Preparing for Winter: A Landlord’s Guide

During the winter, there are a number of issues and dangers that landlords need to prepare for, which can often take a considerable amount of time. Over the colder months, you need to make sure your tenants are safe, especially if they are over 60 or have young children living with them. Each year, we are reminded of the dangers of not staying warm and healthy during the winter, and as a landlord, it is your responsibility to provide a suitable home.

Naturally, you can’t watch over your tenants all the time, however, in order to protect them and your business, there are measures you can put into place.

Step 1 – Know Your Tenants

As previously mentioned, there are those that are more at risk during the winter than others, which is why even if you have a particularly large property portfolio, you should make sure you know if a tenant is over 60 or has children, that way you can prepare well in advance. If you do have at-risk tenants, you need to consider the following:

  • Where are they based? If the property is in a rural or isolated area, your tenants may struggle during the winter.
  • How old is the property? Older properties often lose heat much quicker than newer ones.
  • Are they alone? If your tenant lives on their own, it may be wise to have the contact details of their next of kin so you can get hold on them in an emergency.

Step 2 – Check Your Properties

During the winter, the cold and wet weather can wreak havoc on your properties, which means that any small defect can lead to a huge issue. If one of your properties has a broken pipe or missing roof tiles, it is likely that your tenants will have already alerted you, however, this is not always the case. This is why it’s essential you arrange an inspection for each of your properties well before the winter begins. That way you can detect any issues and arrange to have them fixed. If you have a large property portfolio, it will probably take a number of weeks or even months for all the amendments to be completed, so planning ahead is of the utmost importance.

Step 3 – Have an Emergency Plan

Each winter, there are reports of heavy snow, storms, and powerful winds, however, between one winter and the next, people seem to forget about this dangerous weather. Furthermore, certain areas in the UK are more susceptible to dangerous weather than others. You should also talk to your tenants about how they can protect themselves by having first aid kits, spare food and water, and ways to call for help prepared in advance.

Step 4 – Keep in Touch with Your Tenants

One of the best ways to keep your properties and your tenants safe is to have frequent communication between you. Some of your tenants may feel that they don’t want to bother you, even if they do have concerns for their safety, which is why you should make the first move and show them how approachable you are. Building up relationships with your tenants is a great way to make sure that they are always safe, but it also means that it is unlikely you will come across any other issues in the future. By working with your tenants over the winter, you should both be able to have peace of mind and not come across any difficult situations.

Disclaimer: This article is for information only and is not official guidance, FCA approved, or legally precise. Just Landlords has used all reasonable care in compiling the information but make no warranty as to its accuracy. If you require information on landlord legislation or best practices please contact your legal representative. For details see our conditions.

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