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Keeping rental properties safe during winter - what do landlords need to know?

As we get further into autumn, that means winter is coming and landlords may want to know how they can keep their properties safe during the colder months.

Landlords need to know what to do to protect their rental houses in winter, so they can also make sure their tenants are fine when the wintry weather sets in.

Protect your pipes

Keep pipes free from frost by wrapping them in lagging as this will prevent pipes from freezing and stop blockages and burst pipes. If you know your problem areas, then target these first - for example where the pipes run outside.

If you or your tenants find a frozen pipe, then apply heat to melt the blockage. You can use a hot water bottle or even a hairdryer.

If you’re unsure about how to deal with the problem, you may need to call in the experts to help out.

When it comes to problems like frozen pipes, working with a reputable letting agent can help give landlords peace of mind. As part of our Fully Managed Landlord Service, we ensure that any maintenance issues are dealt with speedily and thoroughly.

Loft insulation

Making sure your loft is insulated can help with preserving the heat in your rental property. Even if you do have insulation, you should regularly check it, to ensure it's working properly.

Clean the gutters

In winter, it is especially important to make sure the gutters are clean of any dirt and debris. You also need to make sure the pipes are correctly carrying water away from your property. Doing so stops damp from getting into your walls, which can result in expensive damage.

Show tenants where the stopcock is

A stopcock is a type of valve which is used to control the flow of a liquid or gas. If the water in the pipes freezes, pressure can build up behind the blockage, causing them to burst. This isn’t common but it’s always better to be safe than sorry and your tenants will appreciate you for it. If your tenants know where the stopcock is, they can switch off the water mains in the case of an emergency.

Stopcocks can usually be found under the kitchen sink and most stopcocks are turned clockwise to cut supply.

Bleed your radiator

Bleeding a radiator is an easy and great way to keep your property warm in the winter. If your radiator feels warm at the bottom and cold at the top, then it probably needs bleeding. You can do this by releasing any excess air with a radiator bleeding key and an old tower.

Keep your house warm

As the weather gets colder, remind your tenants to heat the property for an hour every day minimum, even if they’re not physically at the house. When tenants find the boiler’s manual, they can find out how to set the boiler timer and keep the property warm for a set amount of time.

Check the boiler’s pressure

Normally, boiler pressure is between 1-2 bars. The ideal boiler pressure is usually marked as a range in green on the gauge while red signals the low and high boiler pressure zones. Boilers may still work in the red zones. If the pressure isn’t where it should be, you can call on an engineer to get the pressure right.

Seal draughty areas

Draughts in your home will make it colder, and your tenants will feel the chill, sealing the draughty areas is a quick and simple solution to cut costs.

You can purchase draught excluders online and these will block the draughts between doors. For windows and other small gaps, you can seal the openings to keep the cold from getting in.

Install home security

According to Co-op Insurance, burglaries spike by more than a third during daylight savings time. Protect your property by having CCTV installed and a burglar alarm fitted.

Research from Direct Line Home Insurance revealed that December sees a spike in house fires caused by candles – so make sure your rental property has fire alarms as well as carbon monoxide alarms as an extra security measure.

Secure your property

As it gets darker earlier, it’s vital to make sure your property is properly secured, especially if it's vacant between tenancies or while your tenants are away.

You can secure your property while it's empty by making it look occupied. You can ensure your property looks lived in by scheduling lights to come on at certain times to help ward off thieves and squatters, while also making sure post isn’t left overflowing in the letterbox.

To protect your home from the elements, you can also set the heating to come on daily to help stop pipes from freezing.

We have been an established estate and letting agent since 1999 and can help to manage your tenancies, allowing you to get the most from your rental properties as a result. We operate in Docklands and the surrounding areas including Surrey Quays and Rotherhithe.

For further guidance on any part of the lettings process, please contact us today. You can also request a free and instant online valuation to see how much rent you could be charging in the current marketplace.

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