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How to maintain your rental property this winter – the top tips

over 2 years ago
How to maintain your rental property this winter – the top tips

Although 2021 is behind us, the UK is yet to shake off Covid-19, with the new Omicron variant posing a threat to the economy.

At the same time, the winter months rage on, bringing forth ice-covered streets, below-freezing temperatures, and longer, darker evenings.

For landlords, the gloomy season comes with additional risks to property management that they will need to consider and factor into their plans in order to keep their rental property safe.

With this in mind, here at Letting Solutions, we use our experience as West Lothian lettings agents to list the top considerations for landlords to protect their rental property this winter.

Be on the lookout for damp

Already seen as a major issue in the home, damp becomes even more of a potential hazard in the winter months as people tend to keep all their windows and doors closed to prevent the cold from getting in.

At the same time, the heating is on more and condensation is created in areas where steam is prevalent – such as the kitchen, utility room and bathroom.

Damp patches can then lead to mould, which could cause major issues at a later date, so it’s best to nip this problem in the bud early on. When it comes to damp and mould, prevention is definitely better than cure.

To offset the chances of damp and mould developing, your rental home needs to be kept well-ventilated. This could include opening windows at intermittent periods, using extractor fans in the bathroom and kitchen, and advising your tenants to keep the property warm but dry.

Unclog the gutters and drainpipes

Keeping the gutters and drainpipes clear of leaves, litter and other debris will save you plenty of hassle in the long run.

Clogged gutters or drains can lead to a build-up of excess water which can potentially damage exterior walls or leak into the property itself, resulting in costly damage.

With your tenants more likely to stay put this winter, it could be wise to ask them to keep an eye on the gutters and drainpipes on an infrequent basis as a preventative measure.

Similarly, pipes that are blocked or leaking can potentially freeze, expand, and burst during the winter months. To avoid this, wrap lagging around external pipes or pipes in cold areas such as the garage. This will stop pipes from freezing and will avoid blockages and burst pipes.

Whether located inside or outside, if you or your tenants spot a frozen pipe, consider using a hot water bottle or a hairdryer to apply warmth and melt the blockage.

Get the boiler serviced

Boiler maintenance should be a priority for landlords – one slip-up and either the boiler will break down, or you’ll fall on the wrong side of the law.

First, you must check the cladding around your boiler and pipes to ensure the taps and faucets aren’t leaking. Then, you will need to inspect the boiler’s pressure.

The pressure gauge can be found on the front of the boiler (or underneath it where the pipes are) and will either be a dial or a digital display. Generally, the pressure should be between one and two bars. If it’s too high or too low, contact a Gas Safe engineer to make sure the pressure is right.

Check your insurance policy

Landlord insurance acts as another safeguard for you, your rental property, and your tenants. Therefore, it is vital that you have the right policy in place before letting out your property.

A standard landlord insurance policy may not include things like maintenance callouts, so it could be worth reviewing your policy and adding cover like landlord home emergency or landlord boiler breakdown.

You’ll also want to ensure your property is in good shape to survive the winter without any issues. If you check everything’s in order before the weather turns even colder, it’ll give you – and your tenants – peace of mind.

Lastly, it’s important that you establish what your tenants’ plans are for the upcoming months. Putting a plan in place for any emergencies and who should be contacted can help to avoid any confusion should a problem arise.

Despite slipping back into uncertain times, the Scottish property rental market recorded the strongest and most sustained period of letting activity in Q4 2021, as major cities, satellite towns and rural locations witnessed annual growth of more than 10%.

This surge of demand, combined with the above tips, means that landlords in West Lothian have a  very good chance of not only attracting a wide pool of tenants, but keeping them for the long-term. Of course, your letting agent can provide you with additional advice in line with government guidelines.

Here at Letting Solutions, West Lothian’s first dedicated lettings agency, we can guide you through all aspects of the lettings journey and can help you to get the most from your rental properties as a result.

You can find out more about our current hours of service and our current ways of working here.

Please don’t hesitate to contact us, even if you are not a current client. You can ring us on 01506 496006 where our team are waiting to help. Or you can email us at: rent@letting-solutions.co.uk.

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