Prepare your buy-to-let property for a repair-free winter
After such a long, hot summer, UK buy-to-let landlords won’t be surprised to hear that forecasters are predicting months of extreme weather. The UK could be in for an extended period of disturbed weather, and a very cold mid-winter. It’s essential that buy-to-let landlords get on top of any maintenance issues now before they become more extensive and expensive in the future.
Here are four things you should do now to protect your investment, and thus make it less likely that your tenants will disturb your peace when it’s least convenient this winter.
1. Inspect your property
Have your property inspected. Regular property inspections are one of the best ways to make sure your tenants are looking after your property. They give the opportunity to build a good landlord/tenant relationship, too.
When you inspect the property, compare it against the preceding property inventory. This will help you spot changes that have occurred and issues that need to be addressed. Make a list of what you will do and what the tenant is expected to do to get the property back to its best condition.
2. Pay special attention to hot weather damage
It’s easy to become complacent about warmer weather and think that it doesn’t do much (if any) damage to a property. After all, most repair needs occur in the winter, so we naturally think of winter as the cause of property damage. However, summer is when much of the foundation for property damage is laid.
Hot, dry summers can cause surrounding land to dry out and for subsidence to take hold: look out for cracks in walls, especially around windows and doors.
Check, too, for gaps in window and door frames. Make sure they open and close properly, and that putty on frames is secure. If draught excluders are worn, they will need to be replaced. If the frames are wood, any rotted section should be cut out and replaced.
Check the roof tiles, chimney and gutters. Remove leaves and bird nests, and any other debris. Inspect the flashing, and repair or replace where needed.
3. Don’t ignore the garden
There is likely to be much work that needs to be done in the garden. This includes:
- Trimming overhanging branches to ensure they don’t snap off and damage roofs or fences
- Reminding tenants to rake leaves so that drains don’t become blocked
- Lagging any external piping to protect it from cold weather
- Checking and repairing cracks in pavements, to prevent further damage and reduce the possibility of trips and falls causing accidents and injuries
4. Check the alarms
Check your property’s alarms – security and smoke alarms.
Dark nights are the cover that burglars crave. Check that your burglar alarms and security lights are in working order, and that your tenants know how to switch them on and off.
Test your smoke alarms and ensure that they all have fully charged batteries.
Look after your tenants and they will look after you
The best way to ensure your tenants stay on track is to keep them on track. Property inspections give the tenant an opportunity to discuss any maintenance issues they have, and for you to uncover any issues they haven’t yet noticed. They also prove that you take their comfort and security seriously and that you want their home to be as comfortable as possible.
By conducting an early autumn property inspection, you’ll be able to undertake all maintenance and repairs in plenty of time before the really bad weather arrives. This should prevent small maintenance issues from becoming larger and more expensive repair problems.
If you haven’t arranged your quarterly property inspection yet, it is time to do so. To learn more about property inspections and the benefits of making them, contact Ezytrac today at+44 0 1522 503 717. We’ll be pleased to answer your questions.
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