For many Autumn and Winter is a wonderful time of year, from the stunning colours of the turning leaves to beautiful frost patterns to the wishing for snow and of course, it often signifies holiday spirits and festivities. But it can also be a worrying time for Landlords and Property Owners due to the potentially significant damage the autumn and winter months can bring.
Frost, Ice and snow can cause damage to pipes and roofs. The potential increase of storms from strong winds to flooding can cause significant damage to your property often costing thousands of pounds to repair.
Getting your property Autumn and Winter ready will save you a significant amount of stress and potentially a significant amount of money too!
If you have gas in the property you should have a valid gas safety certificate which is updated yearly which will include a boiler check.
We also recommend getting a Boiler Service yearly too, although there is a cost to this, it can often save you money in the long term, and a fully functioning boiler will also ensure that your pipes do not freeze.
Bleeding your radiators can be very useful for maintaining your property in the cold weather and is often overlooked. Bleeding radiators involves removing trapped air that can build up over time and prevent the radiators from working efficiently.
This can result in the property feeling cold. As a landlord bleeding radiators may not be at the top of your maintenance list, especially when not living in the property, however, this can make a significant difference to your tenants and your property.
If you can’t get to the property regularly to bleed the radiators speak to your tenants about doing this themselves making them more comfortable over the winter months.
Fireplaces and Chimneys should be cleaned and checked before a tenancy starts but if you have had a tenant for an extended period of time, getting them checked can ensure you have peace of mind and avoid any serious issues such as chimneys fires.
We cannot cover heating without also talking about pipes! And although this can also be considered an exterior care tip, it starts from within the interior.
Keeping the water flowing is even more important in the autumn and winter months and there are a number of pro-active measures you can take to ensure this happens.
Insulating your pipes (also known as cladding) especially in the loft and outside spaces. Checking all pipes for any cracks so they can be dealt with urgently will all help to minimise the risks of any serious issues
Encouraging the tenants to keep the heating on a low temperature, especially if they are going away during the winter months will help to minimise the risk of burst pipes for further advice on care tips for a vacant property see pages 10-11 of our Autumn/Winter Property Care Guide which is available as a free download
Strong winter winds can have a detrimental effect on the quality and structure of your roof, such as exposing loose tiles, cladding and even causing damage resulting in leaks to the loft and the floors below.
Leaks are particularly damaging costing far more in the long run than the time taken to check they are secure.
While inspecting your roof for loose tiles, cracks and the exterior of your chimney if you have one, it is also a good idea to check your guttering.
Like the roof, it is likely that strong winds may dislodge them or a build-up of leaves and other debris could collect causing a blockage.
Once you have scooped out any leaves and debris, flush them with a strong stream of water from a hose, this gives the additional bonus of checking there are no blockages in the pipes.
There are a number of products on the market that can help to prevent guttering blockages from wire mesh to the hedgehog and although it maybe in the tenancy agreement that the tenant is responsible for ensuring the guttering is maintained it maybe prudent to have such a device fitted.
During the autumn and winter months (or preferably before) it is advisable to give the exterior of the property and the garden a once over.
Check that your outside lighting is working, this is particularly important if the property has steps or other features which make it difficult to get around when it is dark and slippery.
Do any steps have an anti-slip grit or tread and any white or yellow paint to make it easier when it is dark and slippery to see each step? If not these are the extra measures you can take to ensure your tenants stay safe.
Check that all handrails, gates and outbuilding doors are secure.
Check that all items are secure, such as fencing panels and posts, any garden furniture you have supplied (or you may wish to advise the tenant that they secure any of the garden furnishings they have supplied).
If you have any trees or big bushes you may wish to get them pruned.
If you would like more information on how to protect your property in the Autumn and Winter months then download our free Autumn/Winter Property Care Guide. This 16-page guide also shares how to protect your property if your tenants are going away or if your property is vacant.
It also includes 2 easy to print handy checklists that you can use for each of your properties.