Preparing your property for winter

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Protect your property from the extreme conditions of the seasons – winter is a time where the things that might fail, will! Boilers are put to the test, and extreme conditions place new strain on the essentials. Properties undergo more extreme conditions, and this can be a concern, particularly in older properties. Here are a few ways to protect your property against the potential pitfalls of winter:

  1. Check your insurance policy

Before you face the extreme months, keep up to date with your insurance policy. This is a vital way to protect your property against potential income loss. If you aren’t sure what should be covered, take a look at our post on landlord versus general home insurance for more information.

  1. Check your pipework

In the face of very low temperatures, it’s important to prevent frozen pipes. This can result in bursting pipes, creating much bigger and more expensive problems to contend with. Be sure to check pipes for cracks or fissures and have these addressed promptly to protect your property from long term damage.

Keep pipework insulated to protect from cold temperatures. Have your boiler serviced now, if it has been a while – this is much cheaper than waiting for it to break down! It will help to keep pipes warm, as well as your tenants happy. Remember that the government is offering an Energy Saving Allowance for landlords to receive tax reductions towards the cost of buying and installing energy saving items like cavity wall and loft insulation, solid wall insulation, draught-proofing, hot water system insulation and floor insulation. Take advantage for better energy use and cost reductions in your property!

  1. Check drainage

All areas for overflow, including gutters, overflow pipes and drainpipes, should be inspected for cracks, damage of blockages. Autumn is the time for falling leaves and twigs, so it’s important to check these before they become serious blockages in the winter months.

  1. Inspect fireplaces

Fireplaces can be a hazard, particularly if you have a gas fireplace that has not been serviced for some time. Make sure there is no build up of debris or dust that may affect the operation or safety of the fireplace. Clear out the chimney as well, which is essential for preventing chimney fires. There is a risk of carbon monoxide poisoning if this is not addressed, so protect your property from potentially disastrous conditions.

  1. Plug holes

It’s important that there isn’t room for snow or wet, windy conditions to create problems at points of ingress to your property. Make sure that roofs and other potential holes are thoroughly patched up, as leaky roofs will only be exacerbated and cause long term damage if subject to harsh winter conditions as well.

  1. Keep an eye out for trees

Wind and snow can cause shaky, dead or rotting trees to fall. Make sure none are in line to fall over your properly, and be sure to have adequate insurances in place. Call an arborist to advise on trees that look like they might topple over in storms or other harsh conditions.

  1. Avoid any void period

Void periods can be dangerous for your property in the winter months. Make sure that if your property is to be empty during this time that adequate upkeep is maintained. Either visit regularly yourself to clear the air and check the property over, or have someone on hand who can do this for you. It’s important too to avoid the threat of theft or other damage to the property during this time, if the property will be clearly vacant. 

  1. Keep tenants informed

Tenants will be the best source for reporting observations on any potential damage points. Keep your tenants informed for what to look out for, so that any cracks, holes or potential problems are spotted and addressed quickly! Consider creating and distributing a tenant information pack, highlighting what might be a concern and how best to go about letting you know.

Keep your property safe through the winter months and ensure you aren’t hit with exorbitant repairs, or the threat of long term damage. Before the worst of winter sets in, give your property a thorough checking over and ensure that you encourage your tenants to show initiative in reporting any issues that may come up during this time.

 

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