Did you know, one in five homes in the UK suffered a boiler breakdown in the last year? Of those households, the average cost per repair was an eye-watering £245! February is the worst month, with claims for broken boilers rising by as much as 163% in one month alone. If you’re a landlord, especially one with multiple rental properties, then winter can prove a costly time of the year. But there is another way. Carrying out some routine maintenance checks before the cold weather sets in not only helps ensure a good relationship with your tenants, it makes sound financial sense too. Avoid escalating problems, expensive repairs and unhappy tenants with our top 6 maintenance tips for landlords….
1. Give your boiler some #TLC
It’s going to get a proper test during the winter months, so get it serviced now by a registered Gas Safe engineer, who can also check any gas appliances at your rental property and give you a Landlord’s Gas Safety Certificate for your records – as a landlord, it is your legal responsibility to keep the boiler in good repair and to ensure that you have an up-to-date certificate. As belt and braces, bleed the radiators to make sure everything is working as efficiently as possible and big up the insulation if you need to: a warm tenant is a happy tenant.
2. Protect those pipes
Have a good look at all the pipework servicing your rental house or apartment – make sure external pipes and pipes in the loft are correctly lagged and insulated, and that everything is properly connected with no cracks or breaks in the seals.
3. Unblock gutters and drains
Rot, penetrating damp, damage to the foundations..the list goes on: clogged gutters can cause a whole raft of problems for your rental property, especially if water is left to run freely down the external walls for any length of time. So get out the ladder, pull on the gardening gloves and get to work clearing those gutters of leaves, moss and any other debris. If it’s looking really bad, invest in one of these pressure cleaning kits to help you make light work of it all. We can’t say it’s a fun task, but you’ll thank us for it in the depths of December, we promise!
4. Inspect your roof
You can carry out a cursory check yourself, but it’s better to get a trusted builder round to give your roof a decent once-over. He or she will make sure the tiles are in good shape and that any cracked or broken ones are replaced quickly to prevent leaks.
5. Check out your insurance
It may sound obvious, but make sure your landlord’s insurance policy is up to date and covers you against all the obvious winter disasters such as burst pipes and storm damage. Heading abroad over the festive period? Think about supplementing your insurance with some emergency home cover, so any issues can get sorted quickly in your absence.
6. Talk to your tenants
Last but by no means least, have a brief conversation with your tenants and remind them of some of the basic things they can do to help you and them avoid the stress, hassle and cost of things going wrong. Remind them to keep the heating on low, even if they are out for the day or away for the weekend: freezing water in pipes can expand and cause cracks very quickly, resulting in leaks as soon as you turn your radiators back on. Make sure they know where the stop cock is in your rental property – and, crucially, how to turn it off – in the unfortunate event you spring a leak and they need to shut the water off quickly. It’s also worth reminding them that their possessions aren’t covered by your insurance so they need to make sure they’re on top of that and have adequate provision in place…
So that’s our top maintenance tips for landlords this winter! What ideas have you got for staying on top of your rental property during the colder months? We’d love to hear your hints and tips, so share them with us on Facebook or Twitter! If you’re a busy landlord who would benefit from some extra help in managing your rental house or apartment, then give us a call on 01225 618860 or email us at firstname.lastname@example.org. From 24/7 property management and inspections to renewals and deposits, we understand what matters to you.