Winter Property Prep
Hope for the best
While it is probably still too soon to start talking about the festive season, the nights are starting to draw in and there is a distinctive autumnal chill in the air. Now is a good time to start thinking about ensuring your properties are prepared for winter, whether you are a landlord or not!
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This year it is especially important to do all you can to prepare. We’ve seen months of crises including a struggle to get petrol to the pumps and low stocks on the shelves. There’s just no knowing what might be coming our way, so prepare for the worst and hope for the best!
Save on your heating
There is plenty you can do to ensure your home and your properties are efficiently heated – while also doing your bit for the planet. Ensuring your properties don’t leak heat is not only good for your tenants’ wallets, it’s good for you too, as you know there are no issues that will come back to bite you later!
If your insulation is earning its keep, your lagging isn’t lagging and your boilers and windows are all up-to-date, you shouldn’t be stung for any large outgoings this winter. 90% of homes are suitable for government funding to help with new insulation, so the UK can hit its climate change goals, so be sure to take advantage of that support!
Check with your tenants
While we may have bemoaned our damp squib of a summer, it does have a silver lining. Usually issues are overlooked in the dry, sunny seasons, only to hit hard later. However, it’s likely that if there are any leaks or drafts, your tenants have already let you know about them.
However, one of the beauties of self-management is that you can have an open dialogue with your tenants. We recommend checking in with them, letting them know you’re looking to make sure the property is fit for the winter and if they have spotted anything. It could be that there is a minor issue they haven’t felt necessary to mention – but it’s best to fix little things while they’re little (and therefore cheaper!) to fix. So if they do mention something, no matter how small, jump on getting that fixed ASAP!
If your tenants report things like drafts from windows, it may be a little while until you can organise replacing them. In which case, pop to your local DIY shop to pick up some draft excluders, which should do the trick until you are able to fit new windows.
There are a few things you can do inside the house to ensure everything is ready for a cosy winter. You can request that your tenants do this, or you can do them yourself within an hour.
Bleeding your radiators is very simple and should be down once a year, even if you haven’t noticed any issues with them. This releases trapped air, which stops the water circulating around your radiator.
Please make sure you have the right tools! If you don’t have a bleed key, pick one up from your local DIY shop. Also, be sure to put down towels and have a bowl handy so that no carpets are harmed in the process!
You can also request your tenants check the boiler to make sure it’s at the right pressure for the property’s needs.
Prepare for the worst
All that being said, there is only so much preparation you can do. You can have brand new windows, toasty insulation, a new boiler, perfectly bled radiators… and still run afoul of the Great British Winter.
With ever worsening weather conditions, the prospect of flooding is a very real one. Storms can also play havoc with your roof. So while we recommend doing all you can to physically ensure your property is fit for winter purpose, we highly recommend Home Emergency Insurance, to make sure you have all bases covered!