49% of people are not looking forward to winter, British Gas has found.1
Many people are concerned about their home withstanding the cold temperatures, heavy rain, strong winds, and possible snow.
Private landlords should take extra measures to ensure their properties are fit for the winter. The private rental sector is growing rapidly, with an estimated £1 trillion work of property by spring 2015, from today’s £930.7bn. 2001 saw this sector hold £262.1bn worth of property, says the Office for National Statistics.1
Not only must the property be suitable for winter conditions, but also tenants should feel comfortable and safe within their rental homes. Founder of online resource for self-managing landlords, Ready Rentals, Neil Woodhead has compiled five guidelines for landlords to consider1:
Five Winter Tips for Private UK Landlords
1. External building inspections
Flaws on the outside of a property can quickly cause problems with the whole building. All outside windows, walls, doors and the roof should be checked for any faults. Cracked tiles should be replaced, and ventilated cowls can be added to unused chimney pots.
British Gas also revealed that 8% of respondents are worried about damage caused by overflowing gutters, and subsequent issues causing problems throughout the property1. It is thus important to clean gutters, repair running overflows, remove moss, and repoint any weak pointing.
2. Heating systems
Boilers should be serviced for winter, and all pipes and radiators should be checked for leaks and bled for airlocks. British Gas found that 46% of people are concerned that their heating or hot water will fail during winter.1
This is particularly necessary if a property will be vacant over winter. If no one is living in the property in these months, the system should be drained down, as well as all hot and cold water pipes. Emergency cover should also be secure to cover any breakdowns.
Loft insulation should match current standards, and grants may be accessible to upgrade it. Ready Rentals provides the latest information on legislation for landlords.
Cavity wall insulation, double or secondary glazing, and lagging pipes should all be contemplated also. Landlords can avoid draughts by checking pointing on door and window frames, applying sealant to skirting boards, and filling gaps in wooden flooring. This will protect the property and keep it energy efficient. Tenants will also save money on utility bills.
4. Flooding risks
One in ten people are worried about flooding this winter, claims British Gas.1 Landlords can avoid this by protecting exterior pipes with insulation sleeves if this is possible.
5. Outside paving
Water can freeze on paving slabs, this causing a danger to tenants and anyone visiting the house. This could raise insurance issues and possible compensation claims against landlords. To prevent this, landlords can ensure that all paving is well drained and thus does not collect water.