Some may say that talking about winter at this point in the year is pessimistic and that there is a chance that we will have plenty more warm weather in the near future.
Now this may be true, however in Britain, the weather is never reliable, which means that preparing well in advance could actually benefit you in the long run.
With everything that is going on in the private rental sector right now, the last thing most landlords need is to be confronted with a nasty surprise that they could have avoided in the first place, and here we show you how.
Prepare for the change
During the winter, the nights are longer, the days are colder and there are numerous things that you will have to start thinking about that haven’t been on your mind since last February (or more realistically, April). For example, most of your tenants will close their windows and probably not open them again until 2014, which means that your properties could become susceptible to damp. If you know that one of your houses had an issue with this sort of thing last year, then now is a good time to call your landlord insurance provider and arrange to have it fixed.
Don’t forget that due to stricter regulations, leaving issues like this for too long could land you in trouble with your local authority, so you need to deal with them as soon as possible.
Check the heating
Thanks to the recent warm weather, most people across the UK have turned off their heating for a number of weeks.
Furthermore, many people have been going on holiday during the summer months that means that in some houses, the boilers may have been completely turned off for an extended period of time. It is therefore a good idea to arrange with your heating provider an annual service of all your tenants’ boilers now, as if they break in the winter months, your tenants will be extremely unhappy!
Most boiler services include gas pressure checks as well as inspections for any gas leaks, which can prove fatal if left unchecked. For this reason you should also ask your boiler technician to check the carbon monoxide alarms in each of your properties while they are there.
Reduce your tenants’ utility bills
Each year we hear that a large amount of the UK population are suffering from what is termed fuel poverty – not having enough money to afford to keep their properties warm during the winter months. This can be extremely dangerous, especially for older people and young children, as it means that they could become sick because of the cold.
Additionally, those that suffer from fuel poverty sometimes go without food to pay their utility bills, which can also be detrimental to their health. The Government has launched a number of schemes over the years to help those in fuel poverty, however as a landlord, there are things you can do to help, such as ensure your properties are insulated properly and protected against drafts or damp.
Get ready for Christmas
Christmas is the best thing about winter, and during the festive season your tenants will be enjoying themselves and visiting a large amount of family.
However, due to all this excitement, many people forget that crime is at an all-time high at Christmas, as thieves take the opportunity to break into houses and steal presents or other expensive items.
Therefore, you should talk to your tenants and remind them that some people don’t have the same amount of Christmas spirit as others so they need to keep their properties safe.
During this time it would also be polite to wish all your tenants a Happy Christmas and advise them of how they can get in touch with you if there is an emergency during the Christmas period.
Winter may be just around the corner, but it doesn’t have to be all doom and gloom if you plan ahead and ensure that your properties are ready. Not only will this benefit you, but also your tenants, who will be both safe and comfortable in their homes.