The 13.5 tog quilt is on the bed, the waterproofs are out and the boots are on. That’s you sorted for winter, but what about your home, or your buy-to-let investments for that matter?
With a duty of care to tenants, and the responsibility of repairs on your shoulders if you’re a landlord, properly preparing your buy-to-let property for the winter could save you pennies, pounds and a lot of hassle in the future – it will also prevent unhappy tenants from looking for alternative accommodation.
Whilst we are still enjoying the best bits of Autumn, we all know how quickly the weather can turn in England, so there’s no time like the present to get ready for blustery winds, freezing temperatures and pouring rain.
Here are some top tips to get your buy-to-let properties winter-ready.
Simple, yet very effective – bleeding the radiators will improve their performance by releasing trapped air.
Insulation and drafts
If your loft isn’t insulated, this should be a priority. It really helps a property to retain heat as well as reduce energy bills. Insulating your pipes and water tanks could also prevent leaks and unexpected bursts. Finally, make sure you check for any drafts coming from windows and doors – what’s the point in retaining heat if it’s just going to escape through a gap?
All sorts can collect in your gutters over the winter months. Falling leaves and rain can quickly cause blockages which could not only result in cracks due to the weight, but overflowing. This means that excess water could seep into the stone and brickwork and cause damp. If you don’t fancy climbing the ladder yourself, ask your window cleaner – for a little extra he may be prepared to do it for you.
Everybody gets grumpy if they’re cold, especially when at home, so now is a great time to get a boiler service. It’s equally the most common time that boilers break down as everyone turns their heating on and gas consumption surges. You’d only regret it later!
As a landlord, there’s only so much you can do to prepare your buy-to-let properties for winter. But if something were to happen that needs immediate attention, you should ensure your tenants are also prepared. Make sure they know where the stopcock is so they can switch it off in the event of a burst pipe and also where the emergency gas shut off valve is. If an insurance claim is needed, then the tenant should also know how to get hold of you or the management agency easily. Make sure that emergency contact numbers are readily available and that everybody knows what to do.
It’s a time when door locks freeze – a simple squirt of WD40 will keep them working effectively.
What top tips do you have as landlord?