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Winter is well and truly upon us. Along with the padded jackets and thick woollen socks comes the need for landlords to weather-proof their rental properties. By insulating windows, fixing a leaking roof and replacing an old boiler, you’re ready for whatever the winter throws at you. This will not only protect your investment, it also gives your tenants a reason to stay.

Responsibilities

In England, repairing the property isn't just a wise thing to do; it's a landlord's legal responsibility to make external repairs to a property. Any repair work to the roof, walls, guttering, chimney or drains is a must. Landlords are also responsible for keeping the water, the gas and electricity supply in good working order.

Step-by-Step guide

A landlord's guide to taking preventative action.

Closely scrutinise the roof and gutters: Overflowing gutters can mean that excess water will seep into the stone and brickwork of a home. This leads to damp – a nightmare for tenants and landlords. Regularly check the roof for blockages, moss and broken tiles.

Remove overhanging branches: Examine trees near to your property. A strong gale could bring branches, and even trees, down onto your property. Remove any overhanging branches that pose a safety risk and consult a tree surgeon about any large tress, close to the property.

Frost and snow: Ensure that draughty windows and doors are fixed and gaps insulated. Snow can cause damage to roofs and gutters, so make sure they’re in good repair. Freezing pipes can wreak havoc during winter, so maintain and insulate the pipes and make sure the boiler is in good condition so that the property is always heated.

Communication Is Key

Open and honest two-way communication between a landlord and tenants is a sure-fire way to ensure that they have a somewhere comfortable to live, and that the property is safe during a winter emergency. Give them helpful advice but don't be overbearing. If they’re going away during the winter, make sure that they know to leave the heating on a timer. This ensures that the pipes don't freeze. Prepare an emergency kit of matches, torches, and candles and leave it in an accessible place, in case of a power outage. Show them where the stopcock or isolation valves are located, in case they need to shut off water to parts of the property.

Lastly, let your tenants know what to do in an emergency. This could be to contact you directly, contact your letting agent, or perhaps you could connect the tenants with a reliable contractor who is willing to respond quickly and do emergency call outs.

Finally, it makes sense to have insurance in place for when the worst comes to the worst. It’s worth remembering that standard home insurance may not pay out if your property is rented, so you’ll need a landlord insurance policy, that’s tailored to your specific needs.

Consider using Residential Steel Buildings to protect valuable items you may worry will get damaged during a server storm. Steel building are a great alternative for onsite storage.


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