If you are a landlord, you will have to pay special attention to your property during the winter months, as extremely cold weather can pose a number of threats to both the outside and inside parts of your rental property. As a landlord, it is your responsibility to service your property and keep it in good working order, regardless of whether it is currently unoccupied, there are tenants living there, or there are people moving home to your rental house soon. Here are six tips for the efficient winter maintenance of your rental:
Service the boiler
If your rental property has its own boiler or furnace, make sure you hire a company to service it before the start of the winter. Depending on your local regulations, there will be a certain date set for turning on the heat for your tenants, and you should ensure the boiler is checked for leaks and corrosion and in full working order before that date. Being provided access to heat is a basic tenant right, but even if the property is unoccupied at the moment, you should have the boiler checked before the start of the winter so that if any tenants move in during the cold months, the property is ready to receive them after their house relocation.
Check window and door seals
Before the cold weather sets in, you should inspect the seals on your rental’s windows and doors and see if there are any drafts, if the weather stripping requires re-caulking, and if all the doors and windows shut tightly. If there are any issues with the caulk, take action and repair the damage so that the windows and doors don’t let any cold air in when they are closed. Door sweeps are another option for stopping drafts at entrance doors. Good quality double pane windows are a long-term investment for a landlord, but they are well worth the money in terms of the comfort and insulation they provide.
Your property’s insulation is another point you should check during your winter maintenance inspection. Proper insulation goes a long way towards reducing heating bills. Your tenants will be more satisfied if the rental is better insulated. Also, well insulated properties are more attractive to potential house movers and investing in your property’s insulation can fetch you a higher rent too. Another reason why insulation is important is because, if not properly insulated, pipes can freeze and burst during winter, which will in turn mean large repair costs, which you as a landlord will have to curb. So better be safe than sorry and keep your rental well insulated.
Inspect trees and bushes
Inspect the trees and other vegetation around your property for rot and dangerous branches that may cause damage to the windows and walls in strong winds or when covered with heavy snow. Make sure any hazardous branches are trimmed and any rotting parts of bushes and trees are removed to prevent any damages.
Regardless of whether the property is vacant, you currently have people living there, or there are tenants moving home to your rental in the coming months, one thing you should definitely do before winter starts is clean the gutters. Clogged gutters can cause a number of problems, from leaks and damage to the outside walls to roof damage, etc. Hire a specialist company to clean your gutters from leaves, branches and dirt to make sure rainwater and melting snow can flow through them unobstructed. This small investment will save you a lot of costly repairs in the future.
Advise your tenants to keep the heating on
Last but not least, you should talk to your tenants and advise them to keep the heating at the rental property on. Even if they will be away for a few days, they should keep the heat on at a lower temperature, so that the pipes don’t freeze and burst. Also, ask the tenants to leave all taps dripping slightly, so as to minimise the chances of pipes bursting. As already mentioned, pipe bursts are a costly problem to repair, so you should do everything you can to prevent such issues.
Check these tasks off your winter property maintenance list and your rental property will be in full working order for your current tenants to use and more attractive to potential home movers to move into.