

The National Association of Landlords state: “For all winter property emergencies it is vital that tenants have clear guidance on who should be contacted, particularly if the landlord uses an agent. Landlords also need to make sure tenants know how to get in touch outside of working hours and who they should contact if the landlord is on holiday.” Even if you use an estate agent or property management company it is advisable to provide your tenants with your personal contact details in case of an emergency outside of office hours.

In preparation for the winter weather take the time to check your insurance policy, make sure you understand the terms and conditions of your specific policy. Once you have your own insurance needs arranged bear in mind the needs of your tenants and be sure they aware they need to purchase their own contents cover.

Winter weather will always present various issues for landlords but taking maintenance steps and keeping tenants informed will help safeguard property against costly damage whilst also keeping tenants safe and happy in an inconvenience free rental.

Article kindly written and provided by Urban Sales and Lettings nationwide Online estate agents