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Landlords – how to protect your rental property this winter

We’ve reached the period where the evenings draw in much earlier and the months grow colder, and if long-term forecasts are anything to go by, we could be in for another bitter winter.

Yet, the run-up to Christmas is guaranteed to get everyone in the festive mood, with an abundance of Christmas adverts and generous deals as everyone gears up for the holidays – which should be more normal this year compared to last.

For landlords, the winter months come with additional risks to property management that they will need to consider and factor into their plans in order to keep their rental property protected.

Here at Holland Properties, we list the all-important steps that landlords can take to ensure their rental property survives the seasonal upheaval.

Insulate to keep the cold at bay

A well-insulated home is crucial for keeping potential hazards at bay and ensuring your tenants are warm and content.

Fortunately, there are a few cost-effective ways to draught-proof the small areas throughout your home and retain the heat.

Check for draughts around the edges of window frames, gaps under doors and around the letterbox. Draught-excluders are available to purchase online, which will block these openings. Meanwhile, sealing the windows and other small gaps is effective enough to keep the cold out this winter.

Insulating the walls, while a more costly method, is a key part of having a thermal-efficient home. Although the average budget for renovating a full home can cost up to £7,000, the savings that come from doing so are worthwhile.

A better insulated home is also a more energy-efficient one – and, with this now an increasingly important factor for tenants, it’s something that all landlords need to be prioritising as much as possible.

Clear the gutters and drainpipes 

Keeping the gutters and drainpipes clear of leaves, litter and other debris will save you plenty of hassle in the long run.

Clogged or damaged gutters can lead to serious issues over time. If gutters or drains are left to clog up, there can be a build-up of excess water which can potentially damage exterior walls or leak into the property itself, causing costly damage.

With your tenants more likely to stay put this winter, it could be worthwhile asking them to carry out this simple task on an infrequent basis as a preventative measure.

Similarly, pipes that are blocked or leaking can potentially freeze, expand and burst during the winter months. To prevent this, wrap lagging around external pipes or pipes in cold areas such as the garage. This will stop pipes from freezing and will avoid blockages and burst pipes.

Whether located inside or outside, if you or your tenants spot a frozen pipe, consider using a hot water bottle or a hairdryer to apply warmth and melt the blockage.

Keep your property secure

The winter season is a prime time for burglars, and it’s important to make sure your property’s security is up to scratch – especially if it’s empty between tenancies or while your tenants are away over Christmas.

If they do happen to be away, ensure that your tenants leave the home looking occupied. Setting the heating to come on regularly each day will help to prevent pipes from freezing, while scheduling a lamp or two to come on with a timer will help to deter any potential thieves or squatters.

Also, consider investing in theft deterrents such as alarms (visible from the exterior of the property) and motion sensors.

In fact, an increasing number of households now use alarm systems that can be accessed and managed anywhere via a smartphone, so do your research and speak with both your agent and tenants to find the best security option to ensure the home is safe at all times.

Thoroughly check the boiler

As well as checking the cladding around your boiler and pipes to ensure that taps and faucets aren’t leaking, you will also need to inspect the boiler’s pressure.

Generally, the pressure should be between one and two bars. The pressure gauge can be found on the front of the boiler (or underneath it where the pipes are) and will either be a dial or a digital display. If it’s too high or too low, contact a Gas Safe engineer to make sure the pressure is right.

With a recent push to phase out gas boilers by 2025 and use alternative heating systems such as low carbon heat pumps in new-build homes, it’s even more important that your boiler is up to standard and working efficiently.

Of course, while not every landlord is required to get rid of their existing gas boiler, it could be time to weigh your options and invest in greener alternatives.

Communicate with your tenants

It’s unlikely many tenants will be on the move this year, but the lack of lockdown this Christmas means it is entirely possible that your rental home may be left vacant.

Therefore, it’s vitally important that you establish what your tenants’ plans are for this period and create an action plan accordingly. This includes putting a plan in place for any emergencies over the holiday period and who should be contacted.

Likewise, you’ll want to test everything is working as it should and that your tenants are well-prepared for the festive period.

Here at Holland Properties, we can help you to manage your rental property this Christmas, ensuring you get the most from your tenancy as a result. For more information on how we can assist you on your lettings journey in Canary Wharf and the surrounding areas, please get in touch today.

You can also get an idea of how much rent you could be charging each month by using our free instant online valuation tool here.

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