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Top tips for landlords this winter

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Winter is just around the corner and, if you are a landlord, it is probably the one season of the year you particularly dread.

If the roof on your let property is going to spring a leak, if pipes are going to burst, or if the boiler is going to break down, you can bet it's going to happen during the winter months.

To make matters worse, this is also when other property owners are facing similar emergencies, so tradespeople are at their busiest, meaning you're likely to have to wait longer and pay more to get essential repairs done.

By preparing now for the winter months ahead, you may avoid some of these crippling expenses:

Property appeal

  • if a tenancy is about to expire and you are going to be looking for new tenants, make sure that all possible maintenance issues are sorted out before you attempt to market the property, suggests Landlord Today;

Voids

  • voids are to be avoided at any time of the year, but especially when you are preparing for winter;
  • an empty property is more vulnerable to disasters arising from even minor maintenance issues – and to the unwanted attentions of intruders, of course;
  • if the property is going to be empty for a considerable time – of longer than, say, a month – you might also need to consider the need for specialist unoccupied property insurance;

Stop the draught

  • do the central heating boiler a favour by not making it work so hard and ensuring that your let property is adequately insulated;
  • replace any ill-fitting doors or windows that let through the draughts and put draught sealant around all external doors and windows – by keeping the warm air inside the home, it is not only your boiler that will thank you for it but your tenants too;

Security

  • while examining the doors and windows for draughts also check that they are secured with robust locks;
  • as we mentioned in a recent article, the darker evenings of winter often see a spike in break-ins and burglaries – so reviewing the security arrangements for the property is a sensible precaution;
  • if your security arrangements extend to outdoor lighting, make sure to change any bulbs that need replacing now, rather than having to try to fix them when its already grown dark or when a concerned tenant telephones you in the middle of your Christmas holidays;

Structural issues

  • you are providing the roof over your tenants’ heads. Make sure now that it doesn’t leak, that no loose slates or tiles are waiting to be blown off in the first wintry gust and, that the gutters and downpipes allow rainwater to run away from the property rather than into it;

Paths and driveways

  • though you’ve probably played your part in ensuring that paths and driveways are pothole-free, you might want to remind your tenants about the importance of sweeping away wet leaves and clearing the snow and ice to keep themselves - and any visitors - surefooted and safe.

Making sure that you have spent some time preparing your let property for winter may help to avoid major headaches and expense as the days grow shorter and the weather blows more severely.