Six ways to keep tenants safe and warm and save your money in the long-term
According to WXCHARTS, the UK is going to be shocked by bitterly cold conditions and an avalanche of snow that will sweep down from the north. The country could be plunged into arctic conditions within days, and then continue for weeks in what could become a ‘mini ice age’. A few weeks ago, we published a few tips for the winter period to help keep tenants warm.
If you’re a landlord and you haven’t wrapped your house warm for the winter, it’s time you did so – NOW! Here are our top winter tips for landlords, to help keep tenants and property safe and save money on repairs in the longer term.
1. Speak to your tenants
Contact your tenants and warn them that the forecast is for much colder weather. Let them know that you want to make sure they have no property problems and ask if they have noticed any issues. Common issues that tenants ‘forget’ to tell their landlords about until it becomes a bigger problem include dripping pipes, cracked pavements, and draughty windows and doors.
While discussing winter with your tenants, you should also:
- Make sure that they know where the stopcock is, to cut off the water if an emergency situation does occur.
- Check that they have been in touch with their local benefits office – especially if they are elderly or vulnerable – to make sure that they are claiming all their entitlements. Keeping warm in winter can be a worry for people who are concerned about their heating bills.
2. Check those gutters!
The chances are that your tenant won’t get up a ladder and check the gutters, so it’s down to you. If they are blocked, overflowing gutters could lead to structural damage or dampness which leads to mould growth.
Usually, a visual check is enough. Look for signs of bird nests, clumps of leaves and plant growth – as well as water spilling out of the gutter.
3. Don’t neglect your carbon monoxide alarms
With cold weather, your tenants will crank up the heating. Not a problem – after all, they deserve to keep warm. But if your property is warmed with gas heaters or carbon fuel fires, it’s worth ensuring that your carbon monoxide alarms are in good working order, and avoid getting smoked with a £5,000 fine.
4. Reduce condensation
Condensation is one of the main factors in mould and mildew growth. It pays to take precautions against condensation that arrives with cold weather outside and warm conditions inside. Insulation, draught-proofing, consistent temperatures around the home (keeping thermostats at the same temperature) and improved ventilation are all ways to reduce condensation.
5. Keep tenants safe with outdoor lighting
It’s not just the cold that is a danger to tenants at this time of year. More accidents are likely to occur on paths and in gardens and yards, as darker mornings and evenings create blindness outside your property. An exterior light with a motion sensor will help your tenants to see where they are walking, as well as act as a deterrent to burglars.
6. Check your landlord insurance
Check your landlord insurance is up to date and protects against all the risks that bad weather can bring with it – from storm and flood damage to accidents to tenants and visitors in your property.
It pays to prepare your property for a big winter chill. One of the services we offer our landlord clients is property inspections, and that’s a great opportunity to put many of the above tips into action.
And if something does happen unexpectedly to your property this winter? Our repair reporting system makes it easy for tenants to report repairs and ensures we are fully aware of the seriousness of the repair required.
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